Poland’s telecoms regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), has denied press speculation that it is considering bringing the ongoing 4G spectrum auction to an early end. On Wednesday this week the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita carried a story which quoted financial analyst Paul Szpigiel as saying that the watchdog was looking to halt the sale of 800MHz spectrum in September as there was currently no end in sight to the bidding. But the regulator has issued a statement which confirms that only the participants in the auction can determine when the process will finish and the final prices paid for frequencies.
UKE is selling off 19 packets of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, with the combined total of bids having reached PLN5.95 billion (USD1.58 billion). The 19 lots had a combined reserve price of PLN1.6 billion. Six companies entered the bidding process when it began in February: existing cellcos Orange Polska, T-Mobile Poland, Polkomtel and P4 (Play), plus a company associated with Emitel, and NetNet, which is owned by Szymon Ruta, who has links to Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel. Polkomtel later withdrew from the 800MHz sale, saying it would be better if operators agreed to share spectrum in order to deploy one or two national networks, and it is thought that one firm – speculated as being Emitel – has not been actively participating in the bidding.