Poland’s Ministry of Administration and Digitisation (MAC) has begun a week-long consultation into the possibility of ending the country’s ongoing 4G wireless spectrum auction. According to a report from Rzeczpospolita, the MAC is considering imposing a 115-day limit on the bidding process, which would force the sale to a halt next month. Although the auction began more than six months ago, there have been several pauses to enable operators to make deposit payments, meaning that so far there have been around 100 days of actual bidding.
The six firms in the running for frequencies have to date entered offers totalling PLN6.68 billion (USD1.77 billion), well above the PLN1.6 billion reserve price. While authorities are worried that the winning bidders will be forced to recoup the hefty licence fees by passing the charges on to consumers in the shape of higher tariffs, there has been speculation that any government interference in the auction could result in legal action being taken by cellcos unhappy with the final results. There have been suggestions that the auction should be cancelled altogether and restarted in a different format. The bidders include 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.