The Polish government has approved measures which will allow the ongoing 4G spectrum auction to be brought to an early close. The Minister of Administration and Digitisation, Andrzej Halicki, has given the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) legal power to end the bidding, which has been running since February and shows no signs of ending. Authorities are concerned that the high cost of spectrum – bids already total PLN7.39 billion (USD1.95 billion) – will be passed on to consumers in the form of tariff hikes. UKE had previously tabled a plan to end the auction after 115 days of bidding, which is expected to see an end to the sale by mid-October.
As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this week, Olympia Development, the Greece-based owner of Poland’s fourth largest cellco P4/Play, is threatening to sue for up to EUR500 million (USD557 million) in ‘tangible damages’ and an ‘irreversible infringement of interests’ should the sale be interrupted. Other bidders, including number three player Polkomtel and market leader T-Mobile, have also criticised the plans to cut short the auction process. However, Magdalena Gaj, the head of UKE, has told Reuters: ‘Every frequency sale process in Poland was subject to legal quarrels and this one will surely not be any different … In no way does it (Halicki’s decision) limit the rights of auction participants. And there will always be winners and losers.’