Polkomtel walks away from 800MHz band

4 Jan 2016

The Polish mobile operator Polkomtel, which is part of the Cyfrowy Polsat group and operates under the ‘Plus’ brand, has abandoned plans to utilise the 800MHz band for 4G LTE services, saying it will be more cost-effective and efficient to use spectrum in other ranges. A statement on the company’s website explained: ‘Polkomtel is developing a model of network development based on 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz.’

Polkomtel withdrew from the government’s 800MHz licence auction in March last year, saying it had decided instead to bid solely for 2600MHz frequencies; the operator advocated the construction of a single national 800MHz network which could be shared by operators to reduce costs. By the time the auction ended in October, however, two of the five available 800MHz packets had drawn bids of over PLN2 billion (USD535 million) each, while the other three were sold at between PLN1.48 billion and PLN1.57 billion. The government had been expecting bids of around PLN300-500 million per licence.

The cellco now says that the high price of the concessions would make cooperation ‘unprofitable and unreasonable’. It is instead considering using ODU-IDO (outdoor unit-indoor unit) systems to provide 1800MHz network coverage levels similar to those available with 800MHz spectrum. It will also look to refarm its existing spectrum holdings in the 900MHz and 2100MHz band.

Poland, Plus (Polkomtel)