Orange Poland says its 4G LTE network now offers coverage of 87% of the population, with around 200 base station already utilising its recently acquired 800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies. In addition, 17 sites provide coverage in both bands, meaning carrier aggregation technology can be used to book peak theoretical download speeds to between 200Mbps and 300Mbps. Prior to the sale of the new 4G spectrum via an auction which completed last October, Orange could only offer LTE-based services over the network of its infrastructure sharing partner T-Mobile Poland. For its part, T-Mobile says it expects to be covering 92% of the population with 4G services by the end of June.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, last year’s sale of 4G-capable spectrum ended with bids totalling PLN9.23 billion (USD2.5 billion), with Orange emerging as the highest bidder after offering a total of PLN3.17 billion for two 5MHz blocks of paired frequencies in the 800MHz band and three blocks of 2×5MHz at 2600MHz. Orange was the only one of the main operators without an existing allocation of 4G-ready spectrum. The other winners were T-Mobile (PLN2.14 billion for 800MHz and 2600MHz licences), P4/Play (PLN1.72 billion, 800MHz and 2600MHz), NetNet (PLN2.05 billion, 800MHz only) and Polkomtel (PLN155.8 million, 2600MHz only). NetNet has since declined to take up its spectrum, with the regulator the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) now looking to reallocate the frequencies.