2007 1800MHz awards annulled by UKE, although parties may request retrial

9 Aug 2017

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (Urzad Komunikacji Elektronicznej, UKE) has issued a first-instance decision to annul the results of a 2007 tender for two nationwide 15-year 1800MHz mobile licences which were acquired by CenterNet and Mobyland (now both part of the Cyfrowy Polsat group), ostensibly ending ten years of dispute over the matter, although the decision published on the watchdog’s website notes that parties to the proceedings are entitled to file requests for retrial of the case.

UKE’s statement says that the annulment took into account the legal assessment of the Supreme Administrative Court in its judgement of 8 May 2014 (II GSK 305/13) and the judgement of 20 October 2016 (II GSK 262/15); the court had found the 2007 tender process to be in ‘gross violation’ of the law, failing to meet public interest objectives related to reliability of the tender procedure and failing to ‘take account of the principle of proportionality arising from Article 2 of the Constitution’.

Despite the annulment, the watchdog is reportedly unlikely to force current licensees in the spectrum band in question to surrender usage of the frequencies or shut down the associated 4G infrastructure, and is expected to seek an alternative form of settlement.

The 1710MHz-1730MHz and 1805MHz-1825MHz frequency bands were won by CenterNet and Tolpis, a joint venture between Italian ISP Eutalia and Telekomunikacja Kolejowa which subsequently took on the name Mobyland before being bought by another domestic new entrant, Aero2. Both CenterNet and Aero2 are now part of the Cyfrowy Polsat group which also includes Poland’s fourth largest mobile network operator Polkomtel (Plus). In August 2009 Mobyland and CenterNet agreed to share usage of their 1800MHz spectrum, before launching Poland’s first 4G LTE service in September 2010 (whilst all Aero2/CenterNet/Mobyland services are now provided under the Aero2 and A2 Mobile brands).