President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation, having considered requests submitted by the Polish mobile operators (PTK Centertel limited company, Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa limited company, Polkomtel joint-stock company) singed on 9 September 2003 three decisions on postponement of launching the UMTS services.
The issued decisions aim at amending the to date binding stipulations of telecom licenses for exploitation of public mobile telecom network in the UMTS standard. The mobile telecom network operators have made a request to the President of URTiP in order to:
The above-mentioned operators have based their conclusions on the current difficult situation in the telecom sector both in Poland and worldwide. The date of implementation of the new technology and services based on it should take into account changes in the market environment. According to the operators, postponement is necessary in order to avoid the burdening of present GSM mobile users with practically whole amount of costs and expenditures of investment in case the demand for UMTS services would turn out to be insufficient in the coming years.
The operators argued that in Western Europe the process of UMTS technology implementation will also be delayed for one more year. Contrary to another assurance of producers as for finalization of implementation works, the equipment tests continue to be carried out and the standardization process has not yet been accomplished. The unfinished standardization may entail, in the future, the necessity of partial replacement of already installed equipment which will result in increasing the costs of network construction.
The President of URTiP, Mr Witold Graboś, examined the operators’ requests and decided that the set date of implementation cannot be kept due to reasons independent of operators and should be therefore modified. One should not offer services in a technology which did not even cross the stage of draft and standardization works. The forecasts currently presented by the operators reveal that the demand for UMTS services initially will be weak and this is the reason for the change of requirements regarding coverage of UMTS networks.
It should be also reminded that on 24 April 2002, the President of URTIP, Mr Witold Graboś, on the request of operators, issued the first decision related to the annual postponement of closing date for launching mobile telephone services in UMTS standard and the requirements of network coverage of territory of Poland with UMTS services. The operators submitted the request for renewed postponement of UMTS services in Poland and the amendment of telecom lenience stipulations to the President on 10 July 2003.