The year 2009 proved that the telecommunications market, unlike any other, changes fast both with regard to its technological aspects and the customers' expectations. The previous year also demonstrated the importance and necessity for regulatory actions in the field of telecommunications. The information technology has been gaining more and more importance, our life is full of bits and bites, and the telecommunications challenges for the future are vast. All the market participants agree that the most important issue in the telecommunications branch now is to create proper investment conditions so as to eliminate digital exclusion entirely. Also proper regulation of the whole sector is of huge importance for the accessibility of broadband services in future.
The document presents the changes which took place in the telecommunications market - both those regarding technological and price trends, as well as the increase in physical accessibility of services - and constitutes a short overview of regulatory actions.
The most important events and results in the telecommunications market in 2009
Since 2006, the aim of actions of the President of UKE is effective regulation of the functioning of operators having important position on the markets in the cases when such a position may influence the legally protected interests of their competitors and consumers. In the recent years, in particular in 2008-2009, actions related to infrastructural investments have become an important element of actions of the President of UKE, in which the President of UKE took legislative initiative and put forward a few initiatives supporting utilization of EU funds on establishment of broadband networks. Although the infrastructural policy is not the regulatory body's task, some appeals from the market regarding emergence of such a policy and the need to establish a competence centre mentioned by the beneficiaries of operational programmes brought about the fact that the President of UKE, as an authority disposing of specialized services, took up actions aimed at bridging the gap in the public administration's initiatives and claimed the following: the responsibility for consideration of appeals made by applicants in 'PO IG' (Operational Programme Innovative Economy) 8.4., the control over correctness of fulfillment of obligations by beneficiaries 'PO IG' 8.4., establishment of a community agenda - National Broadband Forum and maintenance of this portal, active co-operation with other institutions by stock-taking of infrastructural resources, legislative initiative concerning a law on support for telecommunications services and network development, and developed and offered to conduct a system project co-ordinating and supporting actions of beneficiaries of 'RPO' (Regional Operational Programmes), 'PO RPW' (Opeartional Programme Development of Eastern Poland), 'PO IG' 8.3. and 8.4., and other potential projects related to development of broadband networks.
In our opinion, the most important regulatory event of the previous year was conclusion of the Agreement between TP S.A. and the President of UKE on 22nd October, pursuant to which Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. accepted the obligation to take up factual actions aimed at improvement in co-operation between TP and alternative operators and at proper fulfillment of all the regulatory obligations imposed on the Company. Moreover, TP obliged itself to separate a unit dealing with provision of wholesale services from its structure and to limit the discriminating flow of illicit information both within the company itself and among the entities being part of the TP Group. One of the most important provisions of the Agreement is the obligation to build or modernize at least 1.2 million of broadband lines. The obligation is included in the other infrastructural initiatives of the President of UKE.
As mentioned before, an important process conducted in 2009 were the works on a draft act on support for telecommunications networks and services development which ended with passing of the act by the Sejm on 7th May 2010. The condition of the telecommunications infrastructure in Poland, as well as its accessibility and range, is still at a very low level, especially in comparison with the other member states of the EU. The condition required legislative interference, which resulted in the above mentioned act.
In 2009, we also conducted plenty of regulatory proceedings aimed at supporting of equal and effective competition, development and use of modern telecommunications infrastructure, as well as providing the final users with maximum advantages in the area of diversity, prices and the quality of telecommunications services. The most important ones are the initialized analysis of the wholesale broadband access market (BSA). We consider the results of this analysis as the conditions for partial deregulation of the market in the areas in which other telecommunications operators have their infrastructure next to the one of the incumbent operator's. Moreover, the works on regulatory decisions for the new market have been launched. The works concern termination of short text messages (SMS) which will solve the problems existing in this area, such as anticompetitive overpricing of SMS termination by operators of mobile networks. In 2009, we issued plenty of regulatory decisions, e.g. for the market of connection termination in fixed and mobile networks, which improves the market's transparency and stabilizes the level of rates, also giving the opportunity for development to the operators who have just started their telecommunications activity.
The full text of the Report is available in the attached file.