Announcement of the intention to start consultations on frequency assignments in the 1800 MHz band - UKE

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Announcement of the intention to start consultations on frequency assignments in the 1800 MHz band


2012-01-04
photo UKE

The President of UKE has decided to collect initial opinions on the planned way of assigning frequencies in the 1800 MHz band and the content of two draft tender documents presented below.

 

When planning the assignment of frequencies in the 1800 MHz band, the President of UKE took into account regulatory objectives indicated in the provisions of the Telecommunications Act and competitive situation in the Polish telecommunications market.

Particular attention was paid by the President of UKE to market developments in 2011 consisting in concentration resulting from taking control over other market players (decision of the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection Ref: DKK-126/11 of 24 October 2011) or from establishing a joint undertaking (decision of the President of UOKiK Ref: DKK-31/11 of 16 March 2011). The takeovers and agreements concluded in the telecommunications market in Poland have led to the situation that there is a factual duopoly in the 1800 MHz band in Poland with 100 per cent of resources owned by:

  • PTK Centertel Sp. z o.o. and PTC S.A., which have concluded an agreement on the shared use of infrastructure establishing a dependent company, Networks Sp. z o.o., for this purpose jointly own 2 x 19.2 MHz, which gives them 39.7 per cent of frequencies in the 1800 MHz band;
  • the companies of the Zygmunt Solorz group (Polkomtel Sp. z o.o.., Mobyland Sp. z o.o., Centernet S.A..) jointly own 2 x 29,2 MHz, which gives them 60,3 per cent of frequencies in the 1800 MHz band.

Given the new situation, the President of UKE took into account the necessity of telecommunications market development and creating new telecommunications services as well as modifications of old services provided by the incumbents. It must be noted that new operators providing modern telecommunications services can enter the market as well. Both groups need new frequency resources.

There is also an operator which for different reasons (also because of its own fault) failed to participate in the 1800 MHz frequency tenders and has only recently declared that such participation is necessary.

It is important to point out that the 1800 MHz band is one of the key resources for the provision of modern telecommunications services, including broadband Internet access, due to its characteristics allowing for increasing network bandwidth. Its efficient use allows at the same time effective fight against digital exclusion.

Taking these circumstances into account, the President of UKE has concluded that quick assignment of the released resources in the 1800 MHz frequency band without waiting for the release of frequencies in the band below 1 GHz, is in the social interest. When analysing market situation, the President of UKE assumes that the tender procedure will be launched with respect to currently available frequencies in the 1800 MHz band of 2x25 MHz bandwidth, split into two tender procedures. They will be conducted based on two different regulatory objectives:

  • the first tender will be based on the first objective, i.e. to increase competition by creating appropriate and preferential conditions for participation in the tender for one general exclusive frequency licence for the frequency block of 2 x 10 MHz bandwidth (corresponding to 50 duplex radio channels of 200 kHz bandwidth each), in the 1729.9-1739.9 MHz and 1824.9 - 1834.9 MHz bands for telecommunications operators which currently have no access to the 1800 MHz band;
  • the second tender will be aimed at granting three general exclusive frequency licences of which each covers a frequency block of 2x5 MHz bandwidth (corresponding to 25 duplex channels of 200 kHz bandwidth each), in the 1739,9 - 1754,9 MHz and 1834,9 - 1849,9 MHz bands based on the criterion of a declared amount in order to obtain significant income of public law nature. This tender is to be announced immediately after completion of the first tender and each of its participants will be able to apply exclusively for one frequency licence in order to avoid anticompetitive spectrum hoarding.

The possibility to submit only one offer in both tenders is meant to make the process of frequency assignment more transparent in order to avoid the situation in which tender participants withdraw from earlier submitted offers and choose them freely when submitting requests for a licence (as in the case of the previous tender for frequencies in the E-GSM band).

The President of UKE also takes account of the necessity to implement new mobile data transmission services, which requires quick release of spectrum according to the recommendations of the European Commission. The President of UKE indicates at the same time that new spectrum released in the band below 1 GHz, will be immediately assigned by means of another tender.

Therefore the President of UKE, when defining the procedure and criteria for the evaluation of offers in a tender for one general exclusive frequency licence for a frequency block of 2 x 10 MHz bandwidth in accordance with social interest, and in particular legitimate end users' interests, found maintaining competition as the most important criterion in the evaluation of offers. According to this tender documentation the tender participant may obtain for this criterion from 0 to 1100 points out of 2000 points in total.

The President of UKE also takes account of the fact that the offer in a tender for one general exclusive frequency licence for a frequency block of 2 x 10 MHz bandwidth may be submitted by a completely new operator planning to provide telecommunications services in Poland and counting on frequencies also in the band below 1 GHz in a longer term. This would create the possibility to roll-out a fully optimised network, which can be done by means of both coverage frequencies (below 1 GHz) and capacity frequencies (above 1 GHz). New market players should however prove their experience evaluated from the perspective of their investment in radio networks.

Having regard to the above considerations, the President of UKE has decided to collect initial opinions on the planned way of assigning frequencies in the 1800 MHz band and the content of two draft tender documents presented below.
For this reason the President of UKE is asking all interested parties to submit their opinions on this matter.

Opinions and comments should be sent by e-mail to pasmo1800@uke.gov.pl or by post to the address of the Office of Electronic Communications until the end of January 2012.

 

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