The President of UKE continues its efforts to find a solution which would improve the situation of many subscribers.
Published on 12th of August 2011, an updated “Database of lack of access to mobile operators networks” and earlier chat with mobile operators caused a lot of interest from subscribers who encountered difficulties with access to services or are totally deprived of them.
For many months the President of the Office of Electronic Communications has been receiving loads of signals and complaints from subscribers who indicated places where mobile operators do not provide expected quality of services on their networks or in some extreme cases do not provide them at all.
The President of UKE has started to identify such places. Probably the most effective method of gathering information about real condition of networks was adopted, i.e. subscribers were addressed to identify areas with no access to the networks or where the signal is too weak to ensure effective communications. The results of those efforts (data correction is ongoing) had been already published twice and contributed to increased interest from the subscribers. Until the publication of this information as many as 287 locations which require infrastructural upgrade were identified (from last database publication on 12 of August 2011, 72 new locations were added within 7 days).
Given the scale of the problem, the President of UKE has started talks with mobile operators aimed to find a solution that would improve the situation of so many subscribers and at the same time would not put operators at risk of incurring additional (significant) costs – associated with investment in the existing infrastructure – often difficult to justify from the standpoint of the company financial results (due to a small number of potential subscribers residing in a given area).
At this point it should be highlighted that the President of UKE has no formal or legal tools which enable him/her to impose obligations on operators in the field of planning and developing investment related to the extension of telecommunications infrastructure. Therefore, as a result of negotiations, in accordance with Article 43a of the Telecommunications Act, investment agreements were concluded with four major mobile operators (Polkomtel SA, Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa sp. z o.o., P4 sp. z o.o., Polska Telefonia Komórkowa Centertel sp. z o.o.). Under those agreements operators will extend their infrastructure – depending on costs – at least in 115 locations. Those agreements are a kind of a compromise, based on which in exchange for certain benefits (less stringent MTR glide path) operators agreed to carry out investment projects.
Due to submission of further notifications UKE invites the notifying parties to send precise descriptions of the locations. It is necessary to include the town name together with other identification details such as a district, a street name, an estate, etc., because certain descriptions received by UKE, e.g behind the school, next to the church, behind the shop, etc. are not helpful in locating precisely the “white gap” area.
In addition, UKE is particularly interested in areas where there is no signal at all. In case of very poor quality of services UKE is asking to quote the name of the operator. This is an important information as it indicates the addressee of a next negotiation process.
At the same time UKE feels obliged to inform all interested parties that despite the efforts made by the President of UKE in order to increase the scope of investment and improve the quality of services – apart from a negotiation tool under Article 43a of the Telecommunications Act which was used with regard to 115 localisations – the President of UKE does not have any power to influence the investment decisions made by operators, thus s/he cooperates with them on the basis of negotiations.