Report on the telecommunications market in 2011 - UKE

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Report on the telecommunications market in 2011

In 2011, the value of the telecommunications market amounted to nearly PLN 43 billion, and was higher by 1.1% in comparison to the previous year. The volume of retail sales of the three major market segments - Internet access, mobile telephony and fixed-line telephony - reached the level of approximately PLN 28.3 billion.


The small change of the rate resulted from the continued, long-standing downward trend for voice call services at a fixed location, which was compensated by development of the other two segments to a limited extent.

At the present moment, the Polish telecommunications market is relatively saturated, resulting in a slower growth in the number of new users of telecommunications services.

Revenues across the industry are determined by profound changes in the patterns of consumption, ways to provide services and processes of fixed-to-mobile substitution. The expansion of data transmission services also plays an important role.

One of important trends on the Polish telecommunications market is further consolidation of the telecommunications industry.

Other trends, evident for several years, include among others: falling prices, sales of bundled services, continuing depreciation of the fixed-line telephony market, growing number of broadband lines, and debuts of successive MVNOs.

The development of competition has opened to the user the prospect of selection of an offer accommodated to individual needs. This has stimulated growth in the use of telecommunications services, particularly in the segments of mobile telephony and Internet access.

The leader of the mobile telephony market in terms of increased revenues in 2011 was P4 (over 49% increase compared to 2010), the second was PTK Centertel earning only 1% more than last year.

The volumes of all mobile services increased. The average total connection time per user was longer by up to 270 minutes in comparison with the previous year. SMS continued to be one of the most popular forms of communication in Poland. Last year, there were over 51.6 billion messages sent in the country. A small growth rate (0.4%) last year can be explained by high saturation of the mobile telephony market and growing popularity of other forms of communication, such as MMS (up by 19%), use of text messaging and e-mails sent from mobile phones. The highest increase in popularity (by 97.3%) was reported by domestic mobile data transmission.

Due to the increasing prevalence of smart phones, mobile telephony operators competed primarily on the Internet packages. There were available tariffs which included Internet access in the subscription price, as well as promotional packages for browsing different sites.

The average price for data transmission was lower by 11%, and the maximum price by 50%, in comparison to 2010. The average price was by about 3% lower for voice calls, while the price for SMS remained unchanged.

Despite a subsequent price reduction under the EU regulation on roaming, prices for these services were still much higher than their national counterparts.

The most spectacular move on the mobile telephony market in 2011 was the purchase of Polkomtel by company Spartan Capital Holdings. An important event was rebranding of PTC. Starting from 5 June 2011, the Era brand disappeared from the Polish telecommunications market, and was replaced by T-Mobile.

Activities of market participants leading to lower operating costs, such as establishing the Networks! company (joint venture of PTK Centertel and PTC) in July 2011, which is to co-utilize their radio access networks, grow in significance. Its establishment will result in a number of benefits to customers in the form of improved coverage and network quality, as well as access to the latest technologies.

The battle for a customer and building a competitive advantage no longer relies solely on cutting the prices. Other-than-cost factors become increasingly important for the customers, like the connection speed for the Internet access. The number of lines with speeds equal to or exceeding 2 Mb/s increased by 64.2%. At the same time, the fall in prices of Internet access was propelled by cable TV providers, who offered the subscribers more attractive tariffs than the operators of xDSL services. In comparison to the European Union countries, the tariffs of Polish providers come out well - in majority of cases their costs were lower than the average for individual throughputs.

Bundling of services was an important trend, which allowed to meet the demand for several telecommunications services to be purchased at significantly lower prices in a bundle rather than separately. More than 2.6 million users benefited from this option. The most popular were double-play offers, most often combining cable TV with Internet access.

The increase in intensity of use of telecommunications services traditionally has not concerned the fixed-line telephony. The statistics concerning the number of subscribers, market value and traffic volumes have been dropping year by year. This trend was exacerbated by the phenomenon of substitution of services at a fixed location with the mobile telephony offers.

According to data gathered for the annual infrastructure inventory, investments in the access network amounted to approximately PLN 980 million, while in the optical fibre network to nearly PLN 83 million. The main part of these expenses (62.8%) concerned the xDSL technology.


The subsequent parts of the document present the status and development of various segments of the telecommunications market: Internet access, mobile and fixed-line telephony. Special emphasis was placed on changes in retail prices of services.

The report was prepared on the basis of information contained in the reports of the telecommunications business for the year 2011 (database as of 30 May 2012), provided in accordance with Article 7 of the Telecommunications Law by telecommunications companies, as well as using the analytical resources held by the Office of Electronic Communications.


Internet access

  • In 2011, the number of new users of broadband services increased by over 1 million, while approximately 52.2% of them opted for mobile access.
  • Penetration with mobile Internet increased by 17.2%, while for fixed-line services the ratio was 10.8%.
  • Main players in the segment were: TP S.A. and four infrastructural operators (MNOs) - P4, PTK Centertel, Polkomtel, and PTC.
  • The most popular access technology were 2G/3G modems, the importance of cable TV and WLAN modems grew successively.
  • Participation of lines with bandwidth exceeding or equal to 2 Mb/s increased by 24.7 percentage points. Increasing the speed constituted a response to the expectations of customers for whom this ratio was the most important criterion of choice.
  • Over 2.6 million persons used bundled telecommunications services, an increase by 23.5% in comparison to 2010.
  • Alternative operators (AO) developed their own telecommunications infrastructure - its market share increased by 40.2%. Positive dynamics also characterized LLU services (41%), while the share of BSA lines decreased by 7.6%.


Mobile telephony

  • In 2011, over 50.1 million SIM cards were used, which meant a penetration at the level of over 131.6%.
  • There was a slight increase in the share of pre-paid service users, which changed a trend observed throughout the years of reduction in the number of pre-paid users over post-paid users.
  • The majority (71%) of ported numbers in mobile networks concerned migration to the Play network operator.
  • The largest (by over 3.1 percentage points) increase in the market share in terms of the number of users compared to the year 2010 was recorded by the company P4. The market share of MVNOs once again did not exceed 1%.
  • Average prices for domestic mobile services decreased by 2.8 % for voice calls, 2.2% for MMS, and 11% for data transmission, respectively. Only the prices for SMS remained unchanged.
  • Decreasing prices for roaming services translated into their greater use, particularly data transmission (increase by 38%).


Fixed-line telephony

  • The year 2011 was characterized by a further decline in the value of fixed-line telephony (by PLN 0.8 billion) and the number of subscribers (by 0.8 million).
  • The declining trend was typical for voice services provided over traditional PSTN (POTS and ISDN) networks. At the same time, the number of cable TV and WLR lines increased - by 21.8% and 6.4%, respectively.
  • With the shares at the level of 62.6% in the number of subscribers and of 60.6% in revenues, TP remained the main player.
  • The structure of revenues from calls made was dominated by calls to mobile networks (40.6% in value) and local calls (36.3%).
  • Traffic volume was dominated by domestic fixed-line calls - local (58.6%) and long distance calls (23.2%).
  • The development of VoIP services slowed down. The number of users decreased by 20.3%, while the market value increased by only 6.8%.


The full text of the Report is available in the attached file.


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