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