Poland's Netia partners with Play for mobile services

Poland-based Netia has formed a partnership with mobile operator Play, as the fixed telecoms and broadband service provider follows the European trend of teaming up with a mobile operator in order to add mobile to its service mix.

According to a report from Reuters, which cited a Netia spokesman as its source, Play was chosen in preference to Polkomtel, which provides mobile services under the Plus name in Poland. Netia did not respond to requests for confirmation before publication, but is expected to announce the partnership on Monday. It is also not clear what form the partnership will take, although Reuters has previously suggested the partnership could be a first step towards an eventual merger.

Reuters also noted that Netia is a former shareholder of Play, which is the country's fourth mobile operator, competing with Plus as well as T-Mobile Poland and Orange Poland. Netia sold its 23.4 per cent stake in Play in 2008.

By forming a partnership with Play, Netia is following a similar strategy to that of fixed operators in other European markets including the UK. For example, BT is in the process of buying UK mobile operator EE, and is widely expected to complete that deal soon.

Other UK providers have chosen to go down the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) route rather than buy a mobile network like BT.

For example, BSkyB last week signed a wholesale agreement to use the network of Telefónica (O2) UK. The company, which trades under the name of Sky in the UK, plans to add mobile voice and data services to an existing triple-play offer, although the company does not plan to launch the new services until 2016.

In November last year, TalkTalk also signed an MVNO agreement with Telefónica as part of an overall strategy that will see the UK fixed operator expand its "quad-play" offering that combines fixed broadband and TV services with mobile plans and, ultimately, build a small cell network to support its mobile play.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article

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