Polish regulator to address EC concerns over 800 MHz auction

Poland

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) said it would address concerns raised by the European Commission (EC) over the country’s recent auction of 800 MHz frequency licences

The UKE said a formal letter it received from the EC cited issues relating to the reservation of 800 MHz frequencies in 2014-2015 and the assignment of frequencies in 800 MHz band to an operator called Sferia.

Reuters reported earlier that T-Mobile Poland had complained to the EC about the allocation of spectrum to Sferia outside of the auction process.

An EC spokeswoman told the news agency: “The commission has concerns that the assignment of the 800 MHz band to mobile operator Sferia did not respect EU rules on spectrum management,” further noting that the EC “also has concerns that Poland's law on spectrum infringes EU telecoms law.”

The UKE said it “will cooperate with the European Commission to thoroughly examine the case.”

The auction, which ultimately raised PLN9 billion (€2 billion/$2.34 billion) from the sale of LTE licences, has been mired in controversy from the start. It seemed that matters had finally been settled in June, when the UKE said it had decided to reallocate licences to ensure that both Orange Poland and T-Mobile received contiguous spectrum licences.

P4, which operates the Play Mobile service, also won one of the five licences for two blocks in the 800 MHz band.

The UKE noted at the time that such an assignment of frequencies “is in line with the practice of those European countries which have assigned the frequencies in the 800 MHz band. In each of the European countries the NRA sought to assign spectrum for one entity in continuous frequency blocks.”

However, the matter looks set to drag on given the latest issues raised by the EC. A report from TeleGeography noted that government awarded Sferia one-sixth of the available 800 MHz frequencies in return for the MVNO dropping legal action.

For more:
- see this UKE release on the EC matter
- see this UKE release from June
- see this Reuters article
- see this TeleGeography article

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