Polish Operators End Dispute as Regulator Decides on LTE Bands

  • Watchdog UKE gives two adjacent frequencies to T-Mobile Polska
  • Operator has 14 days to pay $528 million for second LTE band

T-Mobile Polska SA and P4 sp. z o.o. agreed to a decision by Poland’s telecommunication market regulator to shift them to different high-speed frequencies, ending uncertainty over 2 billion zloty ($528 million) the former is to pay into the state coffers.

The decision allows carriers to accelerate development of fast-speed mobile internet to match surging demand for data transmission in Poland. The operators have been in talks with the regulator since October, when it announced winners of the auction with total bids amounting to 9.2 billion zloty. As a third operator called NetNet sp. z o.o. withdrew from reserving a frequency, T-Mobile, the runner-up in that block, said it would take the other one provided they are adjacent to each other and next to Orange’s band.

UKE, as the watchdog is known, gave T-Mobile two adjacent LTE bands, it said in a statement on Thursday. However, the regulator didn’t approve the operator’s request for its bands to be adjacent to Orange Polska SA’s spectrum, a step which would help both companies cooperate, and moved P4 to a different band than originally allocated.

While T-Mobile has said an allotment close to Orange would be “optimal” as it has a joint-venture with the Orange unit operating mobile towers in Poland, P4 didn’t want to agree to the shift.

T-Mobile Polska accepts the regulator’s decision and is now focusing on “making up for lost time,” Malgorzata Rybak-Dowzyk, a director for communication at Deutsche Telekom AG’s Polish unit, said by phone, adding the company is “glad” the decision has been made. It has 14 days to pay for the 800MHz frequency.

P4 regards the decision as “difficult, but an effective reconciliation of expectations,” Marcin Gruszka, a spokesman for the company, said in a text message on Thursday.

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