Polish operators line up for 5G spectrum auction


All four of the nation’s mobile network operators – Play (P4), Polkomtel (Plus), Orange Polska, and T-Mobile Polska – have reportedly submitted their initial bids for 5G spectrum licences

Polish telecoms regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications (Urzad Komunikacji Elektronicznej, UKE), has announced this week that it has received opening bids from all four of the nation’s mobile operators, who are seemingly hungry to get their hands on the long-awaited 5G spectrum in the 3.5GHz band.

Poland is one of just two countries in the EU (the other being the Netherlands) not to have made spectrum in the highly sought after 3.5GHz band available to operators, though this was not by design; plans to auction this spectrum band were first announced back in 2020 but, like so many spectrum auctions at the time, the process was delayed significantly by outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Further delays were later caused by the uncertainty around the Polish government’s amendments to the Act on the National Cybersecurity System, which could potentially limit the operators’ choice of 5G vendors.

Today, these amendment discussions are still ongoing, but the UKE has decided to push forward with the auction process anyway, arguing that Poland is at risk of falling far behind its neighbours in terms of 5G capabilities.

The regulator launched an initial public consultation in December 2022, followed by a second in April this year. As a result, the amount of spectrum being made available for each licence was increased from 80MHz to 100MHz, while the reserve price per block remained unchanged at PLN450 million (roughly $108 million).

Now, the auction is finally taking place, with the process expected to conclude in the next few weeks.

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