The second stage of the auction for the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz frequencies, which are to serve as the base of a broadband internet LTE network, has been underway since February. In that time, the prices of particular blocks of frequencies in the 800 MHz section have increased fivefold and the operators’ accumulated offers for all available frequencies are more than twice as high as was previously estimated. In theory, this is great for the budget, but the auction cannot be seen exclusively from a fiscal perspective. The balance of profits and losses of the Polish economy has to be taken into consideration as well – in which case it is evident that prolonging the auction and, in turn, its higher cost is a threat to building the infrastructure necessary to provide access to fast, mobile internet.
Meanwhile, such a network is necessary not only because without it the objectives of the European Digital Agenda (by 2020 all Europeans should have access to internet with a speed exceeding 30 Mb/s, and half the households - with a speed exceeding 100 Mb/s), but also because the demand for mobile internet – both on the part of private persons and entrepreneurs – has to be met.
As the Office of Electronic Communication (UKE) announced in August, in the last five years the data transmission consumption increased sevenfold. When commenting on the data transmission figures, the chairwoman of UKE stated that the increased traffic in mobile networks was “a serious challenge for operators”, but also “an opportunity to create innovative and competitive services, as well as to acquire new customers”, Operators are ready to meet this challenge, but as long as the auction for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz stays unresolved, both them and the rest of the economy will be at a standstill – it would be advisable to find a solution for this impasse.
Arkadiusz Pączka, Director of the Legislation monitoring Centre of Employers of Poland