The year 2003 was an important year for the Polish telecommunications sector and for our Office. Shortly before the works on the Telecommunications Law started, the act of 2000 was amended and the Postal Law was passed. The Act on the System of Conformity Assessment was also amended.
The position of the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP) as a national regulator of telecommunications and postal markets was reinforced, and the President’s scope of competence increased. The activities undertaken by the Regulator were mainly aimed at further improvement of universal access to telecommunications and postal services and at the protection of customer interests by supervising the quality and prices of services offered on the market.
The President of URTiP supported the creation of proper conditions for effective competition on the market of telecommunications, teleinformatics and postal services in Poland. The basic principle of the President’s activities was the introduction and solidification of permanent and transparent principles for all participants in the telecommunications and postal markets in Poland. The President’s consistently implemented precept of consulting regulatory decisions that were under preparation with the interested circles greatly contributed to this principle.
The period covered by the report (January – December 2003) was also the second year of liberal admission of new operators to the market of telecommunications services. With equal consistency the President of URTiP implemented the transparent and liberal policy of administration of scarce resources such as frequency and numbering resources, rendering them available without unnecessary limitations and encouraging their use.
The year 2003 was also a period of preparation for a new task – the product market surveillance, i.e. monitoring equipment and devices available on the market with respect to their compliance with essential requirements and electromagnetic compatibility.
It was also a time of closing a particular period (of almost thirteen years) of the process of releasing individual sectors of telecommunications market – starting from local telephone calls, through long-distance and international calls, and ending with the fixed-to-mobile calls. As a result of the regulatory measures, the service offer broadened significantly and a visible, though still not entirely satisfactory, drop of prices for these services could be seen.
The past year was used well for the preparation of the national Regulator to the duties resulting from Poland’s accession to the European Union. In anticipation of future legal solutions, a number of duties expected to follow from the EU membership were already fulfilled. This in particular refers to the activities that are clear and predictable for market participants. In mid-2003, the President of URTiP presented an analysis of the availability of telecommunications services, drawing attention to the significance of the system of radio subscriber access. The Office conducted public consultations on draft documents issued by the European Commission and the European Regulators Group.
Regulatory activities undertaken by the President of URTiP were, in majority, an answer to the needs of the Polish telecommunications and postal markets. Standards included in the provisions and European Union practice helped in a correct preparation of decisions and subsequently in their efficient enforcement. However, it must be emphasised that the President of URTiP will be allowed to exercise the expected powers only after the Polish Parliament adopts the new Telecommunications Law, implementing the package of EU directives on electronic communications of 2002.
I express my deep conviction that the Polish segment of European electronic communications and the postal services market will be an important element of the integration. I would like the activities of the Regulator to contribute to the development of this sector of the Polish economy and to provide customers with satisfaction from the increasing quality of services and decreasing prices.
It is with this hope that I present my report to the readers.
President of URTiP