The mission of the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP) is to guide the telecommunications and postal sector in its transition from monopoly to an entirely competitive market. This is done under the new Telecommunications law of 16 July 2004 and the amended Postal law.
At present the telecommunications market in Poland is open to competition on all levels – starting from local telephone calls, through long-distance and international calls, and ending with fixed-to-mobile calls. The new Telecommunications law has nevertheless introduced different regulations, according to which entities with significant market power (SMP) are to perform relevant regulatory obligations. A starting point is the analysis of 18 relevant markets, the results of which are to allow regulation that conforms to actual market conditions. The process of market analyses has already been launched and will be continued in 2005 to select entities with SMP on particular markets subject to regulation and to impose regulatory obligations on them.
Reference offers continue to define basic principles for cooperation of an SMP operator with alternative operators. In 2004, I introduced a reference interconnection offer. My decision to approve the RIO is an important step forward in the liberalisation of the Polish telecommunications market. It is expected to contribute to better regulation of the telecommunications market and to ensure effective competition to the benefit of all users.
In 2004, I invited all operators, economic chambers and scientific organisations to a public discussion concerning methods of utilising available resources for the GSM 1800 MHz and UMTS mobile telephony in order to prepare the tender procedure. URTiP also held consultations of draft documents adopted by the European Regulators Group (ERG).
Equally important changes took place in 2004 in regulatory principles of the postal services market. Legal regulations in respect of freedom in business operation introduced a new solution consisting in the replacement of authorisations for running certain types of business by an entry in the register of postal operators. The President of URTiP makes the entry according to an undertaking’s statement about its compliance with conditions stipulated by the Postal law, necessary to provide postal services. In effect, 90 private operators providing postal services are operating on the postal market and Poczta Polska is gradually preparing itself for functioning in conditions of full liberalisation.
In the period covered by the report, Poland became a full member of the European Union, and the telecommunications and postal markets – part of the Community services market. Accession to the European Union was linked to the adoption of a new Telecommunications law, which implemented a package of EU Directives on electronic communications. The new law changed the philosophy of regulatory actions and introduced a number of new regulatory instruments. This also constituted an additional stimulus for undertakings to improve the quality of their services and to lower prices for these services.
In 2004, two regulatory strategies of the President of URTiP were adopted: on the telecommunications services market and on the postal services market. Both documents indicated in a synthetic way the Regulator’s priorities as regards its active role in the improvement of the domestic market and integration the EU market. Under the relevant law I exercise a transparent, open and consistent regulatory policy. My conviction, universal in other EU member states, is that only independence, impartiality, and transparency of the regulatory authority’s activities contributes most to the process of gradual elimination of traditional monopolies and to the establishment of a fully competitive market.
Furthermore, I wish to point out that in activities that regulate the telecommunications market I cooperate closely with the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK). This cooperation is connected, first of all, with the analysis of competition on relevant markets, SMP designation and counteracting practices that hinder competition. Furthermore, common actions in favour of ensuring rights to users of telecommunications services are also of particular importance. In my opinion this is one of the best examples for highly effective cooperation between two central-level administration bodies.
Regulatory activities of URTiP are and will continue to be, first and foremost, a response to the needs of the Polish market. EU standards help in correct preparation of the decisions, and subsequently in their efficient enforcement. This Report presents the effects of URTiP endeavours.
President of URTiP