President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP), Mr. Witold Graboś, issued a decision determining interconnection conditions and principles of accounting between Tele2 Polska Sp. z o.o. and Telekomunikacja Polska SA, the incumbent operator. The decision entitles Tele2 to offer to TP SA subscribers the possibility of phone calls from fixed to mobile telephony network. Phone calls from TP SA infrastructure via Tele2 network will be carried out in the same way as long distance and international calls i.e. by means of a 4-digit access code NDS or permanent preselection.
In the request to the President of URTiP, Tele2 applied for decision which would entitle Tele2 to provide the TP SA subscribers with services in the field of long distance and international calls as well as the phone calls from fixed to mobile telephony. Tele2 showed that in spite of a five months negotiations period with TP SA the latter did not want to conclude a contract continuously demanding new information and explanations.
Regardless of administrative procedure initiated by the URTiP the parties met on several occasions in order to negotiate. As a result of these meetings Tele2 and TP SA concluded an interconnection agreement. The agreement defines conditions of cooperation and accounting for long distance and international services. However the operators did not reach an agreement on directing the TP SA outgoing phone calls, via Tele2 network terminating at mobile telephony networks. Consequently Tele2 still maintained its application to the President of URTiP in the part not covered by the contract.
President of the URTiP judged legitimate to assure the subscribers of TP SA the possibility to chose Tele2 as an operator providing long distance services in order to make phone calls to mobile telephony networks. President of the URTiP emphasized that TP SA, as an operator with dominant position in the market, is obliged to carry out all justified demands regarding access to the network, including the provision of services offered by Tele2 via TP SA network.
The representatives of TP SA argued that under the currently binding Telecommunication Law there is no legal possibility for Tele2 to demand interconnection agreement to provide mobile telephony services for TP SA subscribers. However according to the President of URTiP, the provisions of article 43 item 3 indicate services which subscribers can demand access to (i.e. international telephony services, and in the case of fixed-line telephony also long distance services) but does not define the scope of services which can be provided through interconnected networks. Therefore the above-mentioned provisions do not exclude Tele2 from provision of services for TP SA subscribers in the field of phone calls directed via Tele2 network terminating at mobile telephony networks.
According to the President, Witold Graboś, “the main aim of Telecommunications Law is to assure the largest possible access to telecommunications services for citizens, offered by competing operators. In this case, it refers to the field of phone calls to mobile telephony network. It can only be achieved by removing barriers to enter the market by new operators offering competitive prices.”
Currently the market of phone calls from fixed to mobile telephony network continues to be monopolized and the subscribers have no other choice but TP SA. Therefore retail prices for phone calls to mobile telephony remain relatively high in Poland. Currently average retail price charged by TP SA is approximately 50% higher than in the European Union. New entrants offering indirect access enhance competition which results in the fall of prices, wider range of services and higher quality. This phenomenon is confirmed by liberalization of long distance and international telephony markets.
In the above-mentioned decision President of the URTiP settled also that interconnection rates for calls originating in the TP SA network via Tele2 network terminating at mobile telephony network will be the same as the rates of other long distance and international services set in the contract of 19 December 2002. Each of the three cases mentioned above refers to the same interconnection service and involves the same elements of TP SA infrastructure. Thus there is no justification to differentiate the rates for interconnection services.
The President of URTiP explains the above mentioned decision by the best interest of end-users of interconnected networks and providing them with the largest possible access to telecommunications services. Current actions of the regulator focus on enhancing competition in the termination to mobile telephony network which will result in decrease of prices and improvement of the quality of service.
The decision was appended an order of immediate enforceability which enables Tele2 to exercise the aimed activity without awaiting until the appellate procedure ends. The parties can appeal against this decision to the Court for Competition and Consumer Protection through the medium of the President of URTiP within 14 days from delivery of the decision.