On 24 July 2002, Witold Graboś, the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (URTiP), and Jerzy Szmajdziński, the Minister of Defence, signed an agreement on establishing the rules and a schedule for the mutual transfer of determined frequency bands and on collaboration in the spectrum management.
The agreement aims at a successive introduction of changes in frequency management plans within the territory of the Republic of Poland, taking into account the interest of civil telecommunications operators and radio and television broadcasters, as well as the need to assure the appropriate functioning and development of military systems necessary for the maintenance of State defence and for the fulfilment by Poland of its obligations arising from NATO membership.
The programme of mutual transfer of frequency bands between military and civil users is one of the most important changes that has occurred in the field of frequency management in Poland. Furthermore, it is one of the major areas of Poland’s preparation for entry to the EU and of Poland’s activity within NATO. Changes in the frequency assignment result also from the successive adaptation of Polish regulation to the requirements arising from the International Radio Regulation. Due to high costs the period of implementation of such arrangements has been extended to several years.
The first group of frequencies will be released by the end of 2002. Further bands will be released within 2003-2004.
The military is releasing certain frequencies and in return, other frequencies are handed over to the military by civil services. For instance, according to some requirements of NATO membership, 44 and 300 MHz bands were released to government services.
Jerzy Szmajdziński, the Minister of Defence, stated: Other frequency bands will be released by the Ministry of Defence in line with the removal of old equipment. Thus, the speed of this process is limited by the availability of financial resources for the purchase of the equipment that is in conformity with NATO requirements. In some cases the removal of old equipment will take a couple of years. During this time we will have to maintain different communications systems: old systems, which are still necessary for the equipment produced in the period of the Warsaw Pact, and new ones, necessary for the equipment of a new generation used by NATO.
The agreement between the Minister of Defence and the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation provides that 11 groups of frequencies of different bands will be transferred in total. These bands have so far been used by military services, including those working with radio navigation and radio location systems.
Witold Graboś stated: The agreement will allow to launch many economic undertakings. This will entail investments worth of millions of zloty, including some in more remote areas. Providing strong incentives for economic growth the agreement will, in consequence, contribute to the creation of employment opportunities. The most well-known system for which the agreement will be beneficial is of course UMTS, but it will also be valuable for GSM technologies, allowing capacity improvements; as well as for the railways, allowing an increase in security owing to the specialised GSM-R communications for the railway.
The frequency bands to be released within the next several years will be used for the construction of radio communications networks of 3rd generation in the UMTS/IMT-2000 standard. The first channels of these bands will be released this year. They will allow, among other things, an increase in the number and the coverage of digital radio and tv programmes.
The release of new frequency bands will also be beneficial for operators of the existing GSM networks, allowing them to extend the array of their services. There will also be more of so-called disposition networks, in particular those that are specialised, such as GSM-R (specialised digital communications for the needs of the railway).
Pursuant to the provisions of the agreement, there will be a Working Team responsible for the analysis and supervision of frequency bands used by civil and military users. The team will take day-to-day decisions within the framework of frequency management. After the release of the frequencies, this will constitute further step towards the harmonisation of Polish regulations related to frequency management with European standards. The Working Team will also be responsible for facilitating frequency assignment to various foreign security services taking temporary actions in the territory of Poland, such as those taken during official visits of Head of State or Government.