The President of the URTiP has agreed to delay the launch of UMTS in Poland by one year - UKE

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The President of the URTiP has agreed to delay the launch of UMTS in Poland by one year

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2002-04-24

On 24 April 2002, Witold Graboś, the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation, took three decisions on a delay to the launch of UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) in Poland by one year. That also means a positive reply by the President to the requests for the introduction of relevant modifications to the existing telecommunications authorisations, as filed by the three mobile GSM operators acting in Poland (i.e. PTK Centertel Sp. z o.o., Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa Sp. z o.o., and Polkomtel S.A.).

The three mobile operators filed requests for an amendment of their telecommunications authorisations for the operation of the public UMTS mobile telephone network and frequency assignments in the 2GHz band, which were issued by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications on 20 December 2000. The requested amendment would result in delaying the launch and implementation of the third generation mobile telephony and the required coverage of UMTS services. At first, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications set the date of the launch of UMTS as 1 January 2004. He also set the coverage of UMTS services to reach 20% of the population of Poland by the end of 2004, and 40% by the end of 2007.

Therefore, according to the operators' requests accepted by the President of the URTiP, the launch of the network will be possible from 1 January 2004, but the operators will not be obliged to launch the network and provide commercial UMTS services until 1 January 2005. There will be a similar one-year delay for the required coverage of UMTS services.

The operators applying for the one-year delay to the launch of UMTS in Poland raised the following problems:

  • contrary to what manufacturers had previously assured, up to now the infrastructure necessary for the construction of the UMTS network has not been available, the necessary equipment is still being tested, and the standarisation procedures have not been finished yet;
  • in major European markets, the process of arranging for the scope of the construction and sharing of the network by competitive consortia is now under way;
  • in the majority of European countries, the telecommunications market regulators have accepted requests for a delay to the launch of the commercial provision of UMTS services;
  • according to the concept adopted by the Polish government, the UMTS operators in Poland should launch their UMTS activity one year later than other European operators in order to avoid mistakes and high costs in the first stage of the implementation; and
  • services provided through the UMTS network in the first stage will also be provided through modernised GSM networks (so-called 2,5G), and in this way their implementation will definitely be less expensive than the construction of the UMTS network.

According to Witold Graboś, the President of the URTiP: The requested delays to the launch of UMTS should be accepted for the sake of social interest. We should not offer services with a technology which has remained at the design stage. The UMTS technology has not been commercially launched in any European country.

If the dates of the launch of UMTS as so far provided in the authorisations had been maintained then operators would be obliged to make significant investments right now, i.e. in the transmission network.

Each of the operators will pay a fee amounting to EURO 2,500 for the amendment of their telecommunications authorisations.

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