Polish authorities contacted the European Commission (EC) to aid its discussions with Russia about availability of 700MHz spectrum to support next-generation mobile network rollouts, Rzeczpospolita reported.
The newspaper stated Marek Zagorski, Poland’s Minister of Digital Affairs, said it is likely an agreement will be reached, though would not be drawn on the timescale. The reason for calling on the EC is that similar issues will also apply to the Baltic countries.
Dicsussions centre on the 700MHz band, which is important for providing coverage, but also creates greater potential for interference due to its wider spread compared with higher bands. Zagorski said, however, that the availability of higher bands means Poland will not miss out on 5G altogether.
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Gervais Pellissier, the Orange executive who at that time oversaw its European businesses, said that for its central European businesses – Poland, Slovakia and Romania – their borders with Ukraine means important starting frequencies for 5G would not be freed “quickly enough”.
While Poland has called in the EC to support its efforts on spectrum, the country’s wider relationship with the bloc is less settled. President Andrzej Duda wants to raise questions about its European Union membership as part of a wider debate about constitutional reform: the EC, meanwhile, has said judicial reforms in Poland undermine the rule of law (a fundamental EU tenet).
Rzeczpospolita also said Exatel, a state-owned infrastructure company, is looking at building a 5G network funded either by the state or in a public-private partnership. However, the country’s privately-owned operators are unhappy with the state’s participation in such a project.