There has been a change in the tempo of investment in Poland’s telecom market.
Speaking in a panel discussion on PIKE 2018, Ireneusz Piecuch from the law firm CMS said that the market is currently in stagnation as costs are increasing. In effect, the top line is not growing.
Piecuch, along with Emil Konarzewski, a managing partner at Audytel, presented the findings of a joint report into the market produced by their two companies. Its conclusions included that broadband adds 0.8%, or PLN2 billion (€464 million) to Poland’s GDP and will bring PLN23 billion to the treasury by 2023. However, this could be much higher if the country moved up the European broadband table.
To reach this would require PLN27 billion, but the money is not there right now. What is more, Poland currently has one of the most regulated telecom markets in Europe.
Furthermore, if new rules come into effect operators are likely to invest 30% less than at present.
Every PL1 invested in broadband brings a gain of PLN5 and more regulation holds development back.
There was particular concern expressed about the affect this would have on the rollout of 5G services in Poland, which are seen as vital to the country’s future. However, Wanda Buk, the undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Digitisation, insisted that regulatory changes would in fact make investment easier.
Although the government sees 5G as a priority and does not want to fall behind Western Europe in its rollout, it also has to balance out the interests of the various parties it provides funding to.
Other speakers, including Agnieszka Gladysz, the director of strategy and analysis at the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), and Lidia Kozlowska, independent consultant and VP of the UKE between 2014-16, identified the need to build more infrastructure.