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Polish operators knock changes to 4G auction terms

Two Polish operators have struck out against the country’s government for attempting to amend the rules of its ongoing 4G spectrum auctions.

Operators Plus and Play have argued that the proposed changes would negatively impact the bids of certain participants in the auctions. The offers from all 4 players have escalated to the point that the government has now called for the auctions to cease after 115 days.

Fourth-placed operator Play described the amendments as “unprecedented interference” considering the process was launched in February. The operator demanded that the regulator UKE should instead cancel or postpone the auctions. However, UKE head Magdalena Gaj rejected this appeal, claiming that “there are no legal grounds” for scrapping the auction.

Plus, which is owned by Polkomtel, has similarly argued that the proposals run counter to regulations that specify the terms of auction. Deutsche Telekom, which operates market leader T-Mobile, also demanded a review of Poland’s telecom laws.

According to Gaj, the auction could bring in as much as $2.1 billion, exceeding original expectations by five times. However, following a reported 400 rounds of bidding, Gaj added that the market would need to be “serious about buying these frequencies”.

The ongoing process, which has already lasted 7 months, sits in stark contrast to Europe’s most recent major spectrum auction. Turkey’s delayed sale of 4G spectrum closed in just one day, generating €3.36 billion.

The amended plans have yet to be approved, but if they are supported the auctions could continue until October.

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