Chris Dziadul looks at competition in Poland’s telco market
The importance of competition in the broadband sector is strongly emphasised in a report just published by Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). Although focused mostly on price comparisons between the various providers, its underlining message is that the last 18 months have seen a sea change in a market previously dominated by the incumbent TPSA, bringing with it huge benefits for the consumer.
The key factor bringing about this transformation was undoubtedly UKE’s actions to open up the market to competition, and in particular allow alternative carriers access to France Telecom-backed TPSA’s infrastructure. GTS Energis and Netia were the first to launch services earlier this year, with Tele2 Polska and Telefonia Dialog joining them last month and at least six more companies set to follow suit in the near future. On average, they charge subscribers between 4-11% less than TPSA, though in one instance – Netia’s 1Mbps and 2Mbps offers – the figure is around 33%.
The next step, as the UKE rightly points out, will be the general rollout of such additional services as VOD and IPTV by the alternative carriers, bring even more competitive pressure to bear on the incumbent. Telefonia Dialog, which is currently the second largest fixed-line company in Poland with around 440,000 telephony and 90,000 customers, has already taken the first steps, undertaking an IPTV trial last month ahead of the planned launch of a service this autumn that – it is hoped – could have up to 20,000 subscribers by the end of the year.
Given the background of the other alternative providers – GTS Energis is part of the largest such company in Central Europe, while Tele2 is belongs to a company claiming nearly 30 million clients in 22 European countries – they, too, are more than capable of following in Telefonia Dialog’s footsteps.
However, they will still have their work cut out in competing with the market leader TPSA.