What are the main trends in Poland’s rapidly developing telecom market?
To find the answers, the first port of call should arguably be an annual report produced by the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). The latest edition, looking at 2019, was released at the end of last month and provides some useful insights.
In looking at bundled services, it reveals that while the number of users seemed to have peaked – the total in fact fell by 0.5% to just under 13.7 million in 2019 following several years of growth – the amount they paid for those services rose by around 12% to PLN9.5 billion (€2.15 billion). ARPU in 2019 stood at PLN58.2, or over PLN6 more than a year earlier.
It is also interesting to note that over three-quarters (77.4%) of subscribers to bundled services favoured double play packages, with mobile internet and mobile telephony being the most popular combination. Triple and quadruple play, on the other hand, were chosen by only 16.5% and 6% of subscribers respectively, with only a miniscule 0.1% opting for higher packages.
In terms of market leadership, P4 was still in top spot, though its share fell slightly from 45.9% in 2018 to 45.1% last year. Orange was in second place, and also with a reduced share of 12%, with Cyfrowy Polsat. UPC and Vectra further down the list.
Another interesting trend revealed in the report was that the number of homes with fixed internet access has begun to grow again following a period of decline. As of the end of 2019 fixed internet penetration stood at 54.8%, though this was still only a third of the 183.2% mobile internet figure.
Internet revenues in 2019 amounted to PLN6.1 billion, up from PLN5.8 billion a year earlier, but ARPU was barely changed at PLN31.5 (PLN31.4).
It goes without saying that internet usage in Poland, as in all other countries, continues to grow. In 2019 the figure stood at 16.2 million, up 4.7% on a year earlier. Furthermore, while over half (52%) accessed services via modems (2, 3 and 4G), usage of FTTH (9.8%) rose. Also, over half (50.4%) of users had access speeds of over 100 Mbps.
As an interesting footnote, Poland had the lowest penetration of fixed line services per 100 inhabitants (20%) in the EU in 2019. However, it also had the highest penetration of mobile internet (175.7%).
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