3.6 GHz 5G spectrum valuation in Poland
December 2019

The value of 3400-3800 MHz 5G band is substantially higher in Poland than in other large EU markets. The spectrum valuations of the four Polish operators are highly asymmetrical.
  • The tangible value of 3.6 GHz 5G spectrum in Poland, assuming a 4-MNO market, is more than 4 billion EUR.
  • The value of 3.6 GHz spectrum in Poland will be significantly lower though if the market was to consolidate back to 3-MNOs.
  • 5G home broadband, alongside with fibre, will be an essential technology for delivering affordable high-speed connectivity to every Polish household by 2030.
  • Connecting a substantial share of households with 5G broadband, video-on-demand & TV services, during the next 10 years will put significant strain on the four Polish mobile networks.
  • Polish operators have rather weak radio site grids. They serve 5x more pop with an average macro site than Nordic operators. Unsurprisingly, Play was the European operator with the highest 4G capacity utilization in 2018, 63% up from 55% in 2017.
  • 5G network costs could spiral out of control if Polish operators do not acquire sizable (~80 MHz) 3.6 GHz spectrum holdings.
  • But irrespective of the amount of 3.6 GHz spectrum they acquire, the transition to 5G will most likely compel Polish operators to densify their macro site grids in order to improve network performance, peak speed availability and deep indoor coverage.
Key spectrum valuation questions addressed
  • Why is the 3400-3800 MHz spectrum 5G band worth more in Poland than in other large EU markets?
  • Why do Polish operators have highly asymmetrical spectrum valuations?
  • Which is the Polish operator that has by far the highest valuation and which one has by far the lowest?
  • How large is the core smartphone subscriber business valuation for each of the four Polish operators?
  • Are the 5-year palpable valuations significant or are valuations back-loaded?
  • If the government’s planned EMF relaxation fails, would the EMF impeded valuations of Polish operators still be significant?
  • How much lower will the Polish operator valuations be if they were to densify their macro site grids to 15,000 sites?
  • Is the mobile-centric convergence (MCC) business case positive? If so, is that still the case assuming a high-traffic scenario?
  • Are the mobile broadband valuations equally significant for all four Polish operators?
  • How much 3.6 GHz spectrum will Polish operators need to run a positive MCC business case and at what price?
  • How much will operator X and Y save if they were to acquire 3400-3800 MHz spectrum independently, then merge and - in what will certainly be a controversial decision – are allowed to keep their entire 3400-3800 MHz spectrum holdings?
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