This overview of the Polish market for information and communication technologies complements reports focusing on specific market segments. As all market segments are significantly affected by digital technologies, the use of IP protocol, and increased importance of wireless technologies, the traditional IT and telecommunications sectors appear to increasingly intermingle and affect each other.
With over 38 million people, and despite a difficult economic situation, Poland still reports positive economic performance in the final quarter of 2009. As the sixth largest EU market, Poland has become an attractive gateway to Europe for an increasing number of American suppliers and continues to offer a relatively good potential for American companies in all segments of the information technology and telecommunications sectors.
EURO 2012, the European Football Championships which Poland will host in 2012, is currently the largest driving force for a wide variety of infrastructure investments, including ICT projects - especially those focusing on safety/security issues. Preparations for Euro 2012 are coordinated by the PL.2012 organization.
In general, ICT public sector investments are driven by Poland’s obligations toward the European Union. The Strategy for the Development of the Information Society of Poland by 2013, adopted by the government in December 2008, presents specific areas of ICT expansion and identifies investments needed for achieving Poland’s development goals. Even though several public sector projects have been repeatedly delayed or downsized, the Polish government still plans to spend almost $1 billion on public IT projects by 2013. The spending and projects are coordinated and overseen by the Ministry of Interior and Administration.
EU funding is also available through a variety of programs for investment projects in the public and private sectors, both at the national and regional levels.
Investment in wireless technologies dominates the telecommunications market with most investments focusing on wireless technologies. The largest WiMax internet access networks will be developed by Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa and Netia, who have already secured licenses for these frequencies. Projects in the CDMA and UMTS technologies are developed mainly by Polska Telefonia Komorkowa and Polkomtel.
In early September 2009, Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (TPSA) declared their intention to invest $3 billion in building 400,000 new telephone lines and modernizing an additional 600,000 lines enabling broadband internet access. TPSA’s plans depend up on the regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications approval to freeze the existing TPSA wholesaler rates for accessing its network for the next three years. Additionally, the operator is seeking some regulatory solutions which would assure them a return on investment, should TPSA invest in the next generation network (NGN).
Poland is planning to switch off analog television broadcasting signal by the end of July 2013. The details of the organization responsible for digital broadcasting are not yet decided. Nevertheless, the total cost of establishing the distribution system is estimated at $600 million while the investments in the infrastructure itself are expected to reach $140 million.
By Maria Kowalska