Poland risks missing EU's 5G target in 2020 -regulator

WARSAW, April 29 (Reuters) - Poland risks missing the European Union’s target for rolling out 5G in 2020, the telecoms regulator said on Wednesday, a day after officials said the spectrum auction would have to be restarted from the beginning.

Poland and other countries are preparing to introduce 5G networks offering data speeds up to 50 to 100 times faster than current networks.

But Poland’s 5G spectrum auction, suspended this month due to the coronavirus, will have to be restarted to avoid the threat of legal challenges and due to planned changes to Poland’s telecoms law to beef up security, officials said on Tuesday.

The regulator said on Wednesday that doing that would erase the “possibility of achieving the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe (in terms of launching 5G) using the 3.6 GHz band in 2020”.

The ministry rejected that view, arguing that the target could be reached provided the regulator takes steps to cancel the currently suspended auction for 5G spectrum and prepares a new one “without undue delay”.

Poland is expected by the EU to have a commercially functioning 5G network based on frequencies 3.4-3.8 GHz in at least one city by the end of 2020.

Witold Drozdz, a member of Orange Polska’s management board, told journalists on a video conference on Wednesday: “We submitted a (preliminary) offer last week, before the regulator’s decision on suspending the auction.”

“Like other market participants, we were surprised by yesterday’s information about the planned cancellation of the auction by the government.” (Reporting by Anna Koper; editing by Agnieszka Barteczko and Jason Neely)