October 28, 2019 / 2:45 PM / a month ago

Poland to work with telecoms companies to develop 5G

WARSAW (Reuters) - Three of Poland’s biggest private telecom firms have agreed to consider developing 5G networks with two state entities, one of the groups said on Monday, signaling the government may have some control over the future network.

Poland and other European countries are preparing to launch 5G services offering faster data downloads, but some plans are being complicated by security doubts around Chinese equipment vendor Huawei.

Poland’s state-owned telecom operator Exatel had earlier advocated forming a consortium of private but also state companies to develop 5G network infrastructure for the 700 MHz band to ensure lower costs and better protection from security threats.

The head of state-owned fund PFR said it and Exatel alongwith Orange Polska, T-Mobile Polska and Polkomtel- a unit of Cyfrowy Polsat - on Monday signed an agreement to start establishing a company to build 5G infrastructure.

Orange Polska is the Polish arm of France’s Orange and T-Mobile Polska is the Polish unit of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.

Poland’s biggest mobile operator Play Communications did not sign the memorandum of understanding, as the company still needed to get some corporate approvals, Play’s IR head told Reuters.

“The aim of the joint project is to ensure nationwide availability of 5G services in selected bands, technology security and low service prices thanks to synergies of common infrastructure,” PFR CEO Pawel Borys said on Twitter.

The 700 MHz band is meant to cover the entire country, unlike other bands that will be available regionally. Poland is yet to decide on the way it will distribute frequencies.

Reporting by Anna Koper; Editing by Deepa Babington

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