P4, the operator of the Play network, has not obtained further approval for EU roaming subsidies. P4 is already the second MNO with this decision of the regulator. In autumn 2019, Polkomtel did not receive similar consent from UKE. This means that operators are incurring ever lower costs of services provided to the subscriber due to the current RLAH regulation.
Play without UKE’s consent to continue using Euro roaming subsidies
The latest versions of Play’s price lists show that the operator has not received UKE’s consent to continue applying roaming subsidies in the European Union. The records, which informed about charging customers for such subsidies as a result of above-average use of mobile services in roaming, have disappeared.
Earlier, because in October last year, another decision giving the possibility of applying subsidies to roaming services was not withheld from the Polkomtel regulator.
In view of the above P4 and Polkomtel system, it is likely that in subsequent periods other MNOs – Orange and T-Mobile will also share Polkomtel’s fate and will not receive approval for further surcharges. Changes in Orange’s and T-Mobile’s price lists can be expected in March and April, respectively, when UKE’s previous decisions to apply subsidies expire.
Additional charges (PLN net) for roaming services in the European Union, granted to operators under the second decisions issued by UKE, October 2019
|Operator||Date of the decision by UKE||Starting date of the possibility to apply additional fees||Rates of additional fees (in PLN net)|
|One minute outgoing call||One minute incoming call||SMS||MMS||Internet (MB)|
|FM Group Mobile||06.12.2018||07.12.2018||0,04228||0,03821||0,01626||–||0,0122|
|T-Mobile Polska||10.04.2019||19.05.2019||0,01||0,01||0,01||0,01||3,25 (GB)|
|Polkomtel||10.10.2019||–||Refusal to permit the application of an additional roaming charge for the provision of regulated retail roaming services|
|ITI Neovision||16.09.2019||25.10.2019||0,1301||0,036423||0,0407||–||16,7805 (GB)|
|Virgin Mobile Polska||17.10.2019||19.10.2019||0,1301||–||0,0407||–||0,0122|
Source: UKE, 2019
Roaming subsidies as a RLAH effect
Since 15 June 2017, RLAH (roam like at home) has been in force on the Polish telecommunications market. This means that no additional roaming fee is charged and the operator billed for calls at the domestic retail price. In special cases, where the operator proves that the costs of its services to the roaming subscriber are higher than its revenues, the operator may also apply additional charges during the target period after obtaining the regulator’s consent. In addition, there are safeguards to protect operators against abuses by rogue customers – operators are then entitled to levy additional wholesale roaming charges on them.
In Poland, in 2018, the four major MNOs were authorised by the regulator to apply subsidies to roaming services because of the demonstrated losses in profitability due to RLAH regulation. These losses resulted from lower domestic retail prices compared to EEA wholesale interconnection rates. UKE’s decisions in this case are valid for 12 months each time.
Increasingly smaller losses of international roaming operators
The lack of subsequent decisions by UKE granting rights to apply additional charges to Euro roaming services results from decreasing levels of operators’ losses on these services. The reason is the falling costs of providing roaming services – as a result of wholesale interconnection regulation and the possibility of renegotiating commercial rates with foreign operators. The application of FUP (Fair Use Policy) also helps to maintain an appropriate level of profitability.