After Cyfrowy Polsat Group launched the first commercial 5G network in Poland in May, the other operators decided to make similar move. Orange announced the launch of the 5G network in July 2020. On 9 June 2020, the technology on commercial terms appeared in the offer of T-Mobile and P4. The technology is available outside the 5G auction, on the frequencies previously held by operators – 2 100 and 2 600 MHz.
5G outside the auction
On 9 June 2020, T-Mobile and P4 launched 5G networks on commercial terms. This is a response to the launch of the first commercial 5G network by Cyfrowy Polsat Group on the 2 600 MHz frequency in May this year. The reaction is also visible on the Orange side, which initially rejected similar move and then announced the launch of #Hello5G on 1 July 2020. Both Orange, T-Mobile and P4 use part of their existing 2 100 MHz band for 5G technology.
5G from T-Mobile
In T-Mobile, the 5G network can be used by individual customers of any tariff plans offered since September 2019 and business customers of MagentaBIZNES tariffs. Access to the 5G network in T-Mobile is currently completely free of charge, and additionally, in the case of MagentaBIZNES plans, the data transmission speed limits are abolished. At the moment, 5G in T-Mobile network is available to residents of Warsaw and its surroundings, Łódź, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław, Płock, Opole, Częstochowa, Rzeszów, Bielsko-Biała, Kielce and the Upper Silesian Industrial Region. The operator communicates that by the end of June this year 6 million people in 46 cities and towns throughout Poland will be covered by the technology. T-Mobile stresses that with the development of 5G, dedicated offers for the new technology will be created.
5G from Play
P4 launched the 5G network in the 2 100 MHz band in February 2020, but did not provide the rules for commercial use of this network for several consecutive months. This was connected with obtaining UKE’s consent for the official launch of the service. Ultimately, the commercial offer for the new technology was presented by the operator on a par with T-Mobile on 9 June 2020. P4 communicates that 4.5 million Poles are within the reach of its 5G. 5G in the Play network is available for customers of new dedicated M, L and Homebox subscriptions, i.e. starting from PLN 55 (after discounts). The operator also plans to add 5G to selected groups of existing individual and business customers using tariffs introduced in June 2019 and beyond.
5G in the 2.1 and 2.6 GHz bands is a marketing decoy
However, the launched 5G networks in the 2 100 and 2 600 MHz frequencies are still only a substitute for this technology, compared to the so-called C-band, which is fully valuable for providing fifth generation services. They are characterized by practically similar data transfer speeds, which in the case of LTE-Advanced standard, which is a bridge between 4G and 5G and which Poles have been experiencing in practice for some time. 5G in the 2 100 and 2 600 MHz bands is therefore mainly of marketing and visual importance. It is mainly about drawing customers’ attention to the technological capabilities of the network, its flexibility and keeping up with the dynamic progress of digital infrastructure. It is an additional loyalty factor for mobile subscribers. It seems that in pandemic conditions the message is stronger – in case of another lockdown, 5G network availability shows the commitment of operators to provide users with adequate network capacity parameters. The implementation of 5G on the frequencies of 2 100 and 2 600 MHz allows also, in a way, to achieve the intermediate target of the Ministry of Digitization and the European Commission, which assumes commercial implementation of the 5G network in at least one Polish city by the end of 2020. This is assuming that the 5G auction will not take place this year.