COVID-19 causes officials to suspend 5G tender

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) has suspended the due date for offers in the tender for four 5G frequency licences while the country is under a state of epidemiological threat.

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) has suspended the due date for offers in the tender for four 5G frequency licences while the country is under a state of epidemiological threat.

Offers for the tender, which had been open since March 6 were due on April 24. Earlier announcements from the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) had suggested that the COVID-19 lockdown would not alter the deadline.

However, in conversation with PolandIN last week digital security expert Sascha Fahrbach of Fudo Security had suggested that, following the example of France, Austria and other countries, Poland might put back the tender.

“It won’t be the end of 5G, but rollout may slow down in the EU and of course in Poland,” said Mr Fahrbach. “Through the current crisis it is hard to predict infrastructure costs. It is also true that many suppliers in Europe rely on China and the future was uncertain to begin with.”

“Domestically without much evidence many consumer initiatives want to stop 5G,” he said, referring to groups who attack the new technology on the grounds of possible threats to health that the use of more antennae entail. No proof has been given to prove these fears are valid.

All four operators had displayed an interest in moving forward with the investment, at a time when the current LTE system is nearing full capacity. The faster data transfer speeds were seen as key to the development of the internet of things, which would accelerate the growth of the high-tech sector.

The government is also dependent on revenue that the tender will bring - worth several billion euro this year alone to state coffers.

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