WARSAW, April 28 (Reuters) - Poland will have to re-launch the process of allocating 5G spectrum, suspended earlier this month due to the coronavirus, to avoid the threat of legal challenges and after changes to its telecoms law to beef up security, officials said on Tuesday. The original documentation for the process did not allow the regulator to change the deadline for firms to submit preliminary offers, leaving it open to legal action if it were to continue in its current form, the digital ministry said in a statement.
Poland and other countries are preparing to introduce 5G networks offering data speeds up to 50 to 100 times faster than current networks, but many frequency tenders have already been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Polish telecoms regulator had originally sought preliminary offers by April 23 from companies interested in acquiring spectrum via an auction process, but scrapped that deadline as the government introduced lockdown measures to deal with the pandemic.
On Tuesday the government published a draft bill introducing changes to the telecommunications law along with measures aimed at reducing the impact of the pandemic.
The digital ministry said the 5G auction would have to be re-launched also due to the planned introduction of additional security requirements. It did not give further details.
“The government’s intention is to introduce a commercially functioning fifth generation (5G) network to Poland as soon as possible and meet the deadlines set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Therefore, with regard to the possible consequences, as well as the above-mentioned safety issues, it was decided to repeat the entire procedure,” it added. (Reporting by Anna Koper; Editing by Jan Harvey)