While Orange remains the dominant operator in Poland as far as our awards table is concerned, T-Mobile is now not far behind it with three outright wins to Orange’s four. In addition, Orange still commands impressive margins of victory in terms of Download Speed Experience and 4G Availability, but those for Video Experience and 4G Coverage Experience are vulnerable should the runner-up for these awards — T-Mobile and Plus, respectively — choose to make a determined push.
Given that 4G Availability scores have fallen across all four operators since our last report it is likely that many of our Polish users are spending their time in more different locations than they did pre-COVID 19. For download speeds to have increased across the board by 0.8-3.9 Mbps in the middle of a pandemic that has adversely affected the mobile experience is impressive and is a testament to the work all four operators have done during this period in response to the crisis.
Play is still rolling out its network and is still relying on national roaming on T-Mobile & Orange to some extent. It expects to have 9,500 base stations by the end of 2021.
One factor that will serve to boost the Polish mobile network experience going forward is 5G rollout given that Plus, Orange and T-Mobile all launched 5G services during the summer. However, they’ve had to do so without mid-band spectrum given that an auction of spectrum in the 3.4GHz-3.8GHz range has been delayed until late this year or early in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While our users observed increases in their average overall download speeds across all four operators, a different story emerges when we consider the 3G and 4G experience separately. Our users’ average 4G download speeds increased by 0.4-0.7 Mbps more than their overall speeds, but their average 3G download speed declined across the board. T-Mobile saw the largest drop in its 3G Download Speed score — a fall of 1.2 Mbps (24.1%), while Plus was not far behind with a drop of 1 Mbps (19.8%). Orange and Play saw more modest drops of 0.6 Mbps (13.4%) and 0.3 Mbps (7.8%), respectively.
Another big development in the Polish mobile market was the news that Iliad has been given clearance to buy a 40% stake in Play. Given Iliad’s efforts to disrupt the French and Italian markets through competitive pricing it will be interesting to see what further changes this may bring.
In this report, we've analyzed the mobile network experience of Poland’s four national operators — Orange, Play, Plus and T-Mobile, — in the 90 days starting August 1, 2020, to see how they measure up. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each metric.