Play’s acquisition of UPC Poland will strengthen its convergence strategy, says GlobalData

Following the news that iliad Group’s Polish telecom operator, Play, will acquire Liberty Global’s UPC Poland telco for PLN7.0bn ($1.8bn);

Madison Galati, Telecoms Market Data & Intelligence Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“The acquisition of UPC Poland will strengthen Play’s standing in the fixed broadband segment, allowing Play to own its fixed infrastructure and open up more convergent, cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

“Play is a challenger operator in Poland with good standing in the mobile market (23% market share in 2021) but offers limited fixed broadband through an agreement with local cable provider Vectra. In July 2019, Play and Vectra signed an agreement that allowed Play to utilize Vectra’s network to provide fixed broadband cable lines to Play’s customers.

“Play’s acquisition opens up further potential to provide fixed services with UPC Poland as the second-largest operator (holding a 16.3% market share in 2021) in the fixed broadband segment. In June 2021, UPC Poland had 1.3 million fixed internet customers and its fixed broadband network passed 3.7 million households.

“By acquiring UPC Poland, Play will be able to tap into UPC Poland’s existing fixed subscribers and fixed network, as well as pursue a convergence strategy by bundling mobile, fixed and pay-TV services.

“Total telecom and pay-TV service revenues in Poland will grow from $8.5bn in 2021 to $11bn by 2026, supported by growth across fixed broadband, mobile data and pay-TV. Play’s move to bolster its fixed broadband offerings allows the operator to tap into the segment’s growth. The fixed broadband segment will grow at the fastest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9% over 2021-2026, driven by growing broadband average revenue by user (ARPU) and increasing fiber to the home (FTTH/B) subscriptions on the back of ongoing coverage expansion.”

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