Poland is a member of European Union and most of the huge European mobile carriers work there too. Mobile communication protocols are also the same as in other European countries. Mobile phones use GSM 900/1800 standard with 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies. That is why if you have an American phone — it won't work there. USA uses GSM 850/1900 standard with 850/1900 MHz frequency.
There are two options for mobile phone users in Poland. You can have prepaid or post-paid account. Prepaid account is a useful solutions for those, who doesn't want to sign a contract with a mobile carrier or for people, that do not need a mobile phone for long calls, but just to stay in touch. All that you'll need to use that option is a GSM 900/1800 cell phone and a SIM card, which can be found in special shops. Than just activate your SIM card with a call. The most convenient thing with that option is that fact that foreigners are not obliged to show any papers and it is the only option available for tourists.
The main benefit of the post-paid option is the fact that you'll never find yourself in a situation when you don't have enough money on your account to make a call. But there are a couple of disadvantages, as well. First of all you will have to sign at least 12 month contract and you will have to pay your bills monthly. Also, foreigners will have to pass through a rather complicated procedure to sign a contract – one will have to provide your visa, credit card, job permissions and other papers. Also, if you are a tourist – you may have only a prepaid account.
The major mobile carriers in Poland are T-Mobile, Orange Polska, Play and Plus. They cover almost 100% of the country and we can guarantee that you won't face any reception problems in Poland. Also, you should remember that mobile carriers often provide discounts for calls inside their own network, so if you have friends there – it would be wiser to use the same carrier they do.
Now a couple of words on mobile Internet. First of all 3G is rather cheap in Poland. It uses the same 2100 MHz frequency, as in USA. There are two options for mobile Internet users, they are the same as for mobile phones. 4G networks are also growing in Poland. 4G can be found in major cities, such as Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice and others. They run LTE standard, which has 725 MHz frequency.
Also, Wi-Fi networks are popular in Poland. Wi-Fi hotspots can be found almost everywhere, in cafes, cinemas, parks. Those public hotspots are totally free, except those installed in restaurants and cafes, they may charge you a small fee (about 0,5 Euro/hour). But you should be really careful, as long as Wi-Fi networks are rather vulnerable, public hotspots may be used to steal your personal data. Sometimes, evildoers can even create their own Wi-Fi networks to steal users' traffic.
Well, those are the most common mobile communications and Internet standards in Poland. If you are planning your journey to Poland – keep in mind that your ordinary cell phone won;t work there, get a GSM 900/1800 MHz device!