Yesterday the regulator had not confirmed the news that it would start today the bidding for the acquisition of the necessary licenses so that operators can advance with fifth generation mobile services, the 5G, which will bring greater speed and less latency, as well as access to advanced services for industry and mobility.
Today, on a short note, Anacom confirmed that the bidding phase has already started, without advancing much more information, not least because the rules of the tender require reservation of information.
“Under the terms of n.the 9 and 10 of article 19 of Regulation no. 987-A / 2020, of November 5, the following information is published: On December 22, 2020, the bidding phase for new entrants to the auction for the allocation of rights to use frequencies in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands “, can be read on the market regulator’s website.
The published information also indicates that 6 rounds of bidding took place and that the prices of lots in each category, after the last round, are 30 million euros for the 900 MHz band and 6.44 million for the 1800 MHz band .
These values correspond only to four of the lots foreseen in the auction, one of 2x5MHz in the spectrum band of 900 MHz and 3 of 2x5MHz in 1800 MHz.
Auction to be worth 237.9 million euros
The basic bid prices had been set in February, with the proposed regulation, and were maintained with the presentation of the final regulation in December. Operators say it is a high value, but Anacom’s president considers the values fair.
“WE WILL CONSIDER THIS PRICE TO BE QUITE ADJUSTED FOR THE AUCTION, AT THE 700 MHZ RANGE, AND THE 3.6 GHZ, WHERE THE FINAL PRICE IN PORTUGAL IS VERY LOWER THAN THE AVERAGE OF THE BOOKING PRICES IN EUROPE AND IN THE ANNOUNCED AFTER 2018”, EXPLAINED DURING THE CONFERENCE.
Cadete de Matos defended that this is the auction with the largest amount of spectrum in Europe, and that the objective is not the financial fit but the competitive development of services that satisfy the needs of consumers and all entrepreneurs.
It is recalled that the auction project sets the reserve price of the spectrum at 237.9 million euros, adding up all the spectrum bands that are made available. For 700 MHz alone, Anacom plans to allocate six lots of 2 x 5 MHz worth 19.20 million euros each, totaling 115.20 million euros. For the 3.6 GHz band, it is considered that 40 lots of 10 MHz will be available for a total value of approximately 45 million euros.
Open crisis with challenge to the regulation
The criticisms that the communications operators made to the draft auction regulation rose in tone with the release of the final regulation, and several accusations were made in an unprecedented tone in the telecommunications market, threats of freezing investments and court cases to curb the application , but the auction ended up moving forward.
Despite maintaining the price, Anacom introduced greater flexibility in the payment of the spectrum, with 50% deferred payment. Initially, a deferral of 1/3 of the amount was foreseen, which was included in the initial proposal of the regulation. The regulator states that “the deferral of payment of half the final price of all frequency bands and the staggering of the deferred payment for a greater number of years is allowed. The term of the deposit to be submitted by the candidates was also shortened, with a view to reducing your burden “.
Coverage obligations are also one of the factors highlighted. Anacom stresses that they are in accordance with the Government’s definitions, defined in the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 7-A / 2020, for which they were adjusted. Operators now have to cover, by the end of 2023, 75% of the population and 95%, by 2025, in low density areas, and in the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. João Cadete de Matos again stressed the importance of national roaming agreements for guaranteeing these coverages, and for investment sharing between operators.
Despite maintaining the goal of covering two cities, one on the coast and one in the countryside, João Cadete de Matos admits that due to the pandemic it will not be possible to meet this goal this year, but points out that there are several tests underway that will allow this launch quickly.
With the approval of the regulation, Anacom updates the calendar for the auction, predicting that the procedures will be concluded during the first quarter of 2021. João Cadete de Matos says that he considers it possible to close the procedures in January 2021, and that after being assigned licenses operators can advance with services.
Editorial Note: The news has been updated with more information. Last updated