After a first phase of the 5G spectrum auction open to operators connected to the telecommunications sector in Portugal, the next phase starts tomorrow, December 22, this time aimed at new entrants to the market, Business advances. Operators hope that the second phase of tenders for the remaining frequencies will start on January 4th of next year, considering that on December 24th and 31st there is a bridge tolerance for civil servants.
SAPO TEK asked Anacom for clarification on the advanced news, but the regulator had no information to give, stressing that it was alien to it. Business, on the other hand, says that Anacom is bound by secrecy throughout the process.
João Cadete de Matos, during the parliamentary committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, within the scope of a hearing on the regulation of the 5G auction, at the request of the CDS-PP, stressed that the auction was taking place according to calendar, now in the bidding phase. Bids have two phases: one for new entrants and the other main. “We expect that during the month of January, depending on the number of rounds, the auction will be concluded,” he added, noting that during the first quarter licenses will be awarded.
Although the three main operators participated in the auction, the contestations against the regulation never stopped by the companies. Alexandre Fonseca, CEO of Altice Portugal, accuses Anacom of creating “utopian” regulations and points out the project’s illegalities. At stake are the conditions defined for the auction, which provide for a 25% discount on the spectrum price purchased by new companies in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, with no obligations for coverage and network development as a counterpart.
The other controversy concerns national roaming, in which new entrants can have access to the networks of operators already installed, regardless of the spectrum they acquire, valid for a 10-year period.
So far it is known that the Spanish MásMóvil is interested in entering the 5G auction through Nowo, looking to invest in a new fiber optic network. The telecommunications group has already advanced with a project in Lisbon and Porto, which considers the two priority markets “with strong investments that will increase Nowo’s competitiveness”.
Dense Air Portugal, the operator that provides extension and densification services for mobile networks, has a license for the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) band, obtained in 2010, necessary for the development of 5G, with the Anacom regulator proposing the reconfiguration and relocation this track. The company has the spectrum reserved until 2025, but it also needs to go to auction to maintain or increase the amount of network. Operators consider Anacom’s decision to keep the frequency in the hands of Dense Air illegal, after being reconfigured to enter the auction. Operators argue that this license on usage rights expired in 2012 and should have already been recovered, says Negócios.
It should be remembered that during this week Vodafone and NOS will return to Parliament to discuss 5G, maintaining their position on the regulation being discriminatory for incumbent operators, against those who are about to enter the market. Anacom’s president and the Competition Authority were also heard, followed by APDC. The government, through the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, expressed solidarity with Anacom and with the regulation for the 5G auction. His words reinforce the statement by the president of Anacom, who at the parliamentary hearing stated that the conditions of the 5G auction process “are perfectly articulated with European rules”.