Government considering dismissing ANACOM board

 In News, Regulators and Supervisors, Telecoms

The Portuguese Government is under pressure from the main opposition PDS party to dismiss the board of ANACOM, the regulator for the telecommunications sector in Portugal.

The reason? A stalemate in the frosty relations with the large market players Nos, Altice and Vodafone over the current slow pace of the 5G auctions which is threatening to delay Portugal’s take-up of 5G technology.
Prime Minister António Costa attacked ANACOM in the Portuguese parliament for not completing the auctions while the PSD candidate for the leadership, Paulo Rangel is now calling on the prime minister to put his money where his mouth is by dismissing the ANACOM’s board.
In Parliament, the prime minister severely criticised the regulator led by João Cadete de Matos, saying that ANACOM had “invented the worst possible auction model for 5G ever” which was “holding the country’s development back”.
The big three, who say they have too much more in Portugal’s telecom’s infrastructure to allow new entrants to come in and benefit from their investment, are now dragging their heels in the auction making it take months in protest.
ANACOM, on the other hand, says it wants to avoid a monopoly or cartel of just big players and wants to open up the market to more competition which its says will improve coverage and service for customers and at more competitive prices.
But António Costa says that ANACOM has “designed an auction for frequencies that never seems to end.”
“Whoever (at ANACOM) designed this absolutely extraordinary doctrine whereby it feels it has to limit the powers of governments to give power to the regulatory entities should think again on this example of a 5G auction to see if it really is a good model of economic governance for the future.”
The prime minister went on to say that Portugal’s RRP programme foresees that 5G will arrive in the interior at the same time that the market has to bring 5G into high population density areas.
The 5G auction began at the end of 2020 with an exclusive phase for “new market players”. In January the first phase of the auction began which 10 months down the line is still ongoing after 200 days of bidding.