Telecoms want ANACOM changes

 In ANACOM, News, Telecoms

Portugal’s large telecoms operators MEO (Altice Portugal), NOS and Vodafone have said they want the next president of the current regulator ANACOM to be more aligned with their interests.

This was the idea transmitted at the sector’s largest conference which took place in Lisbon when the CEOs of the main operators called on the Government to change the style of leadership at ANACOM after the companies and regulator was in virtual open war over the licensing and competitive auctions for 5G in 2020 and 2021 which at one point threatened the rollout of 5G in Portugal.
The big three that dominate the telecoms market in Portugal have not been happy with the way ANACOM has supervised the market over the past six years and with the terms of both the president and vice-president coming to an end, the operators have called for a new leadership at the regulator that is more open to negotiations.
When asked what they expected from the next president of ANACOM during the conference, who will have to be a woman to meet equality of sex rules, they asked for new regulations more in line with the interests of companies (meaning the interests of the big three which have a monopoly of the market in Portugal), but also sustainability.
“I think we need less ego and more lego in regulation”, said Ana Figueiredo, CEO of Altice Portugal which owns the band MEO.
Miguel Almeida and Luís Lopes, respectively leaders of NOS and Vodafone, said they wanted ANACOM to be more open to dialogue with sector companies, an opinion that was backed up by the minister of Infrastructures, João Galamba.
Because of the ongoing ‘war’ between ANACOM and the main telecoms companies, ANACOM and its president João Cadete de Matos did not attend the conference.
João Cadete de Matos believes that board position candidates on regulators such as ANACOM, should be able to stand for posts, including that of the president, and not just be appointed.
He argues that members of the board should be appointed through public competition and said: “I believe that this would be the best way to find candidates with a willingness to serve the country”.
In October 2022 the regulator ANACOM was “at war” with the three companies that dominate Portugal’s mobile phone market, also coming under fire from the government over a 5G auction that dragged on for months with no end in sight.
Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the auction of several spectrum lots was eventually launched by ANACOM in January, despite legal challenges from major players who say the rules unfairly favour new entrants.
The regulator allowed operators to raise their bids by just 1% above rival offers, creating a drawn-out process of incremental increases.
Recognising a “very slow evolution,” ANACOM changed the rules to require a minimum increase of 3% to speed up the process.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa then blamed ANACOM for causing a “huge delay” to Portugal’s 5G progress saying: “We all agree the auction model that ANACOM has invented is obviously the worst possible.”

Photo: Lusa – José Sena Gulão