5G. Altice says that "it is unacceptable" that Anacom "has withheld" request for clarification from Brussels

Altice Portugal considered this Thursday “inadmissible” that the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (Anacom) “withheld” a request for clarification from the European Commission on the coverage conditions of new entrants and national roaming in the 5G auction.

Executive President of Altice Portugal, Alexandre Fonseca | Photo courtesy

“It is with great amazement and with immense concern that Altice Portugal is aware of the existence of a letter sent by the European Commission to Anacom, […] since it is not part of the 5G administrative process, whose access was required” to the regulator by the owner of Meo, he told Lusa official source.

"Likewise, that process does not include any possible response given by Anacom to the concerns identified by the European Commission", adds the company.

For Altice Portugal, “it is now very clear, in fact, it is definitive, that the European Commission fully shares Altice Portugal's doubts and concerns regarding the way the 5G regulation illegally biases the auction in favor of new entrants, creating preferential conditions regarding coverage and access obligations to existing networks through national roaming, in an excessive and unjustified way ”.

“It is unacceptable to have withheld such relevant information from companies and industry in the telecommunications sector, as well as certainly from public-government institutions and entities, considering the impact that the omission of these elements of the 5G administrative process may have, in addition to others, in terms of transparency in the conduct of said dossier ”, points out Altice Portugal.
“There is an urgent need to ascertain responsibilities, by those entitled to, and to draw the necessary conclusions due to the lack of transparency, through this concealment of information, perhaps premeditated”, considers the owner of Meo.

“In this process led by the regulator”, accuses Altice Portugal, “the lack of rigor and transparency is once again demonstrated, as well as the fragility of conducting a process of this dimension where the negative impacts are already being felt in a very visible way. for the electronic communications sector, for the economy and for the country ”.

In the letter sent to the president of the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (Anacom), dated 22 October, to which Lusa had access, the director general of DG CONNECT (director general for communications networks, content and technology), Roberto Viola, take advantage of the “opportunity to request clarification regarding” the conditions of the 5G auction, at the time still in draft decision.
“In particular, it is my understanding that the conditions of the auction project establish a 10-year national 'roaming' obligation with the possibility of extending beyond this term”, says Roberto Viola.

In this sense, "I would like to know how you justify the scope of the national 'roaming' obligation in terms of its duration and possible extension in the light of the principle of proportionality", asks the head of the European Commission.

"In addition, I would also like to know what are the criteria on the basis of which this obligation can be extended, how the possibility of extension guarantees legal certainty for the recipients and beneficiaries of this obligation and the application of Article 52 (2) of the Code European Electronic Communications ”, he continues.

The director-general of DG CONNECT also stresses that the conditions of the auction project "do not provide minimum coverage requirements for potential new entrants to benefit from national roaming".

In any case, he adds, “coverage obligations for new entrants are limited to 25%, to be reached by the end of 2023 and 2025, and are established in relation to highways, main roads and rail networks, but without obligation coverage in relation to the total population ”.

In view of this, the director general of DG CONNECT questions how “it justifies the proposal for a national roaming obligation, in combination with the provisions related to coverage, as proportional to promote effective competition, to ensure the efficient use of spectrum and foster technological innovation and investments ”.

Regarding the 25% discount on the final spectrum price for new entrants (which was in the draft decision), Brussels asks how that number was "calculated".

Although this discount was removed from the final regulation of the 5G auction, released by Anacom on November 05, some of the issues raised by Brussels are at the heart of the conflict between telecommunications operators and the regulator, namely national roaming and obligations coverage for new entrants.

The final regulation, which was approved by determination of Anacom on 30 October

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