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Portugal restarts multi-band spectrum auction for new entrants

News

The process has been dogged by controversy regarding allegedly 'preferential' terms for new entrants.

Portugal’s National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes, ANACOM) has restarted part of its multi-band spectrum auction which was paused on 23 December – the day after it began.

The auction resumed on 4 January to allocate spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, which have been reserved for new market entrants, to the fury of some incumbents.

At the close of the fourth day of bidding, the 900MHz bids stood at €30 million and 1800MHz bids totalled €14.84 million.

The identities of the new bidders have not been made public in ANACOM’s documentation. Nowo, an MVNO backed by Spain’s MASMOVIL cableco has said it would bid.

Bidding for the highly desirable bands in the 700MHz, 2100MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz range has not restarted.

Under protest

In November, Altice Portugal suspended investments in Portuguese infrastructure in protest at ANACOM's decisions regarding the 5G spectrum auction. It operates under the MEO brand in the country. Vodafone and NOS too have made their unfavourable views clear concerning the regulator's decision to reserve an allocation of spectrum (900MHz/1800MHz) for new entrants which will also have nationwide roaming access for ten years.

New entrant bidders will also less stringent, or in the regulators' words, "differentiated coverage obligations".