The Board of Directors of ICP-ANACOM has approved the 2007 version of the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP). The new plan, which is currently undergoing public consultation, makes a range of important changes to the previous version.
Within a framework of progressively adopting the principles of technological neutrality, the compulsory use of the 900 MHz band for GSM technology has been abolished, allowing the spectrum to be used more efficiently, especially with respect to UMTS technology. As well as efficiency gains, this change is also expected to lead to wider coverage and ultimately to benefits for final consumers.
NFAP 2007 includes a sounding out of the market as to possible expressions of interest in the use of the part of the spectrum with frequency bands reserved for use by terrestrial mobile services (450 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands), while maintaining a perspective of technological neutrality.
Additionally, the new version ends the provision which previously reserved the GSM spectrum in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands for current operators of terrestrial mobile services where such operators could demonstrate necessity. This part of the spectrum is now included for purposes of expression of interest. This approach allows an assessment of whether this part of the spectrum should remain reserved for allocation to current operators, or whether it should be made available to the market in accordance with the condition set out by the Electronic Communications Law.
The 2007 version of NFAP updates the information on the reserved frequency bands that are to be made available this year, most importantly for terrestrial television broadcasting (DVB-T). Is should be noted that the frequency bands (channels) reserved for this service have been indicated, although the allocation and usage model is still being defined.
The new version goes on to introduce revisions that update the information on usage with reference to 30 November 2006 (e.g. rectification of the number of FWA blocks in use and their respective use; revision of the number of channels in use by fixed point-to-point services, Sound Radio Broadcasting and use by fixed satellite service, GMPCS, AES and Amateur Service). It also updates the section on spectrum use that is exempt from radio licensing.
Finally, it can be seen in the section of the NFAP on the frequency band reservation for each year that, as a rule, the process of spectrum allocation is performed according to full access. This allows for more rapid access by spectrum users, maximising the benefit for consumers, promoting competition and making a contribution to the development of the market.
Due to the significant impact that this document will have on the market, it is subject to the general public consultation procedure. A period of 20 working days (ending on 10 April 2007) has been set aside for this process, during which all interested parties can comment.
The adoption and annual publication of the NFAP is governed by the Electronic Communications Law. Under the terms of this law ANACOM is given the remit, within the general scope of spectrum management, to plan frequency use in line with the following criteria: a) availability of the radio spectrum; b) guarantee of conditions for effective competition in the relevant markets and c) effective and efficient use of frequencies.
> Consultation on NFAP 2007 http://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1071344