The most significant alterations relative to the version commented within the scope of the consultation procedure to which the present report refers to, and which ICP-ANACOM introduces in the new draft auctioning regulation placed on public consultation, are the following:
- The auction model changes from sequential, held over various sequences and two rounds, to a simultaneous model held over multiple rounds, with its ascending and open character being maintained;
i. Following the alteration of the model, new essential concepts are introduced explaining its operation and respective rules, such as the eligibility of the bidders, points of eligibility of the lots, rules of activity, waivers and cancellations and respective penalties.
- The spectrum to be provided in 1800 MHz changes from 2 x 30 MHz to 2 x 57 MHz:
i. Following this alteration, category D now has 9 lots of 2 x 5 MHz, and a new category is introduced in the auction composed of 3 lots of 2 x 4 MHz.
ii. The reshuffle of the frequencies in the 1800 MHz band is foreseen, in order to maximise the contiguity of the spectrum allocated, as well as of the spectrum that will possibly not be allocated.
- The reserve prices in the 800 and 1800 MHz bands were altered:
i. In the 800 MHz band, a price of 45 million euros is defined per lot (when 55 million euros had been defined);
ii. In the 1800 MHz band, a price of 4 million euros is defined for each lot of 2 x 5 MHz in substitution of the 3 million euros set in the previous version of the draft regulation;
iii. In addition, ICP-ANACOM sets at 3 million euros the reserve price of lots of the new category D, which includes 3 lots of 2 x 4 MHz in the 1800 MHz band that were not included in the previous draft regulation.
- A new bond model is proposed, with the inclusion of a new annex with drafts of the bond (bank guarantee and deposit insurance), to be used by the applicants to the auction.
- A limit to the allocation of spectrum in 1800 MHz is introduced and the limit that had been set at 2.6 GHz is altered:
i. In 1800 MHz there is now a limit of 2 x 20 MHz (which includes the spectrum already allocated);
ii. In 2.6 MHz the limit changes from 2 x 25 MHz to 2 x 20 MHz.
- The percentage of increments is altered, and its basis of calculation is now the best offer instead of the reserve price;
- In the 900 MHz band, a 20% discount is applied to the final prices of the lots won by bidders that do not hold rights of use of frequencies in the 890 - 915 MHz / 935 - 960 MHz band;
- In the coverage obligation, the number of parishes to be covered by lot (from 60 to 80) is altered and the determination of the maximum debit of the offer is set every two years;
- An obligation of allowing access under non-discriminatory conditions (MVNO agreements, national roaming and access and infrastructure sharing agreements) is introduced, imposed on the holders of 2 x 10 MHz in the 800 MHz frequency band or of at least 2 x 10 MHz in the 900 MHz band (including for the purpose the spectrum already held in this last band). The operators covered by this obligation are bound to accept the following in the negotiation:
i. Agreements that allow their networks to be used for virtual mobile operations of third parties, in the various modes characterised by full MVNO and light MVNO, for the provision of electronic communications services to final users equivalent to those they offer to their own clients by resorting to the frequency bands mentioned;
ii. National roaming agreements with third parties that possess rights of use of frequencies in the bands above 1 GHz and that do not possess rights of use of frequencies over more than 2 x 5 MHz in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands, and that provide services to final users based on the use of their networks in at least 50% of the population;
iii. Access and infrastructure sharing agreements, according to the regime laid out in Decree-Law no. 123/2009, of 21 May, as amended by Decree-Law no. 258/2009, of 25 September.
- The obligation of the start of commercial exploitation of the services in the specific case of the 900 MHz is altered, and for the current holders of the rights of use of frequencies in those bands, it is lowered from 3 years to 1 year;
- The limitation of the transmission of frequencies until 2 years have elapsed from the start of the commercial exploitation of the services is introduced;
- Several deadlines relative to the operation of the auction are altered, namely those set within the following context:
i. Qualification Stage;
ii. Bidding Stage;
iii. Final decision;
iv. Deposit of final amount.
The amendments adopted in the new draft regulation of the auction address several comments subscribed by almost all of the respondents (namely with regards to the minimisation of the risk of exposure and substitution, as well as the duration of periods), and in relation to divergent comments, ICP-ANACOM incorporated those it evaluated as being more in conformity with the objectives to which it is bound by Law.