To assure and protect the rights of users and citizens in general (Objective 2)

ICP-ANACOM undertook a number of key actions to assure and protect the rights of users and citizens in general within the framework of specific measures to protect customers and ensure provision of the Universal Service (US) of electronic communications and postal services.

User protection

Measures were taken to enhance protection of users in the following areas: number portability, international roaming, retail offers, the handling of consumer requests and assistance and communications security.

The application of the Regulamento da Portabilidade (Portability Regulation) brought a significant reduction in the deadlines applying to portability processes. Meanwhile, several actions have been developed in terms of overseeing compliance with existing obligations in the context of portability, with special focus on the causes of failed implementation of portability, deadlines, price transparency and compensation for non-compliance.

In the case of international roaming, with the application of the respective regulation of the European Union (EU), a reduction has been reported in wholesale and retail prices, and ICP-ANACOM has promoted actions to monitor complaints and to enforce obligations of price transparency, making information on the regulation’s implementation available to the public.

In terms of handling consumer requests and assistance, an information campaign was conducted on message-based valued added services (VAS), and ICP-ANACOM approved lines of action arising from the study on the internal procedures followed by providers of electronic communications service when handling complaints.

Important activities were also undertaken in the field of communications security, including assistance provided in the context of emergency services.

These actions were intended to assure a high level of user protection, ensuring that citizens continue to have relevant information on electronic communications and postal services, making them aware of their rights and helping them play an active part in the defence of a more transparent market which is non-discriminatory and socially more responsible. ICP-ANACOM is charged with enacting and promoting this policy of consumer inclusion.

Universal Service (US) of electronic communications

Every year ICP-ANACOM oversees provision of the universal service, monitoring quality of service, the development strategy of public payphones and affordability (residential telephone service at a fixed location (FTS) and public payphones). The aim is to ensure that, in general, citizens have access to the FTS according to appropriate conditions of price, quality and availability.

In 2010, ICP-ANACOM was also engaged in extensive work in two areas related to the US: (i) net costs of universal service provision and (ii) the process of designating the universal service provider (USP).

In terms of the net costs of universal service provision, ICP-ANACOM’s objective is to ensure that the US is provided in a framework of economic rationality and efficiency. In this respect, draft decisions were approved in 2011 on the methodology to be used for calculating the net costs of universal service provision and on the concept of unfair burden. These draft decisions sought to establish the process of calculating the net costs of universal service provision and the designation of provider(s) through a tender and clarify how they will be determined subsequent to the tender.  They also aimed to achieve compliance with the Regulator's obligation to define the concept of "unfair burden".

With regard to the designation of the USP, ICP-ANACOM sent the Government formulated drafts for the rules to govern the tender to designate the provider(s) of the universal service and the respective tender specifications.

Universal Service (US) of postal services

Regulatory action developed in 2010 sought to ensure the USP’s compliance with the obligations to which it was subject, ensuring that the consumer has access to postal services at prices that compare well with European practice.

Accordingly, ICP-ANACOM continued to monitor the prices and quality of service of the US of postal services and monitored the network of postal establishments.