This section of the report provides detailed information on the various activities undertaken by ICP-ANACOM in the pursuit of its function of supervising and monitoring the market; it also looks at the measures taken to rectify detected irregularities, with the aim of improving the market's functioning, in terms of relationships between operators, ensuring the existence of open and competitive markets, and also with a view to assuring the interests of consumers and citizens in general.
With its supervisory activity and its monitoring of the market, the regulator also creates conditions to improve its capacity to act and, consequently, its levels of efficiency.
This section outlines the various measures undertaken in the area of supervision, including matters related to: (i) complaints; (ii) the inspection of operators and service providers, of infrastructure and of equipment; (iii) monitoring and control of the spectrum, as well as monitoring of information given by providers on their websites and on the levels of quality they offer; (iv) breach proceedings; (v) the resolution of conflicts between operators/providers; (vi) monitoring the market, including through studies, such as on quality of service (universal service is covered under objective 2), studies on the factors that influence operator switching, or on retail offers, and others.
Statistics on the use of complaint books 1 show that, among the different sectors at national level, the electronic communications sector has one of the highest levels of conflict. This conflict stems from a market characterised by (a) a significant number of service provider outlets among the population; (b) a proliferation of electronic communications products and services at retail level; (c) a multiplicity of technologies supporting the different services, as well as the rapid evolution of these technologies; and (d) a growing awareness among users as to their rights and as to available means of reaction.
In many cases, users complain to ICP-ANACOM believing that the regulator can resolve their conflict with the service provider when, by law, this Authority is not able to intervene directly in such conflicts and may not impose any obligation on a service provider in respect of specific users. ICP-ANACOM's role is in most cases informative - providing users with information as to the scope of its powers and responsibilities, information on acquiring and using services and on the avenues available to users to resolve conflicts. However, whenever evidence of irregularities is found in the analysis of a complaint, ICP-ANACOM may investigate and sanction the behaviour in question and, where there is good reason, adopt regulatory measures to prevent its occurrence.
In this context, complaints which arrive at ICP-ANACOM provide a way of detecting market information requirements and evidence that irregularities may be occurring. If this is the case, investigations are launched to verify whether the situations described in the complaints constitute situations of non-compliance, and where appropriate infringement proceedings are instigated.
But the Regulator's actions in this area do not end here; nor is litigation the only way for resolving such situations. Often, instead of conducting investigations, the Regulator chooses to monitor the issue from a distance, for example, by checking the information provided by the operators on their websites or by sending out surveys or information requests to the operators, which are then analyzed.
These actions are carried out directly where on-the-spot inspections are performed or where mystery shoppers are used, and indirectly when analysis is made of information received from operators or contained on their websites.
Investigations carried out by ICP-ANACOM cover a wide range of issues, ranging from the electronic communications sector to the information society, and encompassing the postal sector, spectrum, equipment, and installation of telecommunications infrastructure in buildings and in urban settlements.
In all these areas, ICP-ANACOM carried out more than one thousand inspections in 2010.
1 Information available at Estatísticas de uso do Livro de Reclamações no segundo semestre de 2008http://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/GC17/Governo/Ministerios/MEI/Documentos/Pages/20090312_MEI_Doc_Livro_Reclamacoes.aspx and at Reclamações e Pedidos de Informação Estatística 2010https://anacom-consumidor.pt/estatisticas-reclamacoes-servicos.
- Trends in complaints https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344361
- Results of the analysis of complaints https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344363
- Consumer Information https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344364
- Inspection and laboratory activities https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344366
- Monitoring activity https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344367
- Orders, recommendations and clarifications https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344368
- Litigation and offences https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344369
- Resolving conflicts between operators/providers https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344370
- Market monitoring https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?categoryId=344371