0. Executive Summary

Radio spectrum is a public resource available in all countries, and subject to the necessary safeguards, it may be used to improve the efficiency and productivity of the country, as well as to help improving the quality of life for citizens.

The increasing use of radiocommunications by means of radio spectrum, in particular due to the gradual need for mobility, as well as opportunities which this use may generate for the development of society, emphasises the relevance for each country of an effective spectrum management system.

In accordance with the Statutes of ANACOM, approved by Decree-Law No. 39/2015, of 16 March 2015, and with the Electronic Communications Law, it is incumbent on ANACOM to «ensure an effective management of radio spectrum, involving the planning, allocation and monitoring of spectrum resources, and the coordination between civil, military and paramilitary radiocommunications».

This national Strategic Spectrum Plan (SSP) follows on a public consultation on the strategic guidelines governing ANACOM’s 2015-2017 Multi-Annual Activities Plan, the final version of which integrated, in the scope of the strategic pillar “To ensure an efficient management of public resources”, a new strand of action - the SSP. It should be noted that this strand of action has also been specified in ANACOM’s 2016-2018 Multi-Annual Activities Plan.

The SSP primarily aims at establishing strategic guidelines for making frequencies available for radio services/applications of a civil scope, meeting spectrum requirements and the specificities of each service/application. The matters addressed here do not imply any immediate amendment to the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP), affecting bands, services or applications; on the contrary, the SPP is designed to address key issues, cutting across all radio spectrum bands, in order to explore a strategic approach to spectrum planning. As such, the SSP is without prejudice to the adoption of autonomous actions deemed to be required and appropriate in specific fields, in accordance with legally applicable procedural requirements (for example, general consultation procedure and/or prior hearing procedure) where amendments to the NFAP are concerned.

We are inevitably moving towards an increasingly shared use of radio spectrum, taking account of requirements of services expected to be provided in the future and of the lack of exclusive frequencies that could be available. This means that the increasing and intensive use of radio spectrum in a variety of sectors, with direct implications on the economy, security, health, culture, science or even on environment, makes it impracticable for frequency bands to be identified for the exclusive use of each radiocommunications service supporting the various sectors of society, and consequently there is a pressing need for innovative and ever more efficient radio spectrum-sharing techniques.

It should also be noted that an extended harmonization in the use of radio frequencies, at worldwide level wherever possible, would also be desirable, as it would bring about greater efficiency in the use of the scarce resource that spectrum is, with the consequent reduction of costs of equipment and services to be provided to consumers.

It is also relevant to opt for measures that enable the creation of competitive markets, contributing to improved sector dynamics, with direct repercussions on innovation and national economy and, consequently, bringing clear benefits for consumers.

Last but not least, notwithstanding the support to several initiatives focusing on the harmonization in the use of radio spectrum, it is crucial and complementary to encourage flexibility in the use of frequencies. In other words, it is very important to promote measures designed to implement the principles of technological and service neutrality, in order to expand technical and commercial options available on the market, thus making it more versatile and attractive for stakeholders.

Given the dynamic and evolving nature of the use and management of spectrum, it is deemed appropriate to review SSP on a regular basis, to the extent that any event at national, regional and/or international level arises (for example, after World Radiocommunications Conferences1 of the International Telecommunication Union - ITU - are held, which occurs every three or four years), affecting spectrum management and outlined strategy.

1 World Radiocommunications Conferences fall within the scope of ITU, the United Nations specialised agency for telecommunications and information and communication technologies. These Conferences are charged with the review of the Radio Regulations (RR), an international treaty signed by Portugal which governs, in a regulatory and technical perspective, the use of radio spectrum and satellite orbits, as well as other radiocommunications issues of a global interest.