Coverage obligations in 480 Portuguese parishes lacking mobile broadband
What coverage obligations did ANACOM impose on mobile operators?
In allocating rights of use of frequencies, ANACOM has imposed specific obligations on mobile operators in order to increase levels of broadband coverage, focusing on the provision of mobile broadband services in 480 parishes identified as ''tending to lack mobile broadband''.
As a result of the Multiband Auction, MEO, NOS and Vodafone Portugal, as holders of rights of use in the 800 MHz frequency band, were individually obliged to cover 160 parishes each.
Which parishes were identified and which mobile operators are responsible for their coverage?
A list of the 480 parishes identified as tending to lack mobile broadband is published on ANACOM's website, with indication of the operator required to provide coverage in each: List of parishes, by operator.
What is the deadline for operators to comply with coverage obligations?
Mobile operators are required to provide coverage of 480 parishes identified as tending to lack mobile broadband within a period of 6 months (50% of parishes) and 1 year (100% of parishes) from the ending of existing technical operation restrictions in the 800 MHz Frequencies, i.e. no later than 10 September 2016 and 10 March 2017, respectively.
What does ensuring coverage of parishes identified ''as tending to lack mobile broadband'' entail?
According to the terms governing allocation of rights of use of frequencies, parishes are considered as having coverage where the vicinity of the parish council is covered by at least one mobile broadband service at a speed (data transmission speed) duly established by ANACOM.
However, this does not mean that coverage will be limited to the vicinity of the parish council, i.e., access to mobile broadband. Because of the frequency used and the greater propagation of the radio signal (compared to other frequencies currently used by operators), the area covered will not be limited to the vicinity of each parish council - the surrounding population will also benefit.
How were the 480 parishes ''without mobile broadband'' identified?
In identifying the parishes covered by the coverage obligations, ANACOM considered parishes as ''tending to lack mobile broadband coverage'' as those where the vicinity of the parish council was not covered or had a very low level of coverage for the provision of Mobile broadband services.
Accordingly, these 480 parishes were identified on the assumption there was no installed base station within a distance of 5.2 km from the parish council office providing mobile UMTS coverage in the 2.1 GHz frequency band. More details on the methodology used are given in ANACOM's decision of 9 November 2012https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1143329 on the list of parishes lacking mobile broadband coverage.
It should be noted that these parishes were identified on the basis of the nomenclature and administrative boundaries specified in the CAOP - Carta Administrativa Oficial de Portugal (Official Administrative Map of Portugal) of 2011, which will also be used to assess compliance with the coverage obligations while the corresponding rights of use of frequencies are in force.
What are data transmission speeds (reference speeds)?
Data transmission speeds (reference speeds) - i.e. download speeds - are the speeds associated with the mobile broadband service which the operator is required to make available, as a minimum, at the vicinity of the parish council covered by its mobile broadband coverage obligations. The methodology used to establish and review the reference speeds (review every two years) was established by ANACOM determination of 21 March 2014.
What are the data transmission speeds (reference speeds) in force?
The reference speed associated with the coverage obligations to which each company is subject in the 800 MHz frequency band is established by ANACOM determination of 21 March 2014, as follows:
a) 43.2 Mbps for MEO;
b) 4.0 Mbps for NOS;
c) 7.2 Mbps for Vodafone Portugal.
The revision of these reference speeds will occur for the first time in 2018 and then every two years.