/ Updated on 22.07.2014

Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) is the Portuguese regulatory authority responsible for regulating postal and electronic communications. It has the following responsibilities:

1 - Regulation: to guarantee that communications operators have access to networks according to conditions of transparency and equality; to promote competitively and development in communications markets, particularly in the context of converging telecommunications, media and information technologies; to grant rights for the exercise of postal and telecommunications activities; to undertake management of the radio spectrum, guaranteeing coordination between civil, military and paramilitary communications, and also to manage numbering in the communications sector.

2 - Supervision: to ensure application and enforcement of the laws, regulations and technical requirements applicable in the context of its responsibilities, and to ensure that communications operators comply with the provisions of respective licences or concession contracts; to guarantee the existence and availability of a universal communications service, ensuring that the obligations of the service are fulfilled; to ensure the proper use of allocated spectrum and numbering resources; to protect the interests of consumers, especially of users of the universal service, coordinating with other competent bodies and by working specifically to ensure that consumers are properly informed.

3 - Representation of the communications sector: to provide technical representation of the Portuguese State at international counterpart bodies, accompany the activities of similar regulatory authorities and foreign experience in regulating communications, in addition to establishing relations with other regulatory bodies; to collaborate with other public and private entities in promoting scientific research applied to telecommunications, and in the national and international promotion of the sector; to promote technical standardisation, in collaboration with other organisations, in the communications sector and related fields; to collaborate in defining civil emergency planning policies for the communications sector, providing technical support to the bodies and services responsible for establishing and operating the integrated emergency communications network; to ensure that studies are carried out in the areas of postal communications and telecommunications; and to undertake projects in the context of promoting access to the information and knowledge society.

To fulfil its responsibilities, it is incumbent upon ANACOM to:

  • assist the Government, both upon request and upon its own initiative, in the definition of strategic guidelines and general policies for communications and as regards the activities of communications operators, suggesting or proposing legislative or policy measures on issues related to its responsibilities, and to participate in the overall strategic definition of communications development, particularly in the context of convergence, undertaking such studies as deemed necessary;
  • prepare regulations, as provided for by law and when shown to be necessary for the exercise of its responsibilities, to conduct procedures of public consultation and manifestations of interest, particularly with regard to the introduction of new services or technologies;
  • allocate spectrum and numbering resources;
  • coordinate with the responsible authority in the application of competition law in the communications sector;
  • assess the conformity of equipment and materials, and define the requirements necessary for their public sale;
  • arbitrate and resolve disputes that arise in the context of communications.

The efficient accomplishment of its incumbent responsibilities and the specific nature of the communications sector, with the impact of constant innovation, make it necessary for ANACOM to be equipped with wide-ranging normative powers, making it an effective authority for the regulation and supervision of communications. As such, in addition to issuing individual and specific binding acts and formulating concrete recommendations, instigating and accompanying legal proceedings and punishing infractions covered by its jurisdiction, overseeing compliance with laws and regulations applicable to the communications sector and overseeing the activity of entities subject to its supervision, as well as overseeing the functioning of the communications market, ANACOM may issue regulations as deemed necessary for the exercise of its functions.

Further to this framework of responsibilities, subsequent to Decree-Law no. 7/2004 of 7 January, which governs certain legal aspects associated with information society services and in particular e-commerce, transposing Directive no. 2000/31/EC of 8 June 2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council, ANACOM has taken on the functions of central supervision entity, with responsibilities in all areas governed by this law, except as otherwise stipulated in specific legislation allocating sectorial competence to other bodies.