Solicitations, claims and disputes

Liberalisation of the communications sector has led to an increased need for information by consumers and other users, reflected in the growing number of information requests addressed to ICP-ANACOM. In 2002 the public attendance service received 26,265 requests, with a large number concerning matters related to personal radio service, amateur service, the numbering plan, private networks and fixed telephone service. Of those requests, 6 percent were claims related to the provision of public use telecommunications services.

The analysis and processing of the 2,894 claims received in 2002 enabled the identification of a set of behaviours that may constitute non-compliance with the obligations set in legislation and regulations applicable to telecommunications and the postal sector, the handling of situations that merit intervention to ensure effective market competition and sufficient consumer protection, the provision of information and clarifications on applicable legislation and, when justified, the routing of claimants to other entities such as the Consumer Institute, the Inspectorate General of Economic Activities and the Directorate General of Trade and Competition. It was verified, however, that some of the analysed claims resulted from a lack of knowledge of the rules governing intervention by the communications sector regulator.

To follow up supervision actions carried out as a result of claims, it was necessary to impose sanctions proceedings and adopt regulatory measures meant to correct deviant operations by operators and service providers that are incompatible with development of a competitive market  and with consumer rights.

The year 2002 thus witnessed the filing of 39 countermanding processes, in which the illicit activities cited encompassed the operation of fixed telephone service, electromagnetic compatibility, audiotext service, the installation of telecommunications infrastructures in buildings, interconnection, the operation of public telecommunications networks, personal radio service (CB), private use land mobile service, amateur radiocommunications service, the provision of postal services and the obligation to install postal receptacles.

In the context of overseeing the concession contract between the state and PT Comunicações, a determination was made to apply a contractual fine of € 94,224.24 to the concessionaire due to the verified lack of written contracts on the provision of fixed telephone service to entities operating in the telecommunications market; PT Comunicações appealed said determination to the Arbitration Court, whose start of functions was awaited at the end of 2002.

The defence of ICP-ANACOM was also undertaken in cases of contentious impugnation of practiced acts; 11 contentious appeals were accompanied, while replies for 2 annulment disputes were prepared.

In civil proceedings, 2 appeals resulting from an ICP-ANACOM determination were accompanied, as well as actions in which ICP-ANACOM?s condemnation to pay indemnities is sought and 39 cases of recovery from companies and bankruptcies in which ICP-ANACOM is a creditor; 6 new credit claims were likewise submitted.

Also in 2002 cases involving the coercive coverage of debts were dealt with; the accompaniment of 18 cases of judicial impugnation of fees applied by ICP-ANACOM was maintained, along with 13 physical execution cases.