Approval given to report on BWA consultation

ANACOM gave approval on 14 June 2007 to the report on the public consultation and action plan for the introduction of BWA - Broadband Wireless Access in Portugal. Contributions were received from 17 undertakings including nine undertakings registered and authorised to provide electronic communication services, five undertakings in the field of equipment, one consultant, and two non-profit making bodies; further contributions were received from two private individuals.

This consultation was launched in response to the market's growing interest in introducing new wireless broadband technologies in Portugal and in view of debate on this subject in the European Union and the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). It also follows the outcome of the public consultation that ANACOM launched into Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which resulted in a reformulation of usage rights.

The report that has now been approved presents the conclusions and the action plan that ANACOM has drawn up with respect to various issues, in particular frequency bands, technologies and type of use, means of spectrum allocation and a chronogram.

Following this report on BWA, ANACOM is due to launch a public consultation on the limitation of rights and selection procedures in the third quarter so that a decision can be taken, leading to approval of the regulation of selection procedure in the last quarter. It is expected that the allocation of frequencies in the 3400-3600 MHz and 3600-3800 MHz bands will take place in the first quarter of 2008.

The BWA consultation, addresses in general terms the application of BWA rather than a specific access technology: it is therefore neither limited to nor does it exclude the use of WiMax type systems. From the analysis carried out it was possible to identify the principle processes underlying the allocation of spectrum for BWA, given the number of manifestations of interest in its use and also taking into account the objectives, as set out in law, of ensuring effective and efficient use of frequencies and of ensuring conditions necessary for effective competition in the relevant markets.

In view of the international framework and according to the responses received, ANACOM intends to make the 3400-3600 MHz, 3600-3800 MHz bands available for fixed, nomadic and mobile applications, limiting the 5725-5875 MHz band to fixed and nomadic.

Regarding the 3400-3600MHz and 3600-3800 MHz bands, ANACOM is considering the possibility of associating each right of spectrum use with a quantity of 2x28 MHz of spectrum, favouring a model of usage right allocation by zone over a national model of allocation.

It is ANACOM's position that the allocation of frequency usage rights should be limited, particularly in the 3400-3600 MHz and 3600-3800 MHz bands, given the strong interest shown in the public consultation and the quantity of spectrum available. The law sets out that the selection process may be by public tender or by auction, and ANACOM considers that the latter method is the more appropriate way forward for selecting the undertakings which will be allocated frequency usage rights.

The auction option for frequency allocation is seen as being more transparent for interested parties, causing less of an interference to the operators' business plans and creativity, stimulating the efficient and effective use of the spectrum and diminishing the motivation for unproductive allocation of this resource.

BWA’s immaturity, the technology neutral allocation approach and the possibility of reaching a correct assessment of the allocated spectrum’s market value were further grounds for the option taken.
It is ANACOM’s position that the introduction of BWA constitutes an opportunity to promote competition among the provision of networks and services, opening up the way for new operators to enter the market, especially with regard to the exploitation of the technology in its mobile form.  It is therefore considered that the auction should have two phases. In its first phase, restrictions of access to the frequencies concerned should be placed on those undertakings which already have spectrum allocated to them in the 3400-3800 MHz band, which have been designated as undertakings having significant power in the broadband market or which hold rights to use frequencies for the provision of public terrestrial mobile services.  The second phase will cover those frequencies left unallocated after the first phase and will have no restrictions of access.

The 5725-5875 MHz must be used in full accessibility regime.

A further finding of the consultation is that in the 27,5-29,5 GHz frequency band the conditions are not present that would allow the provision of additional spectrum in harmonised mode for BWA applications, although ANACOM will keep this under close review. On the other hand the 24,5-26,5 GHz frequency band has already been submitted to the full accessibility regime, as set out in the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP).

Finally it should be noted that FWA operators in the 3400-3800 MHz will be able to start providing their services in a technology neutral perspective, even though this does not cover the mobile mode. The provision of services based on the mobile mode will become possible once frequencies in the 3400-3800 MHz band have been allocated.


See also:

Consult press release:

Related information on ANACOM's website: