Postal services - ANACOM releases study on the challenges of full liberalisation

ANACOM has released a report entitled “Challenges facing the postal sector as it moves to full liberalisation”, in which it outlines the current situation in Portugal with respect to postal services and sets out the main challenges which face the sector as it moves to full liberalisation. This work was concluded in April 2011.

The study begins by giving a brief outline of the sector’s regulatory framework, at national and European level, particularly with regard to the designation of the universal service provider (USP), the calculation of any net costs of the universal postal service (UPS), the compensation of these net costs and conditions of network access.

Subsequently, a perspective is given of the post economy in Portugal, using the key indicators of the postal activity and examining the characteristics of post consumption (business and residential).

The document also examines the characteristics of the activities of the main postal service providers operating in Portugal, identifying the main segments where they work and their relative weightings.

The report goes on to present and analyse case studies from some of the countries which have already accomplished full liberalisation – specifically, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden – seeking to draw lessons which are fitting for the Portuguese situation.

Finally, the report makes an analysis of the challenges facing the sector’s service providers, and its regulator. In particular, with regard to service providers, the report looks at the current and expected decline in correspondence traffic, reducing the "carbon footprint" and the extent to which their strategy is geared to possible changes in the application of VAT on services provided as part the universal service.

In terms of the challenges facing the regulator, the report highlights the evaluation of the net costs of the UPS, the drive to improve the sistema de contabilidade analítica (analytical accounting system) used by CTT, the continued adaptation of regulatory practice to international best practice and a global redefinition of the role of regulation, focusing on three fundamental objective: to ensure provision of the UPS; to promote competition; and to protect the interests of users of all types of postal services, while maintaining the natural relationship with AdC - Autoridade da Concorrência (The Competition Authority).