Inspection and laboratory activities

ICP-ANACOM regularly conducts investigations in the market - either because complaints received by this Authority reveal evidence of non-compliance which warrants confirmation, or upon its own initiative. In 2010, investigations were conducted in various areas: electronic communications, postal sector, message-based valued added services, spectrum management, equipment and other areas. In total over one thousand inspections were carried out over the year.

Graph 46 - Inspections undertaken in 2010

In 2010, investigations were conducted in various areas: electronic communications, postal sector, message-based valued added services, spectrum management, equipment and other areas. 


Electronic Communications

Actions focusing on the electronic communications sector were launched in order to verify compliance by authorized entities with the obligations set forth pursuant to the titles authorising exercise of activity and pursuant to applicable legislation; such actions were taken with a view to preventing situations which might potentially distort the normal functioning of markets, and also with a view to finding solutions for the possible settlement of disputes between operators and/or between operators and/or consumers.

Alongside these actions, ICP-ANACOM continued to control the exercise of activity and provision of services by entities that do possess any authorising title duly issued by ICP-ANACOM for this purpose.

In the communications market, ICP-ANACOM's inspection activities involved 319 interventions covering a relatively mass services market.

The set of measures implemented, include:

  • Inspections focusing on the provision of SMS and MMS-based valued added services. In total, ICP-ANACOM carried out 26 inspections related to Decree-Law no. 177/99 of 21 May (amended by Decree-Law no. 63/2009 of 10 March). These inspections were conducted to verify compliance by providers of SMS and MMS based valued added services covering both subscription procedures and the fulfilment of requests by the support operators to bar access to such services (aspects that most frequently give rise to complaints sent to this Authority). Various occurrences of non-compliance were found, determining the instigation of various breach proceedings;

  • 4 investigations involving 200 irregular number portability situations. Given such a high number of irregular portability situations, ICP-ANACOM made this area a priority in 2010. In addition to monitoring number portability, analyzing the causes of a large number of unfulfilled portability requests, ICP-ANACOM also conducted 4 investigations involving mobile and fixed telephone service providers.  These  investigations sought to detect irregularities in the respective portability processes, in particular, in practices followed by the operators in providing information to consumers, verify compliance with the deadlines set out in the Regulamento da Portabilidade (Portability Regulation - Regulation no. 58/2005 of 18 August), and examine the reasons given for refusing to carry out number portability. Processes in this area were also forwarded to litigation, culminating in the instigation of infringement proceedings ;

  • 23 inspections performed in exchanges of PT Comunicações while giving oversight to the local loop Reference Unbundling offer (RUO), aimed at improving the conditions for sharing these exchanges with other operators and the conditions which facilitate effective access to exchanges by other operators;

  • 20 inspections with a view to the offer of Public payphones in commercial establishments open to the public, as a result of which no breaches of the provisions of Law no. 5/2004 of 10 February were found;

  • 10 inspections with respect to the offer of VoIP services by unauthorized entities, possibly constituting a violation of the provisions of article 21 of Law no. 5/2004 of 10 February, culminating in the service of a citation;

  • 1 inspection focusing on the fulfilment of obligations under Regulation (EC) no. 717/2007 on roaming on public mobile telephone networks;

  • 10 inspections focusing on the fulfilment of obligations under Decree-Law no. 134/2009 of 2 June on the operation of call centres, particularly with regard to time taken to answer calls, on provision of menus and provision of information to users. In light of the irregularities found, eight cases were referred to litigation;

  • 12 investigations related to Decree-Law no. 56/2010 of 1 June on the unlocking of terminal equipment, which resulted in litigation citations. The unlocking of terminal equipment was the most common subject of complaints about equipment that came to ANACOM in 2010 - in particular, failure to apply the law to equipment acquired by companies and equipment not intended to support the mobile telephone service. Other complaints in this respect relate to the incorrect calculation of the amount payable for unlocking during contract lock-in periods and, after this period has elapsed, the requirement to provide proof of purchase and delivery of incorrect unlocking codes;

  • 17 investigations regarding compliance with the rules set out in Decree-Law no. 156/2005 of 15 September, as amended by Decree-Law no. 371/2007 of 6 November (Complaint Books), in which detected irregular situations have been referred to litigation.

Postal services

Aiming to ensure compliance with the activity licences of service providers and, at an operational level, respond to requests for intervention that may arise as a result of consumer complaints, 18 investigations were carried out in the postal services market. These investigations sought to check the activities of postal service providers according to the permitted scope of their activities under the terms set out in the various authorisation titles, whereby it was concluded that that there were no situations of non-compliance and no citations were served.

ITED - Infra-estruturas de Telecomunicações em Edifícios (Telecommunications Infrastructure in Buildings) and ITUR - Infra-estruturas de Telecomunicações em Urbanizações (Telecommunications Infrastructure in Housing Developments, Urban Settlements and Concentrations of Buildings)

With regard to telecommunications infrastructure in building and in housing developments, urban settlements and concentrations of buildings, 568 inspections were carried out in 2010, including 457 infrastructure inspections, which led to detection of 114 cases of non-compliance (in relation to the respective project and applicable technical standards, or in the project in respect of applicable technical standards). These actions resulted in 73 cases being referred to litigation. 111 investigations were also undertaken with respect to ITED/ITUR training entities.

In addition, ICP-ANACOM answered queries and responded to 366 requests for information, involving a range of technical and legal analyses.

These actions were conducted to verify that the actions of market agents were compliant with the new legal framework which entered into force on 1 January 2010. The new regime includes new technical rules, ITED Manual - 2nd edition and ITUR Manual - 1st edition, giving rise to considerable technological change and a broadening of scope compared to the old regime. This has had a significant impact on the sector and brought clear benefits to consumers, particularly by facilitating optical fibre access to next generation network services.

Under new legal regime, all technical ITED training must be conducted by training bodies designated by ICP-ANACOM, ensuring that knowledge is kept updated.  This designation process will be concluded on 15 May 2011. As such, ICP-ANACOM worked to ensure that conditions were in place to enable this training, working especially in conjunction with the ANQ - Agência Nacional para a Qualificação (National Qualifications Agency) and the DGERT - Direcção Geral do Emprego e Relações de Trabalho (General Directorate for Employment and Labour Relations), in order to determine the training requirements and contents. In addition, approval was given to the harmonized procedures for appointing training providers, as well as the applicable technical and human requirements 1.

Following this work, refresher training was undertaken and completed for all technicians registered with ICP-ANACOM. Under a protocol signed with the Ordem dos Engenheiros Técnicos (Association of Technical Engineers) on this matter, the training given to engineers continues to be updated; and training courses are being prepared to qualify technicians who want to become ITUR and ITED installers and designers.

During 2010, ICP-ANACOM conducted monitoring of operators of public telecommunications networks which, pursuant to Decree-Law no. 192/2000 of 18 August, are subject to the requirement to communicate their interface specifications. These interface specifications available and can be consulted on ICP-ANACOM's website, in the R&TTE Regime area.

Equipment market

ICP-ANACOM has been granted powers to enforce compliance with Decree-Law no. 192/2000 of 18 August, which establishes the regime governing the free circulation, placing on the market, and putting into service in Portuguese territory of radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment. This legal regime resulted from the transposition of Directive 1999/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March on R&TTE equipment and covers various types of equipment, namely: (i) radio equipment using radio spectrum frequencies, containing a transmitter and/or a receiver 2; and (ii) telecommunications terminal equipment which, through an interface, is connected to the public telecommunications network (public GSM networks, analogue or digital telephone networks and data networks) 3

Equipment market inspections involve three procedures to assess conformity of equipment placed on the market:

  • Procedure 1 - direct inspection actions (on-the-spot, using catalogues and online) involving economic agents (distributors, importers, traders), to verify requirements and detect those responsible for placing equipment on the market;

  • Procedure 2 - market monitoring, using laboratory tests (conducted in ICP-ANACOM's laboratories), and analysis of technical documentation to verify equipment conformity;

  • Procedure 3 - market monitoring, through the analysis of technical documentation to verify equipment conformity.

Among the direct inspections conducted of economic agents (distributors, importers, retailers) - procedure 1, 225 inspections were performed in 2010, with 472 devices inspected, 216 devices seized and sent 67 cases referred to litigation.

Under procedures 2 and 3, 146 cases were opened, 114 completed and 91 devices tested.

As a result of these inspections and subsequent laboratory and technical documentation analysis, a total of 181 cases were referred to litigation as a result of detected non-conformities.

Finally, there is also the specific case of radio equipment using frequency bands whose use is not harmonized throughout the EU. The manufacturer, their importer or legal representative are now required to notify ICP-ANACOM four weeks before placing such equipment on the market, in accordance with article 9 of Decree-Law no. 192/2000 of 18 August. This notification is always reviewed by this Authority whereas failure to comply with ICP-ANACOM's directions with regard to these devices can lead to a restriction on their entry into service. In addition, the restrictions stipulated to those responsible for placing the equipment on the market must be reflected in the information provided to the equipment's users. In 2010, 1,146 notifications were made under article 9 and 6, paragraph 4 of Directive no. 99/5 (R&TTE), whereas 106 communications were found to be incorrect and responses/analyses were received to 27 notifications.

Also during 2010, and following several requests for information in the context of R&TTE from representatives of equipment manufacturers or other undertakings responsible for placing equipment on the market, 13 requests for information were concluded which, in most cases, resulted in technical and legal analysis of the situations described.

  • Laboratory activities

Related to the enforcement and investigation activities carried out by ICP-ANACOM, this authority has an important laboratory activity, supporting its oversight of the equipment market and actions to inspect the market and industry.

This laboratory activity has developed an increasing level of competence in recent years, some of which is unique in Portugal and must be preserved and which, since technology is changing fast, must be expanded, adapting to new technologies and new regulatory frameworks. This led, in December, to a reorganization of the three laboratories which existed at that time into a single testing and calibration laboratory (LEC), with different functions, but with sufficient flexibility of action so that it can give the best response to requests from different services.

The laboratory has a unique structure, based primarily on areas of an operational nature and mainly focused on the execution of "testing" and "calibration": (i) electromagnetic compatibility and radio tests; and (ii) calibration.

The main actions undertaken with regard to providing technical support with respect to the radio and telecommunications terminal equipment market and the work done in these three laboratories is outlined below.

  • Technical support with respect to radio and telecommunications terminal equipment

During 2010, testing was carried out of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment covered by Decree-Law no. 192/2000 of 18 August for the purposes of market inspection and for the provision of technical opinions in the context of legal proceedings.

Market and industry inspections were also conducted, verifying the essential requirement for electromagnetic compatibility in electronic communications equipment covered by Decree-Law no. 325/2007 of 28 September, with technical opinions also issued in this area in the context of legal proceedings.

As a result of complaints related to the use of power line communication technology (PLC) technical verification of equipment involving that technology was performed in the laboratory and on-site.

Subsequent to an external request, expert opinion was given in respect of digital television equipment, in order to assess the attempted use of cardsharing.

  • Laboratório de Ensaios Radioeléctricos (Radio Testing Laboratory)

In providing oversight of the radio equipment market (R&TTE), 167 radio devices were tested with different applications, 126 taking place in the context of market investigations, 33 referring to investigations into the use of radio spectrum and in the context of 8 expert opinions on radiocommunications equipment provided upon the request of judicial/police authorities.

Studies and tests were continued throughout the year, with an expansion of the number of characteristics which can be subjected to laboratory verification.

All technical and auxiliary procedures governing laboratory activities have been revised/updated with a view to their improvement and in view of the framework of a single laboratory system with flexible accreditation.

  • LCEM - Laboratório de Compatibilidade Electromagnética (Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory)

133 devices were tested during the year, including 97 for the purpose of market inspections in the context of R&TTE and 36 at the request of external agencies.

This operational area also participated in a global inter-laboratory comparison exercise organised by APLAC - Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, as part of the T061 "Proficiency Testing Program on Electromagnetic Interference" programme, coordinated in Portugal by IPAC - Instituto Português de Acreditação (Portuguese Institute of Accreditation) and involving electrical field strength and frequency; results will be available in 2012.

The accreditation awarded by IPAC - Instituto Português de Acreditação (Portuguese Institute of Accreditation) according to standard NP EN ISO/IEC 17025 for the execution of tests was maintained.

  • LMR - Laboratório de Metrologia Radioeléctrica (Radio Metrology Laboratory)

To implement the plan to calibrate ICP-ANACOM's equipment calibration, which is the responsibility of this laboratory, 218 pieces of laboratory equipment were calibrated during 2010, corresponding to an increase of 32 percent over 2009.

Meanwhile, 56 calibrations were performed for external clients, with the number of units calibrated declining 17.6 percent compared to 2009.

The accreditation awarded by IPAC - Instituto Português de Acreditação (Portuguese Institute of Accreditation) according to standard NP EN ISO/IEC 17025 for the execution of electrical and frequency calibrations was maintained.

MCE - Monitorização e controlo do espectro (Monitoring and Control of the Spectrum)

ICP-ANACOM engaged in preventative and reactive enforcement actions with respect to its frequency management activity. The preventive component entails verification of compliance with the regulations associated with spectrum management, aiming:

  • to verify the operating conditions of radiocommunications networks and stations, according to current legislation, specifically Decree-Law no. 151-A/2000 of 20 July;

  • to compile information on the ground to assist the activities of spectrum planning and the licensing of radiocommunications networks and stations.

Investigations carried out in this area led to around three quarters of the 111 cases which were referred to litigation, leading to the instigation of infringement proceedings.

The remaining cases that were referred to litigation originate from ICP-ANACOM's reactive activities, which always stem from external requests. On mainland Portugal, 1650 requests were dealt with in this context.

Of these, 494 related to interference and culminated with ICP-ANACOM issuing determinations with a view to the implementation of technical amendments to restore normal conditions, whereas the remaining requests (about 40 percent) involved direct inspections of radio stations and networks; in many cases were irregularities detected and the processes were referred to litigation.

The following table shows details of ICP-ANACOM's reactive activity, as developed on the mainland in 2010.

Table 36 - Monitoring and control of the spectrum activity in 2010

1,650 Processes (100%) 

494 Interferences (30%)

256 cases of interference. Television broadcasting service- television reception (52%)

64 cases of interference. Aeronautical mobile service (13%)

46 cases of interference. Public land mobile and trunking - public operators (9%)

32 cases of interference. Amateur service and amateur-satellite service (7%)

29 cases of interference. Private network service and CB (6%)

26 cases of interference. License exemptions (5%)

25 cases of interference. Radio broadcasting service (5%)

16 cases of interference. Other services (3%)

Other Requests

447 Direct inspections of radiocommunication stations and networks (39%)

158 Requests for cooperation from other national and international bodies (14%)

114 coop. requests international - counterpart authorities (72%)

44 Requests for cooperation from national entities (PSP, GNR, ERC, ...) (28%)

215 Requests for studies and analysis of levels of coverage of radiocommunication networks (18%)

118 Complaints about non-ionizing radiation (10%)

37 Inspections at special, short-duration events (sports, entertainment, national and international) (3%)

181 Actions in response to other requests related to the activity (16%)


During 2010, ICP-ANACOM was called on to resolve 494 cases of interference, with 13 percent related to the aeronautical mobile service. ICP-ANACOM also resolved around fifty situations of interference affecting the networks of public MTS and mobile trunking operators. Such situations are particularly important due to their impact on the economic activity and life of ordinary citizens (given the high rate of penetration across Portuguese society).

Institutional representation and representation of Portugal internationally (all related to the use of radio spectrum) comprised: (i) 114 cases of cooperation with ICP-ANACOM's international counterparts; and (ii) 44 cases of cooperation with national agencies, e.g. PSP, GNR and ERC.

ICP-ANACOM also conducted monitoring, on a regular basis, at entertainment, sports and/or official short-duration events, which is an activity that has significant bearing on the regulator's international image. This year, included the State visit to Portugal of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and later in the year, the 2010 NATO Summit held in Lisbon. In addition to the main objective of ensuring that the communications of licensed users do not suffer interference problems (which significantly decreases ICP-ANACOM's reactive activity in this regard), this type of activity has resulted in a very significant increase in "temporary" licensing granted by ICP-ANACOM.

The monitoring and control of the spectrum area also received 1,464 requests related to non-ionizing radiation, calling for analysis of specific situations. 1,452 cases were concluded (involving analyses at 235 educational establishments), many of which involved on-site measurements.

The results point to values which are at least 50 times lower than the reference levels of power density stipulated in Administrative Rule no. 1421/2004 of 23 November. 54 situations were found which did not, at the outset, guarantee levels 50 times lower than the reference levels. However, in all cases, compliance of the reference levels was guaranteed. All the persons or entities requesting evaluations were informed of the findings of the respective actions.

1 45 training entities were designated across the country of which 21 are IEFP centres. 14 of the designated entities are also qualified to administer courses for engineers and technical engineers.
2 This applies, for example, to mobile phones (GSM), satellite terminals, citizens band equipment, maritime band phones, cordless phones, short-range devices (Bluetooth applications, remote controls, wireless alarms, devices for opening garage doors, wireless networks and remote control toys).
3 Examples include telephones, answering machines, modems and GSM equipment (simultaneously radio equipment).