ICP sets prices and conditions for the Unbundled Local Loop

/ Updated on 24.01.2008

The Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal (ICP) has decided to make certain changes to the Unbundled Local Loop proposal put forward by PT Comunicações, S.A. (PTC). Said offer will allow other licensed operators to exploit PTC's lines, and thus use the local telephone lines already installed by the historic operator right up to the home of the end user.

Access to PTC's local network is an important complement to the existing indirect access offers in the market, and to the direct access services based on the own networks already installed by the new fixed operators.

Furthermore, it strengthens the establishment of structured, broad band service offers. This access therefore makes it possible to increase the current offer, intensify competition and, consequently, benefit consumers.

In accordance with ICP's decision, the monthly price of a narrowband line to be borne by the other licensed operators is PTE 2,398. The monthly price of a broadband line is PTE 2,762. By narrowband, it is meant the equivalent of a line with a capacity up to 128Kb/s, which allows one to offer services such as analogue telephone access or ISDN basic rate access (the equivalent of two telephone lines). Broad band, in turn, allows for Mb/s debits.

This will be the price for leasing a local PTC's line on the wholesale market, i.e. the cost to be borne by the other operators. It is therefore not the retail price to be charged to the end user. However, future commercial offers from other operators will depend on the former price. Furthermore, it should also be noted that said leasing presupposes the right of the other operator to exploit the contracted line, without having to pay the historic operator for the traffic transported.

The prices currently established by ICP are below the European average in terms of the narrow band, and within the European average for the broad band.

Subsequent to the decision taken by ICP, all interested parties will now have ten days within which to send their comments to the Institute. Once these have been analysed, PTC will have ten days to definitively adapt its Unbundled Local Loop Reference Offer (RUO) to the ICP deliberation.

On that day, the prices and conditions offer set out in the RUO will come into effect. At the same time, the 40 exchanges that the other operators consider to be most important must be available to take part in this process. Three exchanges are currently in the testing phase (Laranjeiras and Lumiar, in Lisbon, and Foz, in Oporto) and will have to be ready for the commercial public services offer.

It has also been decided that PTC will have to grant access to local loops supported in metallic pairs, irrespective of their date of installation. In the same way, the other operators will not be subject to PTC's prior approval in order to install equipment in its exchanges.

The operators themselves will inform consumers of the availability of the direct access services they provide as they finish installing their equipment. Users do not have to adhere to these services, and should they do so, this does not necessarily mean they can no longer enjoy indirect access services (codes 10 xy and provider pre-selection).

The prices charged to the end user will depend on the sales strategies of each operator and the type of service provided. Various services are provided: fixed telephone service, broad band Internet access and access to multimedia services.

The Unbundled Local Loop is a direct access service offer, and is not to be confused with the indirect access service offer.