ANACOM carries out more than 7,800 enforcement actions in 2016

Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) conducted over 7,800 enforcement actions in 2016, about 10% more than the number of actions carried out during the previous year. As part of its sector oversight function, ANACOM carries out enforcement actions to check the conduct of market agents and the conditions of radio spectrum usage.

In the market for postal services, inspections were carried out focusing on 765 sites used in the provision of the service by the universal postal service provider. These actions are performed to check situations reported in complaints from consumers and/or providers and operators of the postal service, and to verify the accomplishment of objectives related to the density of the universal postal service network. During the year, enforcement actions were also carried out focusing on providers that operate outside the scope of the universal postal service.

In the market for electronic communications services, 559 enforcement actions were performed during the year. This number includes verification of 388 pay-telephones covered by the universal service of public pay-telephones, to check their existence and that they are in proper working order. 83 enforcement actions were carried out focusing on matters related to contract lock-in periods and unfair commercial practices under which ANACOM investigated the conduct of operators as regards users wanting to terminate their contracts, to check what difficulties they had experienced: misinformation about ongoing lock-in periods and on how to submit complaints, the non-acceptance of complaint forms by operators, etc.

In enforcement actions focusing on unfair commercial practices and contract lock-in periods, ANACOM also sought to ascertain the type of information provided to customers at the time of contracting - information regarding contract lock-in periods associated with the product being contracted; information provided where lock-in periods are in force on the time remaining and information on the compensation payable by the customer in the event of contract termination; uninstallation costs associated with the termination of contracts; establishment of lock-in periods which exceed 24 months, associated with equipment purchase campaigns; and the existence of offers with no lock-in period or with a lock-in period of less than 24 months.

The provision of audiotext services and value-added services based on SMS-sending and number portability were also monitored in 2016.

In the area of ITED - Infraestruturas de Telecomunicações em Edifícios (Telecommunications Infrastructure in Buildings) and ITUR -  Infraestruturas de Telecomunicações em Loteamentos, Urbanizações e Conjuntos de Edifícios (Telecommunications Infrastructure Housing Developments, Urban Settlements and Concentrations of Buildings), 571 enforcement actions were conducted. The purpose of these actions is to ensure that the conduct of market participants is in compliance with the rules applicable to the construction of infrastructures suitable for carrying electronic communications networks, the installation of electronic communications networks and the construction of telecommunications infrastructure in housing developments, urban settlements and concentrations of buildings.

In monitoring the radio equipment and electronic communications terminal equipment market, ANACOM performs inspection activities to verify compliance with the legal regime governing the free movement, placing on the market and putting into service of equipment. In 2016, 253 undertakings were inspected (importers, distributors, retailers) and 399 devices checked, of which 213 were seized.

In terms of spectrum monitoring, 5,700 actions were conducted in 2016, 14% more than in the previous year. Of the total, 3,859 were actions pre-scheduled by ANACOM and 1,852 resulted from reports addressed to ANACOM.

The purpose of these actions is to verify that the spectrum is used in the most correct and efficient manner; this is the only way to ensure that there is no loss of quality in the provision of the various services and that there are no security flaws that could threaten people and property due to interference.

In overseeing use of the spectrum, ANACOM conducts visits to verify that networks and stations are operating in accordance with the law. This activity is performed on a regular and ongoing basis, and also when there are temporary events which require the use of frequencies to stage, such as concerts and football matches.

The facts ascertained in all these inspections are being analysed, sometimes in aggregate, by subject, particularly where most directly concerning the rights of users of postal and electronic communications services. Where situations of non-compliance are detected, ANACOM instigated the corresponding sanctioning procedures, in some cases also in aggregate, as it will continue to do.