Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 7-A 2020, of 7 February

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Resolution of the Council of Ministers

The fifth generation of mobile communications (5G) is an instrument that will bring development and competitiveness to our economy, social and territorial cohesion and improvements and transformations in our way of life, social innovation and the quality of public services.

5G has features that make it a powerful instrument of digitisation. The network technology now emerging is the “gigabit” generation, which is expected to allow faster transmission of a much larger volume of data (one hundred times greater), practically instantly (latency being fifty times lower), as well as the connection of many more devices (one million devices per km2).

This technological potential brings with it a new standard of communications, but above all creates new opportunities for economic and social development and conditions for a new digitisation paradigm. In addition to communication between people, it now includes communication between things (the “Internet of things”), which finds a technological environment to significantly change our daily lives and the way we live, making it possible to collect and process, in real time, volumes of information unthinkable with the technologies currently available, allowing not only the optimisation and improvement of existing processes, but, above all, enhances the development of different approaches, whether in terms of business models, service provision or social organisation, namely in transport, health, industry, logistics, energy, entertainment and agriculture.

5G is, therefore, an important lever for digital transformation and allows synergies to be created with other technologies, in particular artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of things and the integration of satellite networks. For this reason, the country needs to have 5G networks in the sectors that most strongly contribute towards changing competitiveness and quality of life, whether universities and State schools, research centres, industrial areas, ports and airports, in all modes of transport, hospitals and health centres, or in city management. And it must do so in such a way that the opportunity is granted to the whole territory and to the entire population, so that 5G does not accentuate regional asymmetries but, on the contrary, contributes towards combating them, leveraging a digital transformation of society.

In line with the perception of the transformational capabilities of this next generation technology, steps have been taken around the world towards the adoption of 5G. In the European Union, it has been established that, in each Member State, at least one major city must be “prepared for 5G” by the end of 2020, and that all urban areas and the main land transport routes must have uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025, and it is the understanding of this Government that 5G coverage should be extended to all national territory by 2030.

For this purpose, in terms of spectrum, Directive (EU) 2018/1972, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 11 December 2018, which establishes the European Electronic Communications Code, determined that the three frequency bands to be consigned to 5G were 700 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz, as recognised, moreover, in Articles 53 to 55 of that Code.

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/235, of 24 January 2019, on the 3.6 GHz band, recalls, in its recital 10, that “[...] Taking into account Article 54 of the European Electronic Communications Code, Member States should aim at ensuring a defragmentation of the 3400-3800 MHz frequency band so as to provide opportunities to access large portions of contiguous spectrum in line with the goal of gigabit connectivity. [...] Large contiguous spectrum portions of preferably 80-100 MHz facilitate the efficient deployment of 5G wireless broadband services, [...] with high throughput, high reliability and low latency in line with the policy objective of gigabit connectivity”. And it prescribes, in paragraph 3 of the annex, which sets out the respective parameters, that “[...] There shall be spectrum available providing the opportunity to access sufficiently large portions of contiguous spectrum, preferably 80-100 MHz, for wireless broadband electronic communications services [...]”.

The radio spectrum forms part of the public domain of the State and the definition of the country’s communications policy is the responsibility of the Government. The Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) is responsible for conducting the procedure for the allocation of spectrum licences, in accordance with that policy, independently from the Government, and impartially vis-à-vis all stakeholders.

In formulating the terms of the procedure, ANACOM must comply with the public policy objectives formulated by the State, through the Government. It is therefore appropriate that, before ANACOM approves the regulation of the procedure for the allocation of the radio spectrum, the Government should consider the country’s objectives and interests in these matters. In this assessment, the Government should take into account the consultations that ANACOM has already carried out.

The huge change that 5G networks bring results in a substantial increase in the dependence of society in general, and of many critical services, on the proper functioning and security of these networks. The Government, recognising that it is of fundamental importance that the security of 5G networks must be ensured, and following Commission Recommendation (EU) No. 534/2019, of 26 March 2019, on the cybersecurity of 5G networks, undertook a national risk assessment and participated in risk assessment at European level. Based on the evaluations carried out, a set of common measures was identified, to be adopted to mitigate and correct the security risks detected. These measures are contained in the document “Cybersecurity of 5G networks: EU Toolbox of risk mitigating measures”, of the Cooperation Group set up under Directive (EU) 2016/1148, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 6 July 2016 - Network and Information Security Directive - which the European Commission welcomed in its communication “Secure 5G deployment in the EU - Implementing the EU toolbox”.

Considering that the security requirements of 5G networks represent an ongoing challenge, it is important to continue the work already developed by the ad hoc working group created under the auspices of the Cyberspace Security Council with the purpose of carrying out a national risk assessment and drafting the national contribution towards the aforementioned European toolbox, giving it functions to monitor the process of implementing 5G networks.

It is up to the Government to decide on the strategic objectives for the new generation of mobile communications. With regard to mobile communications, it must be ensured that the country has the widest coverage in the 5G standalone network as soon as possible, in such a way as to favour territorial cohesion. As it is not possible to guarantee this level of coverage immediately, in any case, this opportunity should be used to seek to expand the coverage of the territory through current 4G networks, by creating incentives to this end.

Finally, as the Government understands that, in these matters, the principal national interest is to achieve selective coverage that encompasses strategic agents of digital transition and competitiveness that is territorially cohesive, the financial terms of the spectrum allocation procedure should contribute towards this objective, the financial investment being secondary. At this moment, the reserve prices established in auctions already carried out in various countries of the European Union are known, and these amounts, weighted by population, per capita GDP in PPP and other relevant factors, allow the establishment of a reserve price appropriate to the conditions of the country. Likewise, spectrum usage fees should also be adjusted.


Under the terms of Article 199 (g) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers adopts the following decision:

1 - To establish the national objectives and purposes regarding the availability in Portugal of the new mobile networks in the fifth generation of mobile communications (5G), the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) being responsible for defining the terms of the procedure for the allocation of rights of use of the available radio spectrum, in such a way as is appropriate for fulfilling the objectives established under this resolution.

2 - To establish the following objectives:

a) The deployment of the 5G network should preferably be ensured by means of continuous spectra, in the 3.6 GHz range, from 80 to 100 MHz, in order to guarantee an unconditional access experience, according to the European guidelines laid down in Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/235, of 24 January 2019;

b) To ask ANACOM to seek the terms of the regulation of the procedure for the allocation of the spectrum, for which it may encourage the achievement of the objective referred to in the preceding paragraph as deemed appropriate, namely through the attribution of an add-on to the offers made for a minimum number of lots that allows the offerer to benefit from the continuous spectrum width provided for under the same subdivision;

c) The deployment of the 5G network must ensure the following strategic goals for the country:

i) By the end of the year 2020, at least one city located in low density territories, according to the delimitation adopted by the Interministerial Coordination Committee in its determination of 26 March 2015, and one coastal city with more than 50 thousand inhabitants, must be covered by the 5G network, through individual networks pertaining to each operator, shared networks or wholesale networks;

ii) By the end of the year 2023, the following must be equipped with 5G networks:

I) Municipalities with more than 75 thousand inhabitants;

II) All public hospitals, 50% of public health centres located in low density territories and 50% of public health centres on the coast, which are not already covered by a fixed high-speed network;

III) All universities and polytechnics;

IV) 50% of business areas or industrial parks in coastal municipalities and 50% of business areas or parks located in low density territories;

V) International airports;

VI) Priority military facilities, as defined by the member of the Government responsible for the area of national defence;

iii) By the end of the year 2024, the following must be equipped 5G networks:

I) Municipalities with more than 50 thousand inhabitants;

II) 95% of national highways with traffic exceeding 7.3 million vehicles/year;

III) The A 22, A 23, A 24 and A 25; National Highways 1 and 2;

IV) 95% of the Braga to Lisbon railway line and the Atlantic rail corridor;

V) 98% of the suburban train lines in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto;

VI) 98% of the Lisbon, Porto and Margem Sul do Tejo metro networks;

VII) The Port of Sines, the Port of Setúbal, the Port of Lisbon, the Port of Leixões and the Port of Aveiro;

iv) By the end of the year 2025, the following must be equipped 5G networks:

I) Ideally, 90% of the population having access to mobile broadband services with a typical usage experience of a speed of not less than 100 Mbps;

II) The remaining domestic commercial ports;

III) Highways with traffic exceeding 863 thousand vehicles/year;

IV) The Lisbon/Faro railway line; and,

V) The remaining military facilities.

3 - To determine that ANACOM should promote a consultation to establish a new, lower value for annual spectrum usage fees, taking into account that the spectral width allocated under this procedure will be much larger than that currently available, and the values shown in the table currently charged may turn out to be excessive.

4 - To ask ANACOM to study the introduction of mechanisms, under annual spectrum usage fees, that benefit operators who undertake to ensure, within a period to be determined, individually or jointly with others, 4G coverage for all State schools at all levels of education and the Northern railway line.

5 - To determine that the revenue from the radio spectrum allocation procedure for the 5G network is used to create measures to support projects to stimulate digital transition and inclusion, namely in the area of education, research, digital content production, digital literacy training and promotion, as well as the digital transformation of companies and the public administration, under such terms as may be defined by the Government.

6 - To ask ANACOM to evaluate mechanisms that encourage accelerated fulfilment of the goals established in paragraph 2 (c).

7 - To determine that the procedure referred to in the preceding paragraphs should be compatible with the strategic and technical security measures resulting from the work carried out at national and European level, namely those contained in the European communication on the “EU Toolbox of risk mitigating measures” on the security of 5G networks, and with national capacity building in this area.

8 - Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, to determine the creation of a working group on the security of 5G networks that operates within the scope of the Cyberspace Security Council, under the coordination of a representative of the National Cybersecurity Centre, acting as chair, and formed by:

a) One representative from each of the following governmental areas:

i) Presidency of the Council of Ministers;

ii) Digitisation;

iii) Foreign Affairs;

iv) National Defence;

v) Home Office;

vi) Infrastructure;

b) A representative of the Secretary General of the Homeland Security System;

c) The Ambassador of Digital diplomacy;

d) An ANACOM representative;

e) A representative of the Intelligence Service of the Portuguese Republic;

f) A representative of AICEP Portugal Global - Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal, EPE (Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade);

g) Representatives of other entities, as well as personalities of recognised merit in the area in which the work is carried out, by invitation to this effect formulated by the entity responsible for coordination.

9 - The working group referred to in the previous paragraph is responsible for:

a) Advising the various competent entities in the implementation of the national measures contained in the “EU Toolbox of risk mitigating measures”;

b) Ensuring a periodic review of the national assessment of cybersecurity risks affecting 5G networks, as well as participating in work on the periodic review of the European assessment of those risks;

c) Preparing a report within two months, which includes: i) the action to be taken, at national level, for the implementation of security measures appropriate to mitigating cybersecurity risks, which ensure, in particular, compliance with European measures; ii) the action to be taken, at national level, for the creation of the capacity to support the implementation of measures such as, for example, the development of adequate laboratory and other infrastructure to support certification and promote formal technical adoption; iii) the promotion of conditions that facilitate the adaptation of the electronic communications sector;

d) Responding to any other requests in this regard.

10 - To recommend the awarding of a prize by ANACOM for the best applications related to education, production and availability of digital content, city management, tourism, work and inclusion, security, industry, health, energy and environmental protection and sustainability.

11 - To recommend that ANACOM should establish a digital platform for monitoring and overseeing the 5G coverage and adoption process, taking an “Open Data” approach in order to guarantee the transparency of the entire process.

12 - In compliance with the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, to ask ANACOM to develop initiatives and possible outline proposals of draft legislative acts that contribute towards:

a) Raising awareness among municipalities and service providers of developments related to 5G networks and the harmonisation of procedures;

b) Encouraging the reduction of base station installation fees and their harmonisation at national level.

13 - To determine that, in implementing this resolution, the Government shall:

a) Identify the instruments for financing 5G projects, which may serve as a basis for the development of 5G projects and technological tests, taking into consideration the regions and sectors of the domestic economy;

b) Identify and adopt the public interest needs related to security, national defence and civil protection related to 5G networks, namely with regard to the future of emergency networks;

c) Develop and publicise studies related to the possible impact of 5G on public health, with the aim of providing the population with accurate information on the subject;

d) Promote scientific, research and pro-entrepreneurship initiatives that create the conditions to foster the endogenous capacity to design technologies, produce digital content, design business models, discuss technical standards and reinforce the critical capacity of the population in codefining and absorbing future connectivity solutions;

e) Support the development of use case tests in the areas of maritime platform management and rural territory management using 5G systems;

f) Encourage the creation of “technological free zones” where experimental projects may be developed;

g) Develop initiatives to promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the installation of 5G systems.

14 - To determine that this resolution shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication.

Presidency of the Council of Ministers, 7 February 2020 - The Prime Minister, António Luís Santos da Costa.