ANACOM has decided, for reasons of force majeure, to suspend the public consultation on the Draft Regulation of the Auction for allocation of frequency user rights in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands, following requests for suspension by MEO, NOS and Vodafone, and extension in the case of Dense Air. The decision was also taken to suspend the process of prior hearing and public consultation on the draft decision to change user frequency rights allocated to Dense Air Portugal, following the request submitted by this company.
It should be emphasised that all the operators, in their requests for ANACOM to suspend the consultation on the auction regulation, invoke the current exceptional circumstances in which the country is found, and all the constraints arising thereof, as well as the unpredictability of the situation and the impossibility of assessing its future evolution. They also stress that the situation could further deteriorate and refer to the impact of this whole situation on the response capacity of the different intervenors. Similar reasons of this nature are also invoked by Dense Air in its request for an extension of the consultation period relative to the auction regulation. As it considers that the impact of the Coronavirus situation is also applicable to the preparation of comments for the consultation on the change of the frequency user rights held by Dense Air Portugal, it argues that both consultations should be postponed, to a new date that should coincide with both.
ANACOM accepted the presented arguments, as it recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic represents an absolutely exceptional situation of serious threat to public health, which led to the declaration of a state of emergency in Portugal, giving rise to constraints that affect the normal functioning of institutions and companies, restricting their activities.
The decision of suspension takes effect on 19 March, and shall be in force until its withdrawal, to be decided taking into account the enforcement of exceptional and temporary measures of response to the epidemiological situation triggered by COVID-19.
It should also be noted that it was also in this context of force majeure that ANACOM, in articulation with MEO and with the concordance of the Government, suspended the DTT network migration process, which implies the postponement of the date of release of the 700 MHz band planned for 30 June 2020, where this band was to be made available at the auction whose draft regulation has now been suspended.