ANACOM resumes 5G process and public consultation ends on 3 July

The procedure of the public consultation of the draft regulation of the auction for allocation of user frequency rights for 5G and other relevant bands (700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 3.6 GHz) and the procedure of prior hearing and public consultation on the draft decision on the change of the frequency user frequency rights allocated to Dense Air Portugal will be resumed and, in both cases, the deadline is 3 July 2020.

Given that the state of emergency is no longer in force, the country is undergoing a phase of deconfinement and there are no legal barriers, as Law 16/2020 of 29 May was published in Diário da República and shall put an end to the suspension of deadlines determined by Law 1-A/2020 of 19 March, the suspended procedural deadlines are resumed by force of the law.

At the time in which the suspension was determined by ANACOM, for reasons of force majeure, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and declaration of the state of emergency, there were still 18 business days before the deadline of the consultation procedure for the draft auction regulation and 13 business days before the deadline of the consultation procedure and prior hearing relative to the change of frequency user rights held by Dense Air Portugal. Law 16/2020 of 29 May establishes a period of 20 business days, counted from its entry into force, for completion of the suspended procedures. ANACOM has no reason to extend the deadlines beyond that established by law, therefore these procedures shall close on 3 July 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the declaration of state of emergency and the confinement derived thereof, have demonstrated the importance of the country's good coverage with telecommunications networks and services. With the population confined, telework, education online and the need to assure social contact this all heightened the consumption of voice and data, fixed and mobile. There was also an increase of complaints by consumers, companies and local authorities on the lack of internet coverage and low internet speed. The implementation of 5G is considered determinant to mitigate the flaws in terms of coverage and capacities provided by the existing mobile networks and ensure the country's economic and social cohesion, drawing closer to the expectations of the population and national economic sector, as well as safeguarding the national and European goals defined for mobile broadband. For these reasons, ANACOM considered that it was necessary to associate the acquisition of frequency user rights in the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz bands, requirements of providing a mobile broadband service with a minimum debit of 100 Mbps, to 85% and 95% of the country's total population, respectively, by the end of 2023 and 2025, as well as other coverage requirements established in relation to the main road, railway and light railway networks and to the population of low-density municipalities and parishes and of the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira.

With a view to fostering the social inclusion and competitiveness of the country and all its regions, but without neglecting the investment levels that could be associated to 5G, the requirements related to the coverage of low-density municipalities and parishes and of the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and Azores can be ensured through national roaming agreements.

Due to the relevance of this process for the country, ANACOM invites all stakeholders to send their contributions to the email address, by 3 July.