The concession contract of the universal postal service concluded with the Portuguese State and CTT shall be enforced up to 31 December 2020, covering the provision of the services comprising the universal service, as well as the provision of other services and activities. As the preparation of the procedure for appointing the future universal service provider(s) involves various decisions, some incumbent on the Government and others incumbent on ANACOM, this Authority has been working on a series of draft decisions, in its area of competencies. The approved draft decisions, which are now submitted to public consultation, refer to:
- criteria setting the formation of the prices of the universal postal service;
- quality of service parameters and performance targets associated with provision of the universal postal service;
- delivery of postal items at premises other than the domicile;
- concept of unreasonable financial charge for purposes of compensation of the net cost of the universal postal service;
- methodology for calculating the net costs of the universal postal service;
- information to the provided by the universal service provider(s) to the users.
The draft decisions, which shall be under public consultation up to 28 July, are necessary to ensure a universal postal service of quality, and the economic and financial viability of the provision of the universal service. Contributions may be sent, in writing and in the Portuguese language, to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com.
Accordingly, and concerning pricing, ANACOM changes the rule that has been enforced, that was based on a maximum price variation, henceforth appraising the prices based on the principle of affordability to all users and the cost-orientation of prices. In this regard, a list of proposed prices shall be considered by ANACOM, at the onset, as being in conformity with the principle of the cost-orientation of the prices, if it gives rise to a reduction of the margin of the basket of services comprising the universal postal service, or, at the limit, the maintenance of the basket's margin. However, ANACOM shall continue to give special attention to proposed significant annual average price variations (in particular to proposed price variations in one year of more than 10% or proposed prices that present, in two consecutive years, accumulated price variations of more than 15%), taking into account their possible impact on affordability.
As a way of ensuring affordability to residential users and to small and medium-sized enterprises, the maximum annual variation for the price of national non-priority items of correspondence weighing up to 20 grammes is maintained, since this constitutes the most important provision in terms of volume shipped by the segment of occasional users (essentially residential users and small and medium-sized enterprises). Generally speaking, the price variation of this provision cannot be higher than the estimated value of inflation for each year, plus 1 percentage point.
Concerning quality of service, ANACOM considers that the new provider(s) should be subject to the set of indicators on quality of service (IQS) in force in 2019 and 2020, and to their associated targets, as changing the level of requirement in relation to that which has existed for the not current universal service provider is not justifiable. Furthermore, the applicable value of the compensation to users due to failure to comply with the performance targets of the IQS is increased. Thus, failure to comply with the performance targets shall imply the imposition of a deduction to the annual average price of the basket of items of correspondence, parcels, newspapers and periodical publications services that are provided by the universal service provider in question, limited to the maximum value of 3% (currently 1%).
The setting of a higher deduction due to failure to comply with the performance target, shifting it from 1% to 3%, seeks to define a compensation mechanism that is more dissuasive of this failure to comply with the performance targets, without prejudice to the imposition of other penalty mechanisms established in the legal framework.
ANACOM also imposes the obligation of the provision free of charge of a series of postal items specifically for the blind and partially sighted.
ANACOM also believed that there are strong grounds to define the cases and conditions in which the delivery of the items included in the universal postal service can be done by the universal service provider(s) to premises other than the domicile of the receiver. This can only happen when: the receiver requests the delivery of the postal items at another location; the domiciles do not have individualised post boxes for the delivery of postal items or the post box is not in good condition; the domiciles are located in zones without place names, or in zones in which, although already endowed with place names, the competent entities have not yet carried out their placement/identification; the size of the postal items does not permit their deposit inside the post box; the delivery conditions give rise to risk to the safety or health of the delivery person or risk to the security of the postal items transported by the delivery person; when it is difficult to access the receiver's domicile. According to the draft decision, the universal service providers should subsequently ensure delivery to the domicile, or re-establish it, as applicable, when these situations no longer exist.
ANACOM also defined the concept of unreasonable financial charge for purposes of compensation of the net cost of the universal postal service and the methodology for calculating the net cost of the universal postal service (CLSU). In this context, ANACOM considers that there is no unreasonable financial charge for the respective universal service provider(s), when this provider undertakes (these providers undertake) to deliver a remuneration to the State for the provision of the service. There is an unreasonable financial charge for the respective universal service provider(s) in all other situations, when at least one of the following conditions is met:
a) the value of the market share of the universal service provider, calculated in terms of revenues of the contracted service(s) of the universal service is less than 80%; or
b) the value of the net cost of the contracted service(s) of the universal postal service is equal to or more than 3% of the universal service provider's revenues obtained from the contracted service(s) of the universal service.
In relation to the information to be provided by the universal service provider(s) to the users, ANACOM desires that the information, namely on the general conditions of access and postal establishments, should be more easily accessible to the users. The information that must be disclosed includes, for example, the location of postal establishments and other points of access to the retail network, such as for example post office boxes or collection and delivery boxes, and other necessary information for their use, such as opening hours and last collection time for postal items; information on prices and discounts; on the quality of service accomplished; and on complaints and requests for information that are made by the users.
Finally, it should also be highlighted that, on 26 November 2019, ANACOM launched a joint public consultation with the Government on the provision of the universal postal service after the end of the current concession, having approved the public consultation report on 9 March 2020. The public consultation report included a series of opinions and recommendations of this Authority on issues related to the exercise of powers and duties of the Government, as well as information about the matters that would be pursued by ANACOM. The draft decisions, which are now approved, take into account the contributions received during the aforesaid public consultation, sent by a total of 24 entities and citizens.
- Consultation on the provision of the universal postal service after the termination of the current concession https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1550501