Find out about ANACOM's main activities in 2021

ANACOM provides its Report on Regulation, Supervision and Other Activities 2021 This Authority has undertaken its mission of regulating the communications sector with the objective of fully ensuring the sustained development of the sector, the promotion and defence of competition, and the protection of the rights and interests of consumers and other users.

The year 2021 was marked by the completion of the consignment of spectrum relevant to 5G, in the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz bands, as well as other frequency bands, which were made available together in the auction which began in October 2020. Having overcome the vicissitudes associated with the length of the process, ANACOM emphasises that the result of the multi-band auction achieved its underlying objectives, namely to promote greater competition in the electronic communications market since, in addition to the participation of operators already present in the market, two new companies now hold rights of use of frequencies in bands designated for the provision of terrestrial electronic communications services.

This Authority expects that these new market entries will lead to increased levels of competition, thereby helping users to obtain the maximum benefit in terms of choice, price and quality of service. This will also be helped by the fact that network access obligations have been imposed on operators already present in the market who have acquired rights of use of frequencies over a minimum amount of spectrum in the 700 MHz or 3.6 GHz bands during the auction.

The result of the Auction is also relevant in the context of strengthening and developing the existing operations, which, together with the new market entries and the obligations of coverage, network development and reinforcement of the voice signal, imposed on several operators, will allow the strengthening of the country's economic and social cohesion. This should ensure that the new technological, network and systems developments in a 5G environment, along with the offers supported in technologies/services of a more traditional nature, reduce the country's digital divide.

Throughout 2021, ANACOM monitored legislative developments in the area of digital regulation, with particular emphasis on the Digital Decade Roadmap, the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the Data Governance Act, the Data Act, the Artificial Intelligence Act and the Portuguese Charter on Human Rights in the Digital Era, approved by Law 27/2021 of 17 May. In this context, ANACOM participated in public consultations promoted by the European Commission on the Data Act, the Declaration of Digital Principles and the Digital Decade Roadmap, and ANACOM submitted an opinion in November 2021, as part of the legislative process which approved the Portuguese Charter on Human Rights in the Digital Era.

With regard to economic regulation, in addition to having begun the reviews of markets 1 and 2 of Recommendation (EU) 2020/2245, through the preparation of requests for information on market data requested from the operators present in the market, the annual review of prices of circuits connecting the mainland and the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira (CAM circuits) and of prices of circuits connecting several islands of the Azores (inter-island circuits), carried by submarine cables owned by MEO, was undertaken within the leased lines reference offer (LLRO) and the reference Ethernet leased lines offer (RELLO). Within this scope, ANACOM approved a reduction of the (maximum) prices of the ring connections of the CAM circuits by 13% and the maintenance of the (maximum) prices of the inter-island circuits in the RELLO. With regard to the LLRO, it was decided to maintain the (maximum) prices in force.

In the context of interconnection, the entry into force of the single maximum tariff for termination of voice calls on fixed and mobile networks at European Union level, set by Delegated Regulation, should be highlighted. As a result of its application, the maximum price of 0.36 euro (established by ANACOM's decision of 20 February 2020 will be maintained in Portugal for call termination on mobile networks until 2024, when the maximum termination rate will be 0.20 euro. With regard to fixed network call termination prices, in accordance with the Delegated Regulation, as of 1 July 2021 the maximum price for fixed network voice termination will be 0.07 euro cents per minute, with billing per minute from the first second. Also with regard to interconnection, ANACOM's decision on the migration of traffic associated with 112 and 117 to IP interconnection should be noted.

With regard to the electronic communications universal service, we highlight Decree-Law 66/2021 of 30 July, which creates the social tariff for the provision of broadband internet access services (also simply called the internet social tariff - IST) and which aims to enable families on low incomes or with special social needs to access fixed or mobile broadband internet services. In this context, ANACOM has been active in several areas with a view to making IST operational, with particular emphasis on actions to ensure both an expeditious way for operators to submit IST requests to ANACOM and receive the respective eligibility response, as well as interoperability with the Public Administration platform with a view to consultation to confirm the eligibility conditions of potential beneficiaries. The latter required several meetings to be held in 2021 between ANACOM and the other entities involved (Agency for Administrative Modernisation, the Tax and Customs Authority and the Social Security Institute), culminating in the submission of cooperation protocols for access to information on eligibility conditions for the award of the IST.

Also noteworthy is the approval in 2021, in compliance with the aforementioned Decree-Law:

  • of the proposal on the value of the IST;
  • of the proposal on fixing the conditions necessary for the attribution, implementation and maintenance of the IST;
  • of the decision concerning the concept of an excessive burden for the provision of broadband internet access service;
  • the decision on the definition of the bandwidth (throughput) and other quality of service parameters to be observed in the IST; and
  • the initiation of the procedure for regulating the methodology for calculating the net costs of IST provision.

With regard to the postal sector, in April 2021 ANACOM approved a set of decisions aimed at adapting and establishing the regulatory framework to be applied to the new universal postal service (UPS) provider(s), covering various matters:

  • criteria for setting prices of the universal postal service; quality of service parameters and performance targets associated with the provision of the universal postal service;
  • distribution of postal items in premises other than the household; concept of an unreasonable financial burden for the purpose of compensating the net cost of the universal postal service;
  • methodology for calculating the net cost of the universal postal service and information to be provided by the UPS provider(s) to users.

Council of Ministers Resolution 144/2021, which determined that the new concession contract should be entered into under direct award for a period of seven years, CTT having been invited to submit a proposal, and the amendments to the Postal Law, approved during 2022 by Decree-Law 22-A/2022 of 7 February, introduced awards under the provision of the UPS and in the obligations of the respective provider. In this context, there was a change in the definition of price formation criteria and quality obligations of the UPS, with the result that the decision on the criteria to be followed in forming prices for postal services will not apply in the context of the new concession contract, while the decision on quality of service parameters and performance goals will be in force on a transitional basis, until new parameters are established.

With a view to promoting local justice, ANACOM has established cooperation protocols with municipalities and parish councils to make it quicker, more expeditious and less costly, particularly for citizens and businesses, to carry out enquiries outside the municipalities where ANACOM has facilities, and which are justified in the context of the penalties imposed through the administrative offence proceedings brought, investigated and decided by ANACOM.

The Report on Regulation, Supervision and Other Activities 2021 was submitted to the Portuguese Parliament and the Government, in accordance with the applicable legislation.