ANACOM launches process for renewal of mobile operators' licenses

ANACOM - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações decided to initiate the proceedings for renewal of the rights of use of GSM and DCS 1800 frequencies by VODAFONE and TMN. The regulator wants to take advantage of the renewal of licenses in order to better safeguard consumers' interests, namely by reinforcing their coverage obligations and by defining quality of service indicators for their data services.

It is the understanding of the regulator that further aspects might still be taken into account in connection with the process of mobile operators' license renewal. Amongst these are the definition of conditions for spectrum's secondary commerce, the definition of tariffs applicable to the renewal of mobile operators' rights of use and the access and interconnection duties resulting from the declaration of GSM operators with SMP (significant market power).

Following the decision to carry on with the process of license renewal, the regulator will promote a public consultation in July in the scope of which operators and consumers will have the chance to state their opinion regarding the changes to be made to the operation of the services.

Mobile operators' licenses were ascribed for a 15-year period and the issue of their renewal is more pressing for Vodafone and TMN since their licenses will be the first ones to mature. Optimus' license only matures in 2012. In any case, the framework to be defined now will regulate all the renewals of the rights of frequency use, since the regulator opted not to take this process as a single event.

The operators must place their request for a 15-year license renewal at least one year before the date of maturity of their licenses.

Vodafone, whose license matures in October 2006, was the only operator to ask for renewal of its rights of frequency use. TMN's license matures in 2007.