Price Convention for the Telecommunications Universal Service

On 30 December, the Directorate-General for Commerce and Competition, ANACOM and PT Comunicações (PTC) agreed the price convention for the telecommunications universal service.

Pursuant to article 11 of Decree-Law 458/99 of 5 November, the convention establishes the price regime applicable to the following provisions of the telecommunications universal service: telephone fixed service (TFS) in the subscriber mode (including the connection and subscription of the analogue network line and telephone communications within the Country), telephone fixed service (TFS) in the public pay telephone mode (telephone communications within the Country), as well as telephone directories and information service. Moreover, it determines the obligations of PTC as to retired clients and pensioners with a low income, residential clients with a low consumption and clients with special needs.

The prices of the universal service offers shall take into account the progressive adjustment of prices to costs, comply with the transparency and non-discrimination principles and ensure accessibility to all users. For this purpose, it is incumbent upon PT Comunicações to maintain a system of analytical cost accounting which enables the determination of costs concerning the offers provided under it as well as to publicize the prices in force and respective application conditions.

In practical terms, the application of the progressive adjustment to the costs and accessibility requirements means, regarding TFS subscribers, a weighted average variation of the prices not above IPC - 2,75 p.p. for 2003, as to communications within the Country. PT Comunicações is also put under the obligation to make available an optional price plan which shall benefit mostly residential clients with lowtelephone consumption.

The new Price Convention awaits the necessary ratification, by the Minister for Economy, which shall be followed by its publication on the Diário da República.