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5G: Altice files injunction against Anacom to stop auction changes

5G: Altice files injunction against Anacom to stop auction changes

“Altice Portugal has filed an injunction subpoenaing Anacom to withhold consent to the 5G regulation amendment, and if such consent occurs, suspend the amendment, and then approve it,” he points out the company, in a document that Lusa had access to.

Altice understands that “the modification called for by Anacom in the Amendment Draft Regulations is clearly illegal, as it does not respect exactly what is considered absolutely necessary in a process like this: namely, the total and absolute guarantee of the stability of the bid rules, in obedience to the fundamental principles of security and legal certainty.”

When considering how it distorts even some of the strategic choices already made in earlier moments, and which can no longer be changed.”

For the company, “the principles of good faith, protection of trust and legal certainty are, therefore, violated, a situation that Altice Portugal cannot comply with.”

“Once again, Anacom, in a clumsy way and putting a ‘clean slate’ of the position of the participants, is striving to solve a fundamental problem, which is based on the misconfiguration and ‘design’ of the rules of the 5G regulation,” the operator accuses.

Lusa called, and an official source in Altice confirmed that the company made the order.

On Thursday, it was reported that Altice sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) conveying its “disapproval of successive changes to auction rules” for 5G, which it says “generates suspicion” and “soils the strategy” of each operator.

In the letter, which Lusa gained access to, and signed by CEO Alexandre Fonseca, the company began by saying that in November last year, Mio alerted the European Commission to the fact that the regulation “unfavorably favors the entry of new operators, which leads to a distortion of the situation.” Conditions for investment and competition in a market subject to active competition, despite its small size.

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Then the operator recalls the request it made, in April, to DG Connect (Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies) to take care of this matter, stating that the National Telecommunications Authority “decided to establish new rules for the competition with the alleged aim of accelerating the pace of the auction”.

According to the document, the European authorities informed Altice of receipt of this letter and the previous letter “recognizing that the matter is under analysis with other competent departments.”

“On June 29, 2021, Anacom implemented the expected amendment to the auction regulation, which stipulates that each round is 30 minutes long, with rounds to take place on weekdays between 09:00 and 19:00,” Altice notes, adding that on August 12, The regulator announced a new amendment.

This change, the operator asserts, is intended to “prevent bidders from using minimum increases, of 1% and 3%, again in the hope that such a measure may speed up the finalization of the bidding procedure, which has been dragging on for a further 150 days”.

The company later confirmed that it had “communicated to Anacom, the relevant authorities and the Portuguese government its disagreement with the successive changes to the auction rules, which generate adverse doubts and are detrimental to the strategy set by each operator,” Altice wrote.

In addition, the operator asserts that “there is no reason to rush to justify the consequences of the disproportionate appreciation of public income inherent in increases of 10%, 15% or 20%”.

“Therefore, the Portuguese regulator appears to be more interested in optimizing the revenue arising from spectrum availability than in completing the auction, and obtaining compensation in line with the investment efforts that the operators will be required to implement,” the operator guarantees, adding that it is a policy that, in its view, is “incompatible with the objectives National and European countries for the rapid development of the 5G network.

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The draft regulation with the new changes to the 5G auction approved by Anacom in Diário da República (DR) has been published on August 27 and is under public consultation until next Friday.