Last week, on the 60th day of the main bidding, Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (Anacom) announced that it “decided to initiate a procedure to amend the relevant regulation” to expedite the 5G auction, until today – 15 April – interested parties to submit their contributions and proposals.
On Wednesday, Altice Portugal CEO Alexander Fonseca told Lusa and Diário de Notícias (DN) that the company is “studying legal mechanisms”, which may be subject to precautionary measures, to prevent the changes proposed by the entity headed by João Cadet de Matos.
“Altice Portugal today presented its pronunciation” on the subject, “totally rejecting these measures and arguing that the rules should remain unchanged,” the company said, in a statement.
“The opposite situation would deserve that Altice Portugal resort to all the assumptions at its disposal to prevent changes to 5G regulations,” added the owner of Meo.
Altice asserts that the proposal put forward by the regulator “is clearly illegal and, if approved, would create even greater disruption in a strategic and fundamental process for the country’s future.”
He criticizes that it is a process “undermined from the start by the wrong choices made by the regulatory authority” for electronic communications.
“In an unprecedented performance at the European level, Anacom intends, several months after the entry into force of the 5G regulation and when we are close to 400 major bidding rounds, to make a sudden change in the basic aspects of the approved auction procedures,” continues the company.
He notes that this change of rules “in the middle of the game” “is unacceptable and too cumbersome for all bidders, in a desperate attempt to correct the mistakes of the past and to introduce aspects that he did not care enough about. The 5G regulation, meaning the ability to print an auction quickly.”
Therefore, the owner of Meo considers that “there are no reasons why Anacom will now amend the established rules through a disproportionate, unjustified and malicious change” and concluded, “This is another reason why this auction is so successful. Country concerns.”
The position of Altice Portugal is followed by NOS and Vodafone Portugal.
Speaking to Lusa today, NOS CEO Filipa Carvalho said the operator will proceed with precaution.
Philippa Carvalho assured that we will take precautionary measures, stressing that “there are no exceptional circumstances that justify changing” the rules, neither the subject of the epidemic nor the duration of the auction, nor the subject in question. In the launch of 5G, “because the operators’ obligations” remain the same. “
Among the changes – aimed at making the number of daily rounds greater possible – reduce the duration of the rounds (60 to 15 minutes), and / or extend the period of the daily bidding period, while providing the possibility that, “if necessary, prevent the use of the minimum increments that bidders can The bids selected in a given round (1% and 3%).
The NOS CEO noted that there was a “set of errors” in Ancom’s performance, which she described as “fluctuations.”
The first mistake is “changing the rules in the middle of the game and violating the principle of trust.”
Through the established rules, the operators establish the bidding strategy.
“When you change the rules, you change the way you play,” he said.
For example, with regard to the possibility proposed by the regulator to change the way the price is set, removing 1% and 3% increases in bids, this affects the strategic approach and negotiation that has been going on thus far between bidders and “changes the dynamics” of the game.
These changes, according to NOS, are neither minor nor minor and will have an impact on the outcome of the auction.
He also criticized the creation of “the tension of public interest versus private interest, when it does not exist.”
In fact, “operators are on the side of the public interest,” and now “they cannot be harmed in what is a dynamic feature of the auction.” Add to that the topic of “wrong comparisons” between countries.
The regulator stated that flexibility in determining raises “is the norm that has been used in other spectrum auctions, particularly in the auctions, for multiple rounds, which have recently taken place in Europe, such as Germany (2018), Finland (2018), Italy (2018) and Slovakia ( 2020) ”.
In any of the four mentioned countries, according to the NOS, the regulator has increased the minimum increase.
The company’s official source, who was also contacted today, said, “Vodafone Portugal will respond to public advice and will not waive any legal initiatives if it deems it appropriate.”
The lawsuit has been widely challenged by historical operators, including lawsuits, precautionary measures and complaints submitted to Brussels, arguing that the regulation has “illegal” and “discriminatory” procedures, which encourage divestment.