Competition wants end of loyalty in telecommunications to promote 5G auction – Economy

Very similar prices and many complaints in the telecommunications are a sign that the commercial dynamics “is not working”, and that the end of the loyalty must be considered, defended this Tuesday the president of the Competition Authority, in a parliamentary hearing.

“If there is a loyalty policy like the current one, there will be no interest from new competitors in the 5G auction”, which is scheduled for October and December, said Margarida Matos Rosa, in a hearing at the Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing commission, on request BE.

The president of the Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC), citing official data, reminded deputies that the average expenditure on telecommunications is 700 euros per year per family, a figure she considered “very” high and which leads to a need to promote a “pressure” on costs and quality of service.

“It is essential to take advantage” of the current moment, he said, after remembering that the telecommunications sector is one of the ones that has “most importance” for the economy and families, and that the digitization process has become essential with the pandemic, telework, online commerce and distance learning.

But the cost of these services is high when compared to the rest of the European Union, which is “a concern” for the AdC, even before the 5G auction (fifth generation mobile), which was stopped due to the pandemic and was recently relaunched for the end of the year.

The AdC reminded the deputies of the recommendations, sent at the end of last year to the Government, regarding rules in the 5G that allow the entry of new operators, the loyalty that creates barriers to the mobility of consumers and prevents effective competition, defending a spectrum reserve in the 5G tracks “most interesting and if possible with a discount” final.

“If there is no auction that allows new operators to enter, this will remain so and we have to do something”, he told the deputies, defending the creation of the legislative conditions that allow the entry of new operators and, furthermore, that in bands relevant to 5G, spectrum should be reserved for new operators.

“Customers will want faster internet, they want 5G,” he said, thus explaining the need for this reservation for new operators and also defending the “importance” of giving access to operators who do not buy spectrum themselves, but who pay for the use of the spectrum of others.

The President of AdC also defended, when it comes to 5G, that there should be national ‘roaming’, but she stressed that there are risks of network sharing, which lead that “for too many years there are conditions, among those who share the network, that are too similar without additional investment. “.

About a month ago, also in the parliamentary committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, about competition in the telecommunications sector and consequences in the implementation of 5G, at the request of Bloco de Esquerda (BE), the president of the Autoridade Nacional de Communications (Anacom), João Cadete de Matos, said that Portugal compares poorly with other countries not only “in terms of prices” but also “in terms of the number of operators”.

João Cadete de Matos also defended before the deputies that the auction for the allocation of 5G licenses is an “opportunity to break barriers that exist” in the sector, namely the entry of new operators.

“In Portugal, we have been taking steps to create conditions so that the auction of frequencies that will take place is an opportunity to break some barriers that exist”, such as “the entry of new operators”, he said.