15th APDC Congress – Horta e Costa reiterates that new operators have favorable conditions to compete

COLLAB distinguished with the APDC / Siemens Innovation Award

(Updated) Miguel Horta e Costa again stressed that PT’s competitors have more favorable conditions than their European peers to compete. Horta e Costa stresses that PT’s competitors have cheaper offers on broadband than their European peers, which, in their opinion, reflects «that the wholesale conditions of the Portuguese market are good». The official stressed that it is the innovative services that give competitors the ability to gain market share.

In the traditional panel of the State of the Nation, the topic of cable and copper separation assumed a prominent place, with Horta and Costa once again arguing that this measure would have more negative effects than positive effects and would send a little positive signal to the market, which could influence the investment availability of other companies, a position that is also defined in the study commissioned by the operator from an American professor.

Horta e Costa considers that it takes time to understand the effects of the regulation that has been implemented, within the scope of the definition of relevant markets. Moving ahead with new measures before they take effect intensifies the risks of over-regulation, considered Horta and Costa, to justify their disagreement regarding the implementation of structural measures such as the separation of the cable, which in fact it considers to be without legal basis. «We are hostage to the discussion of the separation of the cable, the mobile, the fixed. The customer is in pain whether it is reliable and cheap services», he stressed.

António Carrapatoso, president of Vodafone Portugal shared the same opinion, considering that «first the non-structural measures are to be implemented and after these hypotheses are exhausted, the structural measures must then be advanced». However, this official recalled that PT controls 67 percent of the Portuguese telecommunications market and is the Portuguese company with the most weight in the economy in terms of added value, which justifies a more attentive action by the regulator.

Still regarding the dangers of regulation, the CEO of PT exemplified that when he informed the regulator of his intention to launch an aggregate offer of minutes in the base price of his offer, he imposed that the incumbent should launch a rental line offer before that . «After doing this, they tell us that we now have to gather 150 thousand accesses in the wholesale offer in order to move forward». Horta e Costa believes that this type of protection is depriving users of new services.

It is recalled that a person in charge of the European Commission’s DG for Competition revealed today that the complaint lodged in Brussels by Sonaecom will have a response within a month and a half at the most. At that point the operator will know whether the EC will proceed with an assessment of the basis for the complaint, which determines the progress of the investigation, or not.

Called on to comment on this information and to explain why PT chose not to send its arguments to the EC, Horta e Costa said that «the process is ongoing and our lawyers are taking the necessary steps».

Editorial note [18:29]: The news has been updated to include statements by the CEO of PT.

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