As it should be, the New Generation Networks were in focus in the debate of the State of the Nation, of the 19th Congress of the APDC, where some operators again contested the model chosen for the creation of these networks, claiming that they can limit the capacity of sector investment and create new monopolies.
The question was raised by Ângelo Paupério, Sonaecom’s executive president, in a context of concern for the future. Noting that the data published today by Anacom show that Sonaecom is the leader in fiber, the head of the PT Group company shows his concern with the sustainability of the sector, which «is more vigorous than ever but has not grown in value», which raises problems with the speed with which companies are able to modernize and invest.
While stressing that the telecommunications sector was one of those that showed greater resilience in the face of the current crisis, he points out that it is necessary to find other ways to make networks and services more profitable.
As for the RNGs, the model chosen «is not the model we like. We would like an optimized investment model and not a proliferation of networks», he stresses, although he recognizes that in the areas where the creation of rural networks was chosen, there is greater rationality. In another type of model «we would have had more investment capacity and to ensure commercialization», he assures.
The same idea is defended by António Coimbra, executive president of Vodafone, who did not sign the protocol with the Government for RNGs. This official recalls that it is known that there is no room for more than one infrastructure and that there is a risk of falling into the same mistake that was made with the creation of the cable network, where everyone could invest but in fact the ability to investment was limited. «RNGs will perpetuate the free model and not shared networks […]we will create economic inefficiency and compromise new investments in the long term «, he stresses, stating that» we could do more in an economically healthier way «.
«We hope that in a few years’ time we will not be all criticizing that there is a monopoly and that regulation is necessary», stresses António Coimbra.
Making similar accounts of economic profitability, Xavier Martin da Oni recalls that there is only room for 1.5 RNG networks and that it does not make sense to overlap investments, draining service resources and other important resources.
On the opposite side of the barrier, Zeinal Bava defends the importance of fiber investment to increase the weight of telecommunications in GDP, which could go from the current 3.5% to 4.5%, increasing a percentage point that can represent 1.6 billion euros in revenue.
«Worse than a bad decision is a non-decision», explains Zeinal Bava, recalling that PT decided to invest in fiber at a time of economic uncertainty, with the support of PT’s management but with the confidence that this is a structuring investment . «The network that each operator has is not a commodity, it is added value, and the architecture of each network is different,» he stresses.
For the president of PT, this is not a time trial project for the operator, but a medium and long term one, which will also allow Portugal to export technology and services that are being developed here, including the slicing fiber.
In relation to the dispute with Zon over what is and what is not fiber, Zeinal Bava admits that over time customers will notice the difference because the bandwidth needs of Upload and download will grow significantly and other technologies will not support it.