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5G and DTT: “conditions are right” to resume work but “prudence” is needed

The COVID-19 pandemic led Anacom to suspend the migration process of the DTT network in mid-March and the public consultation of the 5G auction. Now, the Secretary of State for Communications, Alberto Souto de Miranda, guarantees that "there will be conditions" to resume both processes, albeit cautiously, admitting that "operators are now less enthusiastic because they have more limited financial capabilities" .

According to the Lusa agency, the statements were made during the parliamentary committee on economics, innovation, public works and housing this Wednesday. "I believe that now there will be conditions of social movement and techniques to, with prudence, continue this migration so that the process is concluded," said the secretary.

Alberto Souto de Miranda referred to the migration of the 700 MHz frequency from DTT, which is essential for the start-up of 5G. Anacom defined the bands for 5G in 2018, and at the time it was expected that this process would take place between the end of 2019 and June 30, 2020. The working group that is monitoring the migration of the spectrum band started work in July 2019.

As for the 5G process, "there will also be conditions" to resume, he guarantees, after the operators have initially requested the extension of the auction's public consultation period due to the pandemic. "But one thing is the definition of rights [for assigning 5G frequencies], another thing is the respective payment," he explained.

The draft auction regulation for the allocation of 5G licenses in Portugal was presented on February 10 and, through public consultation, operators have the possibility to present their considerations on the document. After the public consultation and the results were evaluated, still in March, the auction should start in April 2020, ending in June 2020, concluding the spectrum allocation procedures between June and August of this year, which was in line with the plans that Anacom had already defined.

need to think about new rules in teleworking, argues Alberto Souto de Miranda

In the parliamentary committee, the COVID-19 pandemic was a naturally spoken topic. During this period of "accelerated digitization phenomenon", with teleworking and distance learning, Alberto Souto de Miranda guarantees that the networks were resilient, with no record of network and connectivity difficulties. This is despite the increase in traffic, which in some segments exceeded 60%, he explains.

In this exceptional phase, the secretary also warns of the fact that "in the case of teleworking, respect for working hours does not exist". "There are workers who are on permanent call", he exemplifies. Referring to the "right to be disconnected", Alberto Souto de Miranda stated that it is necessary to reflect on this change. "We will have to think about these new rules of work at a distance. Teleworking" is here to stay, mobility can change too ", he concluded.