Anacom today advanced with the public communication of the regulatory framework for the activity of virtual mobile operators (MVNO), although anticipating these rules to the obligation for current operators to open their networks to accept this new model of mobile service provision. The possibility of introducing virtual mobile operators in Portugal, where the market is already very competitive, has been much discussed, with the regulator delaying a regulatory definition that was required by the various players.
The decision was already ratified on 9 February, but the document has only just been published, defining Anacom that intends to “make regulation transparent and predictable, in order to create conditions for the desirable entry of MVNO in the market”. Aligning the various possible MVNO models, Anacom determines that to start the activity, they have to communicate their intention to the regulator (a model already applied in other areas of communications) and that the payment of spectrum fees is not required.
It is recalled that there are already some companies operating in Portugal in a model similar to the MVNO, namely UZO and Rede4, by direct agreement with TMN and Sonaecom. However, according to the regulation, no mobile operator is obliged to open its network to other companies, a requirement that would be defined by the determination of “significant market power in the access and origination of calls on public mobile networks.
The analysis of this market has not yet been completed, but Anacom points out that the current regulatory framework allows the framing of MVNO activities that arise as a result of the desirable free negotiation between companies.
In order to start operating with MVNOs, it is necessary to communicate this intention to the regulator in advance, even without having an agreement signed with an operator to use the network. Following the communication, Anacom will issue the authorization, stating the rights regarding access and interconnection or installation of resources.
The rights defined include the assignment of number ranges, which can be from the mobile network (starting at 9), short numbers in ranges 16 and 18 for customer services, or non-geographic services.
MVNOs are also exempt from paying spectrum fees as they do not have rights to use frequencies for the provision of mobile telephone service. Fees will continue to be borne by licensed operators.
For further clarification, Anacom also defines in the document the different MVNO operation models, which in addition to having their own infrastructures, require a direct contractual relationship with the end customer. In this way, MVNO light can be considered, with a reduced or zero number of network infrastructure and which may even dispense with the issuance of SIM cards, or a full MVNO, which already has elements of the transmission system and infrastructure. network structure, including switches and can issue your own SIM cards. In between are other models that can be adopted according to the operators’ agreement.
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2005-07-24 – Interview: «In practice, an MVNO would not function more independently than we do»
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