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ANACOM wants to increase competition in mobile communications with BWA

Sapo opens laboratory at the University of Aveiro

ANACOM has just announced the timetable and model for the provision of broadband access frequency bands wireless, BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) that integrates other technologies such as WiMax. The communications regulator states that the allocation of the first frequencies in the 3400-3600 MHz and 3600-3800 MHz bands should occur in the first quarter of 2008 but that «there should be a limitation on the allocation of rights to use frequencies».

The opening of these bands may lead to the appearance of new operators on the market, especially in the mobile area, ANACOM says in a statement. Current mobile operators and operators with significant market power in broadband are prevented in the first phase from accessing these frequencies.

In terms of bands to be made available, ANACOM intends to release the bands 3400-3600 MHz, 3600-3800 MHz for fixed, nomadic and mobile applications, with the 5725-5875 MHz band being limited to fixed and nomadic modes. These bands were reserved in the National Frequency Board for aeronautical, fixed and other mobile systems.

The frequencies 3400-3600MHz and 3600-3800 MHz are the most coveted and ANACOM will be able to associate a spectrum amount of 2×28 MHz, favoring a model for allocating usage rights by zones instead of a national model. It is in this field that the alternatives of new operators of mobile services can be enhanced wireless.

According to the regulator’s statement, in the 3400-3600 MHz and 3600-3800 MHz band, limitations must be placed taking into account the interest revealed in the public consultation and the amount of spectrum that is available. For the attribution of licenses, a Public Tender or an Auction may be held, but ANACOM admits that the latter modality is the most appropriate, being more transparent to all interested parties, also stimulating the efficient use of the spectrum.

The Auction, to be held, must take place in two phases, the first being restrictions on entry to entities that already have spectrum in the 3400-3800 MHz band, which have been designated with significant market power in the broadband market or already licensed to provide the public land mobile service. These criteria exclude the three mobile operators and Portugal Telecom, among other companies.

The timetable and model now defined follow a public consultation on the matter to which 19 entities responded. The regulator should launch in the third quarter of this year a new consultation on the limitation of rights and procedure for the selection of operators, which will support the decision on the launch of a Public Tender or Auction.

Related News:

2007-01-19 – Harmonization of BWA systems with draft decision in public consultation

2006-11-29 – Anacom moves forward with public consultation for BWA