Are LTE licences set to be awarded on 20 March? Optimus network up and running

12 Mar 2012

Portuguese business daily Economico has reported that national telecoms regulator ANACOM is set to belatedly distribute licences for the provision of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services on 20 March, allowing the country’s three wireless operators – Telecomunicacoes Moveis Nacionais (TMN), Optimus and Vodafone Portugal – to launch their respective 4G networks on a commercial basis. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, ANACOM’s auction for LTE-suitable frequencies – which encompassed spectrum in the 450MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz bands – commenced on 28 November 2011, with all three incumbent cellcos participating in the process.

Optimus, the mobile unit of Sonaecom, itself the communications arm of the Portuguese conglomerate Sonae, is the latest mobile operator to confirm the readiness of its LTE network, with CEO Miguel Almeida admitting last week that, ‘strictly speaking’ Optimus is already using the technology, and that the cellco is in a position to launch commercial services ‘the same day’ as it is issued a licence by ANACOM. In January 2012 Vodafone Portugal released the first price plans relating to its imminent LTE launch, with the operator poised to unveil the 4G service in 13 cities as soon as ANACOM issues it with the necessary approvals. The LTE network – which is initially only available using the new ‘Vodafone Connect Pen K5005’ USB dongle (priced at EUR159.99 [USD210.4]) – will go live in Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Braga, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Faro, Guarda, Leira, Santarem, Setubal, Funchal and Ponta Delgada.