Portuguese MNOs sign up for controversial 5G auction; Dense Air also registers

2 Dec 2020

After weeks of bitter acrimony and legal threats, Portugal´s three mobile network operators have all reluctantly submitted applications to take part in the country’s impending 5G spectrum auction. According to Reuters, Nos, Vodafone and MEO all filed their applications for the auction shortly before the 26 November deadline.

Meanwhile, a report from local new site Observador quotes a spokesperson from small cell wholesale provider Dense Air Portugal, confirming that the company has also registered its interest in the bidding process. It remains to be seen whether Grupo MASMOVIL-backed Nowo will follow through with its threat to take part in the auction, however. The prospect of cableco/MVNO Nowo entering the MNO fray prompted Altice Portugal administrator Joao Zuquete da Silva to hit out at ‘parasitic investment operators’ who seek to capitalise on the work of companies that have been investing in the Portuguese economy for several decades.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes, ANACOM) unveiled its 5G auction rules last month, prompting anger from the trio of incumbents. One of the most contentious rules concerns ANACOM’s desire to encourage new market entrants to participate in the bidding process, by setting aside an allocation of spectrum (900MHz/1800MHz) and granting newcomers nationwide roaming access for a period of ten years.