MASMOVIL reconsidering Portugal plans, report says

9 May 2022

Spanish operator Grupo MASMOVIL, which owns Portuguese cableco Nowo, is considering abandoning its plans to launch a Portuguese mobile network, Expansion reports. Previously, in October 2021 Nowo was confirmed as the winning bidder of 1800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz spectrum in Portugal’s multi-band 5G spectrum auction; the telco paid EUR70.2 million (USD74.0 million) for the frequencies.

MASMOVIL – which acquired certain spectrum blocks reserved for new bidders – faced unexpected competition from fellow newcomer Dixarobil Telecom, which is owned by Romania’s Digi Communications. The latter company has enjoyed notable success in Spain with its cut-price MVNO/fibre proposition, and MASMOVIL is understood to be concerned by Dixarobil’s launch plans.

Dixarobil – which paid EUR67.3 million for spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz bands – plans to launch commercial mobile services in 2H22. Expansion notes that a Portuguese JV between the two new players is now a credible option.