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5G to arrive in Portugal within weeks, says ANACOM chief

After a long yawn-out auction of 5G-friendly spectrum, Joao Cadete says operators in Portugal are revving up for commercial launch.

Joao Cadete, head of Portuguese regulator ANACOM, seems confident Portugal will soon put to bed its embarrassing status as one of only two countries in Europe – the other is Lithuania – that doesn’t have 5G.

Speaking to media after an epic 200-day auction of spectrum, which swelled government coffers by nearly €567 million, Cadete indicated – as reported by Reuters – that once one or two administrative wrinkles are ironed out then operators will be pretty much ready to go.

“It will be quick… maybe a few weeks,” said ANACOM’s chief before adding – no doubt with the country’s ‘big three’ in mind – that the auction will bring “much-needed competition in Portugal.”

Vodafone Portugal, however, couldn’t resist have another dig at ANACOM about the auction’s design, with CEO Mário Vaz was far from happy. “I am disappointed that the auction regulation was poorly thought out and designed and its excessive delay, which resulted in a significant delay in the implementation of 5G in Portugal compared to other European countries,” he said in statement. “[It will have] harmful consequences for the Portuguese, companies and the economy in general.”

Aside from Vodafone Portugal, NOS and MEO picking up various licence concessions, two  newcomers look set arrived on the mobile scene: cable operator Telecom Nowo, owned by Spain’s Masmovil, and Dixarobil, which belongs to Romanian group DigNi.

Dense Air Portugal, part of London-headquartered Dense Air Group, which focuses on the “neutral host” model, also won 5G licence concessions to shore up its existing 3GHz spectrum. It won’t be making splash in Portugal’s 5G retail market, however, as it’s sticking to wholesale.

Who got what?

All the details are here from ANACOM, but not exactly in a format that makes it easy to get a quick overview.

In summary, NOS splashed out the most (around €165m) and acquired more spectrum than anyone else. Inevitably, perhaps, it declared itself the auction’s “winner.”

For its money, NOS secured 100MHz in the 3.6GHz band and 2x10MHz in the 700MHz band (all for 5G). It also acquired 2x5MHz in the 2100MHz band and 2x2MHz at 900MHz band, which NOS says will be used to “reinforce its 4G network and improve the quality of service throughout the entire country”.
As for Vodafone Portugal, it paid €38.4 million for 700MHz spectrum (2x10MHz) and €94.8 million, for 90MHz at 3.6GHz.

MEO paid around €125.23m spectrum in multiple bands (700MHz, 900MHz, 2.1GHz and 3.6GHz).

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