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ANACOM unveils revised 700MHz clearance plan

Portuguese media regulator ANACOM has given some ground to telco Altice Portugal/Meo on the timetable for the clearance of the 700MHz spectrum for mobile applications in the country following a spat between the pair over the phasing of the project, but the outline of the change will remain the same.

ANACOM said it had made its timetable “more flexible” to take Meo’s concerns into account. However, it said the transfer of digital-terrestrial TV services from the spectrum would, as planned, begin in the south of the country and end with the change taking place in the Azores and Madeira, the source of the disagreement between the pair.

ANACOM has asked Meo to conduct a pilot project on November 27 and to set out a detailed plan for the 240 transmitters that make up the Portuguese DTT network, indicating the date at which each transmitter will be changed.

The outlining of the plan follows a dispute between Men and the regulator over the timing and phasing of the transition.

Following a visit by Altice Portugal president Alexandre Fonseca to Madeira in September, where he was critical of the watchdog’s approach to the transition and said that Portugal was in danger of falling behind other European countries in the rollout of 5G, ANACOM said that, at the time of its consultation on 5G last year, Altice had argued that the allocation of 700MHz spectrum should only take place after 2020, delaying the launch of 5G until 2022.

The regulator rejected the criticism and said that it had set out a timetable in consultation with Altice technical staff. Altice is responsible for the Portuguese digital-terrestrial network that currently uses the 700MHz band.