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Altice Portugal slams ANACOM 700MHz clearance schedule

Altice Portugal has slammed local regulator ANACOM’s plans for clearance of the 700MHz band currently used for digital-terrestrial broadcasting.

Describing the timetable presented by the regulator as “unrealistic and impossible to meet”, the operator said that ANACOM had disregarded the need to carry out technical work ahead of the rollout of new transmitters. 

Altice Portugal disclaimed liability for the timing of the rollout, referring to warnings ti says it has made to the regulator. 

Altice proposed a transition that would kick off in February and end off July 24 next year. It said it would still be able to meet the target of releasing 700MHz spectrum between June and August next year. It said it would also be able to begin a pilot for the transition on November 27 as required by ANACOM. 

In October, ANACOM unveiled plans for the allocation of two blocks of 30MHz of 700MHz spectrum as part of its plan to take forward the development of 5G. 

Altice and ANACOM have repeatedly clashed over the 700MHz clearance. 

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.