2015 and 2016 have proven to be dynamic years in the TMT industry.

Recent developments in the TMT business environment saw the clearance by the European Commission on 20 April 2015 under Article 6(1)(b) of the EU Merger Regulation of the acquisition by Altice of the control of the Portuguese assets of PT Portugal SGPS (holder of MEO), subject to conditions and obligations.2 The Commission’s decision was conditional upon the divestment of Altice in ONI, a provider of communication services to business customers, and Cabovisão, an operator that provides pay-TV, fixed internet and fixed telephony services to residential customers. Such conditions were met through the acquisition by Cabolink (held by the APAX France investment fund), in October 2015, of the sole control of Cabovisão, Winreason and Oni SGPS, a concentration that the Portugese Competition Authority (AdC) decided not to oppose, in November 2015.

These developments in the business environment, together with the merger between ZON and Optimus completed in May 2014, and the new brand, NOS, are having a significant impact on the convergence of fixed and mobile infrastructures and bundled services.

By the end of 2015, 80 per cent of private households were using bundled services, representing an increase of 7.3 percentage points above the previous year. The penetration of fixed and mobile broadband internet continued to rise, reaching 30.3 per cent and 53.2 per cent, respectively, and data traffic also increased – 30.1 per cent in fixed broadband and 38.2 per cent in the case of mobile data. The rise in the consumption of mobile data was the result of the increase in the penetration of smartphone devices, which reached 66.7 per cent and 5.5 million users in Portugal. Also by the end of June 2016, there were 3.35 million customers receiving offers of bundled services in Portugal, an increase of 1.4 per cent compared with the previous quarter and 7.6 per cent compared with June 2015. As such, 82.1 out of every 100 households in Portugal had a bundle of electronic communications services. This growth in bundled services results from increased numbers of quintuple-play and of triple-play customers (+22,000 subscribers over this period).3

Postal traffic is in a declining annual trend resulting from the increased substitution of postage by electronic communications.4 But on the other hand, Grupo CTT still has a share of 94.6 per cent of total postal traffic despite the liberalisation of the sector and the 69 operational providers in the market.5 After proper investigation, in August 2016 the AdC sent a statement of objections to CTT – Correios de Portugal SA (CTT) outlining its preliminary view that the company is abusing its dominant position by refusing its competitors access to its standard mail delivery network since 2012, in breach of national and EU competition rules.6

Given its external impact, it is important to highlight the preparatory works for the launch of the centralised information system (SIC) carried out by the National Telecommunications Authority (Anacom) in 2015, which started operating in January 2016. It consists of an IT platform for accessing updated information on the infrastructure elements for hosting electronic communications networks, including several important elements regarding spatial planning and development. The SIC is a vital tool for reinforcing competition in the sector, since it will provide access to information about the capacity available for the installation of new networks. The management, maintenance and guarantee of accessibility and availability of this platform is now an important challenge to Anacom.

Regarding the submarine cables7 (Ethernet CAM – Continente – Açores – Madeira [Mainland – Azores – Madeira] – and inter-island circuits) Anacom adopted temporary and urgent measures, having determined a first price reduction, of 50 per cent.

The final decision that led to a 35 per cent reduction in the price of mobile terminations was also approved in 2015.8,9

We also highlight the following regulatory and legislative developments.

The Electronic Communications Law was amended by Law No. 15/2016 of 17 June, reinforcing the protection to consumers in contracts for the provision of electronic communications services with binding periods. The operators are now obligated to adhere to certain rules, such as: transparency of information about the advantages that justify the binding periods; provide a range of options for the duration of the contract (with and without binding periods, including binding periods of six and 12 months); any charges in case of early termination of the contract by the user of a contract with a binding period must be proportionate; and reinforcement of consumer rights in case of termination of the contract by the user. These new rules only apply to contracts signed after the 16 August or to those which are amended after that date.

Law No. 49/2015 of 5 June establishes private copying levies over digital devices, such as mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, scanners, as well as support equipment (USBs, external drives, MP3 and MP4 players, memory cards, etc.). The approval of this law was highly controversial: the President vetoed the law, but it was subsequently reapproved unchanged by a qualified majority in Parliament.

Law No. 78/2015 of 29 July establishes new rules with regard to the ownership, management and financial transparency of media undertakings. The Law entered into force on 30 October, and the first disclosures of ownership and management to the regulator occured on 30 January 2016.

Online gambling is now a regulated legal activity in Portugal. Decree-Law No. 66/2015 of 29 April regulates online gambling, betting and gaming. It was expected that the first licence would be issued during Q4 2015 by the Gaming Commission of the SRIJ (Regulatory Service and Gaming Inspection). However, that only happened in May 2016 in relation to Betclic; the second licence was issued in June to Bet Entertainment Technologies Limited and the third and final licence issued, up to now, was in July to Estoril Sol Digital, Online Gaming Products and Services. Further applications for licences have already been submitted to the Gaming Commission, such as by 888.

The Online Dispute Resolution for consumer disputes, implemented by Regulation (EU) No. 524/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (ODR) is finally operational and has been available in Portuguese since February 2016.10 The ODR platform is a simple and low-cost out-of-court system of alternative settlement of disputes arising from online transactions. In addition, following the Law 144/2015 of 8 September (implementing Directive 2013/11/EU) since 24 March 2016 all electronic communications services providers must inform the users (whenever consumers) through their website and in their terms and conditions about all the dispute resolution entities to which they may refer in the event of a dispute.

BEREC has approved and disclosed on 30 August 2016 the Guidelines on the Implementation by National Regulators of European Net Neutrality Rules. The Guidelines on the Implementation of European Net Neutrality Rules have been drafted in accordance with Article 5(3) of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015.11 We believe that Anacom shall closely follow these guidelines in order to ensure compliance with the rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-user rights. These Guidelines constitute recommendations to NRAs, and NRAs should take utmost account of the Guidelines. The Guidelines should contribute to the consistent application of the Regulation, thereby contributing to regulatory certainty for stakeholders.

On 14 July, Anacom approved Regulation No. 829/2016, regarding the pre-contractual and contractual information to be provided to the public by electronic communication services and public communications networks. One of the most significant changes is the obligation of the operators to provide a simplified information sheet (FIS) about each offer in a clear and accessible form to the users, on their websites, stores and before any contract is signed, being part of it, that enables the user to compare and take an informed decision on the service chosen. Operators have a maximum period of six months to implement the obligations laid down in the Regulation. The Regulation was published in the Official Gazette on 23 August 2016.12


i The regulators

Portugal has two independent sectoral regulators: Anacom in the scope of communications, and the Regulatory Authority for the Media (ERC) with regulatory competence in the media sector. Although both regulators have responsibility for the promotion of competition and pluralism in their respective sectors, this does not preclude the powers vested with the AdC. In fact, regarding matters related to the application of the legal framework for competition in these respective sectors, Anacom, the ERC and the AdC must cooperate and collaborate with each other, and pay due regard to their respective powers.

The statutes of Anacom (formerly ICP-Anacom) were approved by Decree-Law No. 39/2015 of 16 March, under which Anacom is endowed with regulatory, supervisory, monitoring and sanctioning powers. It is also incumbent upon Anacom to promote out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms between providers subject to its regulation as well as consumers and other end-users of electronic and postal communications.

Anacom is a legal person governed by public law and statutes, and is independent from the government at the organisational, functional, technical and financial levels. Anacom is not subject to government oversight or authority in connection with its functions, and members of the government are not allowed to make recommendations or directives with regard to Anacom’s regulatory actions or the priorities it will adopt.

Anacom’s main areas of intervention are in the following areas:

  • a electronic communications networks;
  • b electronic communications services;
  • c spectrum management;
  • d radio communications services;
  • e the postal area;
  • f radio and telecommunications terminal equipment;
  • g the installation of infrastructures for telecommunications in buildings; and
  • h some aspects of information society services, namely e-commerce.

Regarding radio and television, the broadcasting and the management of the spectrum are subject to Anacom regulation and supervision.

The following is a brief outline of the main sources of law regarding communications:

  • a Law No. 5/2004 of 10 February (as subsequently amended and republished by Law No. 51/2011 of 13 September) is the main act regarding electronic communications (the Electronic Communications Law). It establishes the legal regime applicable to electronic communications networks and services and to associated services, and defines the assignment of Anacom in this field. The Electronic Communications Law adopted Directives No. 2002/19/EC, No. 2002/20/EC and No. 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March, amended by Directive No. 2009/140/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November, and Directives No. 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March, amended by Directive No. 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November, and 2002/77/EC of the Commission of 16 September.
  • b In the field of e-commerce, the main act is Decree-Law No. 7/2004 of 7 January (as subsequently amended), which transposed into the Portuguese legal system Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market.
  • c With regard to data protection, the main sources of law are Law No. 67/98 of 26 October, which transposed into the Portuguese legal system Directive 95/46/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and Law No. 41/2004 of 18 August (as subsequently amended) concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, which transposed Directive 2002/58/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July and Directive 2009/136/EC.

In the postal area, the main source of law is Law No. 17/2012 of 26 April (as subsequently amended), which lays down the legal regime that governs the provision of postal services under a full competition regime in the national territory, as well as international services to or from the national territory, and transposes into the Portuguese legal system Directive 2008/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008. The media sector is regulated by ERC. ERC is an independent regulator that is not subject to recommendations or directives from the government or any other political body. The exclusive competence of ERC is restricted to the activity of media companies from the perspective of freedom of speech and the content of media, and this competence should not collide with the competence of other regulators. In this respect, it is important to note that radio and television broadcasting and the management of the spectrum is under Anacom regulation and supervision.

In the media sector, the main sources of law are as follows:

  • a The Radio Act (Law No. 54/2010 of 24 December, as subsequently amended) concerning access to and pursuit of radio broadcasting activity in the national territory.
  • b The Television Act (Law No. 27/2007 of 30 July, as subsequently amended), which regulates access to and performance of television activities. This Law transposes into national law a part of the provisions of Council Directive No. 89/552/EEC of 3 October, as amended by Directive 97/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June, and Directive No. 2007/65/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 11 December.
  • c Law No. 78/2015 of 29 July governs the promotion of transparency with regards to ownership, management and means of financing of media undertakings. The Law entered into force on 30 October 2015. The annual corporate governance report shall be delivered by 30 April each year to the ERC and shall include a ‘truthful, complete, objective and current report on corporate governance structures and practices adopted by media companies’. In short, this regulation establishes that media companies are required to provide information on equity, liabilities, ownership and holding of corporate bodies, and related business activities.
  • d The Press Act (Law No. 2/99 of 13 January) governs the basic principles of media content and freedom of speech.
ii Regulated activities

TMT activities are fully liberalised, and the general rule is that the provision of electronic communications networks and services, whether publicly available or not, is only subject to a communication duty and to a general authorisation regime; such provision of networks or services is not dependent on any prior decision or act of Anacom. However, there are exceptions, namely:

  • a the allocation of spectrum;
  • b the use of numbering;
  • c the use of radio communications networks and stations;
  • d television broadcasting using the terrestrial spectrum; and
  • e radio broadcasting.

The space where radio waves may propagate constitutes a public domain of the state, and Anacom is responsible for the management of the spectrum in coordination with European Commission and the regulatory authorities of other Member States with regard to strategic planning, coordination and harmonisation of the use of radio spectrum in the European Union, namely in the scope of multiannual radio spectrum.

The allocation of spectrum and the assignment of frequencies should be based on objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate criteria.

The management of spectrum is subject to the principles of:

  • a technology neutrality, in accordance with which all types of technology used for electronic communications services may be used in frequency bands declared to be available for electronic communications services, and are published in the National Frequency Allocation Plan as such; and
  • b service neutrality, in accordance with which all types of electronic communications services may be provided in frequency bands declared to be available for electronic communications services, and are published in the National Frequency Allocation Plan as such.

Licences for the use of frequencies are granted for 15 years and are renewable.

The use of numbers depends on the allocation of rights of such use. Such rights may be allocated both to providers and users, and the law warrants that the allocation procedure must be open, objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportional.

The use of radio communications networks and stations is also subject to licensing. Anacom is responsible for granting licences, and the licensing procedure is ruled by Decree-Law No. 151-A/2000 of 20 July, as further amended.

With regard to television broadcasting, the licensing regulation differs according to whether there is an allocation of the terrestrial spectrum. Licences to broadcast using the terrestrial spectrum are subject to public tenders. These can be public tenders for unrestricted free-to-air television programme services, and for conditional access television programme services or free-to-air television programme services subject to a subscription. If the proposed broadcasting activity does not use the terrestrial spectrum, authorisation is given upon the request of interested undertakings. A simple registration is needed where the television activity consists of the broadcast of television programme services exclusively through the internet that are not retransmitted by other networks.

Illegal television activity is considered a criminal activity that is subject to a term of imprisonment of up to three years or to a daily pecuniary sanction for up to 320 days.

Access to radio broadcasting activity is also regulated. Radio broadcasting is conditional upon the issue of a licence by means of public tender, or of an authorisation, according to whether programme services to be provided will use the terrestrial broadcast spectrum. Radio broadcasting through the internet is only subject to registration.

Illegal radio activity is considered a criminal activity that is subject to a term of imprisonment of up to three years or to a daily pecuniary sanction for up to 320 days.

iii Ownership and market access restrictions

The TMT market is fully liberalised, and there are no foreign ownership restrictions with regard to telecom services or networks, without prejudice to the application of the legal regime of competition in the electronic communications sector.

However, there are several ownership and market restrictions in the media sector that have to be taken into consideration.

Television and radio cannot be controlled or financed by political parties or associations, local authorities or their associations, trade unions, or employer or professional associations; furthermore, radio broadcasting activity cannot be pursued directly or indirectly by the state, autonomous regions, local authorities or public institutions unless such activity is exclusively performed through the internet and consists of the organisation of institutional or scientific programme services.

Additional specific concentration and cross-ownership restrictions apply to television and radio activities. Concentration operations between media operators that fall under the intervention of the AdC are subject to a prior opinion of ERC that will be binding where there is deemed to be a risk to free expression and pluralism. Changes of control are prohibited during the first three years of the licence, and thereafter are subject to the prior consent of ERC. An undertaking also cannot hold more the 50 per cent of the licences for national unrestricted free-to-air television programme services, and there are cross-ownership restrictions with regard to radio both at the national and local level.

New rules on ownership, management and means of financing transparency are also in force for the media sector, including regarding television, radio, press and internet media content.13

According to the transparency principle:

  • a the shares of media entities must be registered shares;
  • b certain information, including direct, indirect and ultimate beneficiary ownership, and identity of the board members, the chief-editor and the auditor, must be notified to the ERC;
  • c public disclosure is mandatory whenever there is a variation in the capital stock that meets 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 per cent of the share capital or of the votes, or if there is a change of control; and
  • d shareholders’ agreements, special financial movements and corporate governance rules have to be disclosed to the ERC, and certain specific information about the shareholders must be published on the operator’s website.
iv Transfers of control and assignments

Regarding the right of use of frequencies and numbers, the general rule is that such rights are transferable upon prior notification to Anacom, which may oppose the transfer or impose conditions in order to avoid distortion of competition. In this case, the AdC shall give a prior opinion.

Licences and authorisations for television activity are non-transferable. Radio licences and authorisations at the local level are transferable, subject to the prior authorisation of ERC, without prejudice to the assignments granted by Anacom as the national communications regulatory authority and by the AdC.


i Internet and internet protocol regulation

Internet services are regulated by the Electronic Communications Law14 and by the E-Commerce Law,15 and such activity is not subject to prior authorisation but only to prior notification to Anacom.

Online intermediary service providers do not have an obligation to monitor the information that they transmit or store, or to investigate possible offences practised within their scope. However, in relation to the competent authorities, they shall:

  • a inform the authorities if they become aware of illegal activities undertaken via the services they render;
  • b comply with requests for identification of recipients of their services with whom they have entered into storage agreements;
  • c comply promptly with instructions aimed at terminating or preventing an offence, namely by removing or disabling access to given information; and
  • d supply lists of owners of hosted websites, when requested.

The guidelines issued by Anacom on VoIP date back to 2006, at which time a new 30 number range was created in the national numbering plan to accommodate nomadic VoIP numbers. Providers of VoIP services provided at a fixed location are subject to number portability obligations, but only within the 30 non-geographic numbering range. However, by decision of 14 July 2016, Anacom has approved the report on the public consultation report on the implementation of the common position of the European Regulators Group on VoIP and the conditions governing the use of geographic, nomadic and mobile numbers. Anacom will now prepare a new regulation to govern the use of geographic and mobile numbers in nomadic situations.16

ii Universal service

Currently, the following activities are covered by universal service obligations: fixed telephone services, public pay-telephones, and telephone directory and directory enquiries services; and the postal area, and radio and television.

The latest regulatory measures and financing lines for the development of the NGA networks date from late 2010. However, it is important to note that by December 2014, Portugal showed 100 per cent fixed broadband coverage and 89 per cent NGA coverage.17

iii Restrictions on the provision of service

As a general rule, prices are not regulated, but operators are subject to the obligation of the cost-orientation of prices. Anacom may intervene in cases of dominant position, and may require prices to be adjusted. For instance, in August 2015, Anacom ordered mobile operators in Portugal to cut the price of terminating calls on mobile networks by 35 per cent in order to increase competitiveness among smaller operators and make them more attractive to customers. There was also a recent intervention over customer retention and retail prices for portability operations so as to avoid market distortion.

Anacom also regularly issues guidelines regarding terms and conditions for end users, and operators must submit for approval all standard contracts with customers.

Unsolicited communications (e.g., automated calling machines, facsimile machines (i.e., faxes), email, SMS, EMS, MMS and other similar applications) are subject to prior and explicit consent from the user (opt-in), except if the user is a legal person, in which case, the opt-out rule applies.

Nevertheless, even in the event the user is a natural person, unsolicited communications may not be subject to the user’s prior and explicit consent, provided that:

  • a they are or have been in a business relationship with the user;
  • b the commercial communications are about the same or similar products or services previously supplied to the user;
  • c users were explicitly given the opportunity to opt-out from receiving unsolicited communications at the time their data were collected as well as by the time of each communication; and
  • d opting out is simple and free of charge.

In addition, providers shall keep, themselves or through representative bodies, an up-to-date list of the natural users who opted-in to receive unsolicited communications as well as of users who did not object to receiving these and of the legal users that opted out.

iv Security

Freedom of access to information and self-expression are constitutional rights. Nevertheless, such rights can be limited under the terms legally foreseen (e.g., judicial secrecy, state secret). In addition, the electronic communications sector is ruled by the protection of privacy principle (Law 41/2004 of 18 August, subsequently amended by Law 46/2012 of 29 August on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector that transposed Directives 2002/58/EC and 2009/136/EC). However, this protection of privacy rule has some exceptions, such as, those that are strictly necessary for the protection of activities concerning public security, defence, state security, and the prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, under the terms established in special legislation.

With regard to the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, providers of publicly available electronic communications services shall:

  • a Take appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security of their services and at least the following:

• measures that ensure that personal data can be accessed only by authorised personnel, and only for legally authorised purposes;

• the protection of personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed, against accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to;

• measures that ensure a security policy with respect to the processing of personal data.

  • b Without undue delay, notify the personal data breach to (1) the Data Protection Authority (CNPD) and, where the personal data breach is likely to adversely affect the personal data of the subscriber or user (i.e., where the breach could result in, for example, identity theft or fraud, physical harm, significant humiliation or damage to reputation in connection with the provision and use of publicly available communications service), and (2) the subscriber or user, in order to allow them to take the necessary precautions.
  • c Ensure the inviolability of communications and the related traffic data by means of public communications networks and publicly available electronic communications services, which means that any interception or surveillance of communications and the related traffic data by persons other than users is prohibited, without the prior and explicit consent of the users concerned, except for:

• cases provided for in the law (criminal procedures); and

• any legally authorised (by the CNPD) recording of communications and the related traffic data, when carried out in the course of lawful business practice for the purpose of providing evidence of a commercial transaction, provided that the data holder has been informed thereof and given his or her consent thereto.

  • d Not store information or gain access to information stored in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user (e.g., cookies, web beacons, etc.), unless with his or her prior and informed consent or if required for:

• carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network; or

• the provision of a service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user.

  • e Erase or make traffic data relating to subscribers and users which have been processed and stored anonymously where they are no longer needed for the purpose of the transmission of a communication, except the data strictly needed for billing purposes and only up to the end of the period during which the bill may lawfully be challenged or the payment be pursued, unless with their prior, explicit and informed consent, which can be withdrawn at any time, and to the extent and for the duration necessary for the purpose of marketing electronic communications services or for the provision of value added services.
  • f Process location data provided that they are made anonymous or, to the extent and for the duration necessary for the provision of value added services, with the subscribers or users’ prior, explicit and informed consent, which can be withdrawn at any time.
  • g Reconcile the rights of subscribers receiving (those who want) itemised bills with the right to privacy of calling users and called subscribers.
  • h Provide transparent and up-to-date information on the several possibilities regarding identification of calling line and connected line.
  • i Cancel (with the prior opinion of the CNPD), where compatible with the principles of necessity, appropriateness and proportionality, for a period of time not exceeding 30 days, the elimination of the presentation of the calling line identification, on a written and duly substantiated request from a subscriber who wishes to determine the origin of non-identified calls that upset the peace of the family or the intimacy of private life.
  • j Ensure that any subscriber has the possibility, using a simple means and free of charge, of stopping automatic call forwarding by a third party to the subscriber’s terminal equipment.
  • k Inform the subscribers or users, free of charge and before the respective data are included in printed or electronic directories, available to the public or obtainable through directory enquiry services and collect their consent for such purposes, being the subscribers or users entitled to choose their personal data they want to be displayed in such directories.

The retention of data revealing the content of electronic communications is prohibited, without prejudice to the cases laid down in the law and mentioned above as well as in criminal procedure law on recording and interception of communications. Furthermore, under Law 32/2008 of 17 July (implementing Directive 2006/24/EC), providers of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks shall retain and transmit traffic and location data on both natural persons and legal entities, and of the related data necessary to identify the subscriber or registered user, for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime by competent authorities. This law has not been declared invalid by the Portuguese courts. Under this law, operators shall retain, for one year, the following categories of data:

  • a source of a communication;
  • b destination of a communication;
  • c date, time and duration of a communication;
  • d type of communication;
  • e users’ communication equipment; and
  • f location of mobile communication equipment.

The retention and transmission of data is exclusively intended for the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime by competent authorities and the transmission of data may only be ordered or authorised by reasoned court order. In addition, files intended for data retention within this law must be stored separately from other files with different purposes and (except for data on subscribers’ names and addresses) be blocked as from the moment they are retained, being only unblocked in case of transmission to competent authorities.

There are no specific provisions as far as children are concerned within the data protection laws, nor regarding their protection online. However, the CNPD – through Project Dadus (which is currently on hold and in maintenance) – as well as the Ministry of Education in conjunction with other public and private entities – through Project SeguraNet – aware of the need to educate children (at various ages), teachers and parents on privacy issues, particularly online, have been developing several initiatives and making available resources to create awareness, train and test all the educational community on how to protect children privacy and their personal data as well as to have a safer experience online.

Cybersecurity concerns are growing and an indication of that is the approval of the National Cyber Security Strategy on 12 June of 2015 (Council of Ministers Resolution 36/2015). In addition, at the end of 2014, the National Cybersecurity Centre was established (by Decree-Law No. 69/2014 of 9 May) and became operational in October 2014. Its aims are:

  • a to implement measures and instruments for the anticipation, detection, response and recovery situations that, given the imminence or occurrence of incidents or cyber-attacks, undermine the functioning of state agencies, critical infrastructure and national interests; and
  • b to pursue a strategy of prevention, raising awareness and educating organisations in particular and civil society in general on issues of cybersecurity, thus contributing to creating a community of knowledge and a national culture of cybersecurity.

It is also worth mentioning the Cybercrime Law (Law 109/2009 of 15 September), which implemented Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA and establishes the substantive and procedural criminal provisions as well as the provisions on international cooperation in criminal matters related to cybercrime and the collection of evidence in electronic form.


A new national strategic plan for the radio spectrum was approved by Anacom on 10 August 2016. This new plan (PEE – Plano estratégico nacional do espectro radioelétrico) establishes strategic guidelines for the provision of frequencies used by civil radio services and applications, satisfying spectrum requirements and the specifications of each service or application.18 However, the entry into force of this plan does not result in any immediate change to the National Table of Frequency Allocations. According to Anacom, the intention with the plan is to examine key themes common to all radio spectrum bands, in order to explore a strategic approach to spectrum planning.

Particular attention has been focused on digital terrestrial television (DTT), with the government approving a new policy regarding the reservation of capacity required to expand the provision of program services in the DTT platform (Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 37-C/2016, of 8 July). Following such new policy, the Parliament approved, on 24 August, Law No. 33/2016, which supports the expansion of the provision of DTT program services and establishes technical conditions and price control over the DTT signal transmission and broadcasting service.

Anacom has approved the methodology for setting and reviewing the reference speeds associated with coverage obligations in the 800MHz band for companies participating in the (4G) multiband auction, which, in May 2015, was subject to public consultation and prior hearing proceedings.

Apart from the above, the last major initiatives regarding spectrum management were the refarming of the 900MHz band in 2010 and the multiband auction of 2011. The multiband auction allocated the rights of use for frequencies in the 450MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands. The auction was launched following the memorandum of understanding, concluded on 17 May 2011 between the government and the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, when possible distortions in the mobile electronic communications market were identified.

In August 2014, the first assessment of the mobile electronic communications market under the multiband auction regulation was published.19 The main conclusions resulting from the assessment were that:

  • a the spectrum combinations of mobile network operators are very similar and do not lead to competitive distortions;
  • b the refarming process did not confer an advantage to mobile network operators, because they all held rights of use for frequencies in equivalent amounts of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands; and
  • c the allocation of rights of use in the scope of the multiband auction did not contribute to creating distortions.

According to these conclusions, Anacom holds that there are currently no grounds for any regulatory intervention with regard to the allocation of spectrum, and spectrum is still available to allocate according to market needs.


The government has updated its Digital Agenda through Resolution No. 25/2015 of 16 April in order to align it with the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy for Europe and the Partnership Agreement for Portugal 2014–2020.

Key measures, all of which are to be implemented by 2020, are as follows:

  • a the development of broadband infrastructure to achieve 100 per cent national broadband coverage with speeds of not less than 30Mbps;
  • b the development of broadband infrastructure to allow 50 per cent of households to access broadband internet speeds equal to or greater than 100Mbps;
  • c the creation of conditions that allow an increase of 55 per cent in the number of companies using e-commerce in Portugal (compared with figures for 2011);
  • d the promotion among the Portuguese population of greater use of online public services to reach the European average;
  • e the creation of conditions that allow a 25 per cent increase in ICT exports in accumulated values (compared with figures for 2011); and
  • f the promotion of innovation in ICT, and the enhancement of R&D potential through a 10 per cent increase in direct public funding for ICT R&D (compared with figures for 2012.

2016 was also marked as a year where the bases of new reforms and policies were launched. We refer to the new guidelines for net neutrality, the new national strategic plan for the radio spectrum, the new transparency rules in the media sector and the initiatives already known for the review of the electronic communications regulatory framework.


It is predicted that the government will focus on network neutrality, data security and cybersecurity, privacy and data protection (particularly following the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016) in the next few years.

Security of Network and Information Systems will definitely be a key issue in the future following the adoption of the Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and the Council of 6 July 2016 concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union, particularly during the next couple of years, considering that all Member States must implement the Directive in their jurisdiction no later than 9 May 2018. Neutrality, transparency and security will be the key words for 2017.


1 Jaime Medeiros and Mónica Oliveira Costa are partners and Ana Ramos Logrado is a trainee lawyer at Coelho Ribeiro & Associados.

2 European Commission press release, available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15 4805_en.htm.

3 www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1394185#.V9fcKE_fM3E.

4 www.anacom.pt/streaming/postalservices1Q2016.pdf?contentId=1390831&field=ATTACHED_FILE.

5 www.anacom.pt/streaming/postalservices1Q2016.pdf?contentId=1390831&field=ATTACHED_FILE.

6 www.concorrencia.pt/vEN/News_Events/Comunicados/Pages/PressRelease_201617.aspx.

7 Approval of temporary urgent measures regarding the high-quality wholesale market at a fixed location (CAM and inter-island Ethernet circuits).

8 Regulation 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2015.

9 Anacom – Annual Report and Accounts 2015, available at www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1391577.

12 www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1393513#.V9gio0_fM3E.

13 Law No. 78/2015 of 29 July entered into force on 30 October; see Section 1, supra.

14 Law No. 5/2004 of 10 February (as subsequently amended).

15 Decree-Law No. 7/2004 of 7 January (as subsequently amended).

16 www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1391066#.V9guIE_fM3E.

17 Implementation of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communication – 2015, available at http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/10102/2015/EN/10102-2015- 126-EN-F1-1.PDF.

18 Approval given to national strategic plan for the radio spectrum, available at www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1393464#.V9g3nU_fM3E.

19 Available for consultation at www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1324432&languageId=1#.VemveU9REuR.