Practically during the three-month duration of the main phase of the 5G auction, which began on January 14, Anacom will step in to expedite the process. After 354 rounds (including the six this Thursday) and with an advance on this second phase that is on the way to 276 million euros (in addition to the 84 million of the first phase aimed at new companies), the regulator below the management of João Cadete de Matos decided that it was necessary to prevent “a possible excessive extension” of the auction.
It is therefore proposed to amend the respective regulation to “introduce mechanisms to streamline the process, including increasing the daily number of rounds and, if necessary, increasing the bid amounts”.
Since the beginning of the procedure, “in daily rounds (a maximum of six), bids with the lowest price increases, which recur by 1%, have been used successively and repeatedly,” explains Anacom.
The fact that participating companies such as Nos, Meo and Vodafone only submit minimal bids “makes auction progress particularly slow and harbors serious risks if the bid pattern observed so far is retained” as it “takes much longer than originally expected”.
In Anacom’s first reports, the auction should have closed in January, with the transfer of usage rights to telecom operators due to be completed by the end of March.
At this speed, however, Anacom assumes that there is a risk that “the development and commissioning of the networks will inevitably be delayed [5G]to the detriment of citizens and businesses “. The delay would also affect the “benefits that may come from strengthening existing 3G or 4G networks or developing new networks, and delaying the benefits of meeting coverage obligations, developing networks and developing new networks Amplification of the speech signal, “adds the controller.
In order to achieve a “procedural streamlining”, Anacom would like to change the rules in order to “make a larger daily number of rounds possible, to shorten the duration of the rounds for this purpose (from 60 to 15 minutes) and / or to extend the daily round Bidding period “.
“If necessary” the regulator also admits to “prevent the use of the minimum increments that bidders can choose in a given round”, which are currently 1% and 3%, with only the remaining values maintained: 5%, 10% , 15% and 20%.
“The 1% increase was often used by competitors” who do not want to spend their entire fortune right from the start. However, this leads to a “very slow development of the price for lots with no discernible gains in pricing”. justifies the regulator.
These changes “do not distort the auction process or affect the bidding strategies of the companies involved,” but they can accelerate the closing of the auction with “a benefit to the country and society at large,” emphasizes Anacom.
Until the process of changing the rules is completed (which gives interested parties 5 working days until April 15 to comment and submit “contributions and suggestions” on changing the regulation), the auction will continue “in accordance with the terms of the regulation “Implemented applicable rules”. This “enables bidders to accelerate the auction if they want,” notes Anacom.
After this stage, the revised proposal for a regulation has yet to be publicly consulted and it is not certain when the new rules will enter into force.
Anacom reminds that this “flexibility in determining the increments” of tenders has already been used in other frequency auctions, namely in ascending auctions, by several rounds that have recently taken place in Europe, for example in Germany (2018), Finland (2018 ), Italy (2018) and Slovakia (2020).