Despite very high 4G and LTE penetration levels, Portugal has been slow to grant 5G spectrum and licences to operators

Altice Portugal’s CEO, Alexandre Fonseca pulled no punches at the Total Telecom congress today, as he accused Portugal’s telecoms regulator of squandering a leadership position on mobile connectivity.

“We are behind on 5G purely due to the inadequacy and incompetency of our regulator,” Fonseca said, during a charged keynote address.

Despite achieving over 98 per cent 4G coverage, Portugal has been slow to release the spectrum that would allow operators to launch their fledgling 5G offerings.

Fonseca revealed that Altice Portugal invested over 86 million in research and development in 2019, making it the biggest investor in next generation connectivity in Portugal.

On the fixed line side of the business, Portugal has left many of its European neighbours in its dust, as it aims to reach 100 per cent penetration for fibre to the home services.

Fonseca confirmed that the country would pass 100 per cent of premises, a massive 5.3 million homes and businesses, with optical fibre connectivity by the middle of 2020. The figure currently stands at 4.9 million premises, meaning that Altice Portugal will be looking to connect an additional 400,000 properties in the next 8 months.