At the behest of the operators, the Portugal’s National Communications Authority (ANACOM) has suspended the public consultation phase of its upcoming spectrum auction

On Friday, ANACOM took the decision to suspend the country’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction, previously scheduled to take place some time between April and June this year.

ANACOM said that the country’s major operators, MEO, NOS, Vodafone, and Dense Air, had all petitioned for a suspension of the process in light of the “current exceptional situation in which Portugal finds itself, and all the constraints that result, as well as the unpredictability of the situation and the inability to assess how it will evolve.”

The auction was scheduled to allocate licences for the 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.6 GHz bands, with all of the nation’s major telcos expected to participate.

Now, however, “force majeure” will now see the public consultation phase suspended indefinitely, pending regular review. 

This announcement came as the Portuguese government declared a state of emergency as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with emergency security forces set to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 15 days.

For many, 2020 was supposed to be the so-called ‘Year of 5G’, but as the healthcare crisis rages on this is looking less and less likely. The European Commission, for example, had a goal for all of its member states to have rolled out commercial 5G by the end of 2020, but this may now be a tall order for Portugal if the auction is delayed substatially.


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