Fury over 5G as Altice CEO calls regulator “unrealistic” and “hostile”

Altice CEO Alexandre Fonseca has launched a vicious attack on communications regulator Anacom for what he sees as “unrealistic obligations” being foisted on operators in Portugal with regard to the implementation of 5G.

Says Fonseca, Anacom’s approach promises to make a “flop” out of the country’s ‘long-awaited’ fifth generation rollout in order to satisfy media concerns and “guarantee a pseudo consumer defence”.

Anacom’s regulations however have not yet been published.

Thus this may have been an attempt by Fonseca to force changes before the ink is dry.

Talking to journalists this week, he slammed Anacom’s demands on the sector for being “divorced from reality, utopic”.

They “only make sense in the head of one person in our country: the president of the authority regulating the telecommunications sector”.

“These are rules that can only be classified as ideological fable, from someone who has grudges against the sector and is angry with everything and everyone…”

“We have lived through a highly hostile regulatory environment during the last three years, which has put off investment”, added the angry CEO. Anacom’s approach “is contrary to the protection and creation of jobs” and puts continued investment and the importance of the telecoms sector in Portugal at risk.

“On top of everything, this approach gives a poor image of this country, Portugal – because it is the opposite of what the government has been promoting internationally: a country focused on looking forwards, that wants to deal with digital transition and make assured steps after this phase of the pandemic”.

On the face of it, Fonseca makes it sound as if 5G is becoming a farce. Explain reports, this is largely because the ‘auction’ to determine operators has been consistently delayed. It was due last October, with the pandemic, no one can be certain when it will happen.

Meantime, Anacom’s ‘rules’ favour competition from smaller companies that have not been in the market as long as giants like Altice and Vodafone. Campaigners who are dead against 5G full-stop, say this is much more the reason for Altice’s anger than anything else. “Their reaction appears to be a smoke screen to enforce their position in the Portuguese Smart Cities program rather than a genuine concern”, said one.

Whatever the situation, the knives are out for Anacom president João Cadete de Matos, whom Fonseca went so far as to accuse of ‘lying’ to the government and the sector.

“Today is November 2 and we know nothing. We don’t know what the rules are, what conditions of access to expect… it’s time to say ‘enough’: 5G is a flop in Portugal”, railed Fonseca.

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