Altice Portugal: “It doesn’t seem possible that 5G will be a reality in 2020”

  • ECO News
  • 25 March 2020

Altice Portugal does not consider it "possible" for the Portuguese to have access to 5G by the end of the year, given the suspension of the auction because of the pandemic.

With the 5G auction suspended in Portugal as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Altice Portugal’s CEO no longer considers it possible for the Portuguese to have access to fifth generation communications this year. “It doesn’t seem possible that 5G will be a reality in Portugal in 2020,” Alexandre Fonseca said in a telephone conference with journalists.

After sounding out the operators, the regulator Anacom decided to put the 5G dossier on hold indefinitely because of the social and economic uncertainty generated by the coronavirus, a decision with which Altice Portugal has agreed. However, for Altice Portugal’s leader, even if the process is resumed in the second half of the year, it should no longer be possible to launch 5G in Portugal until the end of 2020.

“I believe we are going to face a crisis that will have its most acute phase during this second quarter of 2020, so in the second half of the year we might start to feel some normality. [But even] if it resumes in the second half of the year, I don’t think it’s feasible to have 5G services in Portugal by 2020,” said Altice Portugal’s executive president.

This way, Altice Portugal has less hope that the country will fulfil the European Commission’s intention of having a city with 5G in each member state of the European Union by the end of 2020. Much less that of the Portuguese government, which was to have two Portuguese cities with fifth generation coverage by the end of the year.

As for the concrete decision to suspend the auction, Alexandre Fonseca admitted that it was a favourable measure for the company given the circumstances, due to the uncertainty generated by the virus: “Obviously, when we are facing scenarios of uncertainty like the one we are going through, these are not the best moments for significant investments.”