On June 28 2001 the Instituto das ComunicaƧƵes de Portugal (ICP) approved the Reference Offer for Unbundled Access to the Local Loop. The reference offer contains significant modifications to the project that was initially presented by the Portuguese incumbent. The main differences concern the prices, which have been fixed at a much lower rate than that proposed by Portugal Telecom.

The prices that have been approved are below the European average for narrow-band lines and similar to the European average price for broadband lines. Moreover, and bearing in mind that leasing a line includes the right to operate it, the incumbent operator is not allowed to charge any fees regarding traffic to the other operators.

The incumbent is reluctant to accept the price changes imposed by the regulator and has announced that it may consider the possibility of taking legal action against the ICP, on the grounds that such prices do not respect the principle of orientation towards costs.

All prices contained in the reference offer are to be applied in the wholesale market between the operators. The prices that will be charged to end users depend on the cost structure of the operators and the commercial offers they present in the meantime.

The reference offer also establishes rules for the following aspects of local loop unbundling:

  • the relationship between the parties;

  • access to the exchanges;

  • leasing premises;

  • installation and equipment compliance;

  • service interruption or suspension;

  • service quality; and

  • deadlines regarding infrastructure availability.
For more information please see www.icp.pt/oll/deliberacoes/orall_1uk.html.

For further information on this topic please contact Margarida Couto at Vieira de Almeida & Associados by telephone (+351 21 311 3400) or by fax (+351 21 354 89 39) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

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