Portugal's legal framework for games of chance came under scrutiny in 2009 as a result of a dispute involving the state-controlled lottery organizer, the Portuguese Professional Football League and gaming company Bwin International, which became the league's sponsor in 2005. Although the dispute arose over sports betting, the European Court of Justice's ruling on online gaming may have wider implications.
The European Court of Human Rights has issued its judgment in a case involving the penalties imposed on a Portuguese journalist in connection with his interview with a senior football official. The appeal by the journalist and his television channel under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights prompted an examination of the freedom of expression, the role of the press and the rights of public figures.
Since March 2005 several Portuguese telecommunications operators have provided Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. ANACOM, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator, has now launched a public consultation on their regulation; the growth of the new technology has implications for numbering resources and operators' universal service obligations.
A decision of ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, regarding pricing and cost orientation on mobile networks was recently challenged in the courts by one of Portugal's three mobile operators, even though the operator in question may benefit from temporary positive price discrimination. This is the first case against the regulator which challenges its market analysis procedures.
ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, has recently been one of Europe's most active national regulatory authorities in analyzing and imposing obligations on product and service markets within the electronic communications sector. Since July 2004 it has analyzed 12 out of 18 markets identified by the European Commission as requiring market analysis and ex ante regulation.
The municipal fee for rights of way is being implemented. The fee was introduced by the Electronic Communications Law, which establishes that certain rights and levies of telecommunications operators at fixed locations may be subject to a fee. Unfortunately, to date, the new regime has proved problematic.
The government has approved a legislative proposal which would afford law enforcement agencies unlimited access to traffic data processed by communications and electronic communications operators. The proposal has come under fire as it would disproportionately increase the costs of telecommunications operators and severely endanger citizens' right to privacy.
Several months after the deadline established by the Electronic Communications Law, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator has finally approved a regulation setting out the procedures for the collection and delivery to municipalities of the new rights of way tax.
Following a nine-month delay, and with EU infringement proceedings underway, Portugal has finally implemented the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. Among other things, it provides for the restriction of subscribers' rights to privacy with regard to caller identification and location data where this is necessary to assist the emergency services.
ANACOM, Portugal's telecommunications regulatory authority, recently notified the European Commission of draft measures relating to the markets for low bandwidth switched fixed services and to the analysis of significant market power on those markets. As the commission had no comments to make, ANACOM may now adopt these measures as notified.
ANACOM, the Portuguese regulator, recently approved the procedures which interested parties must observe when commencing the provision of electronic communications networks and services. Interested companies must first submit to ANACOM a short description of the network or services they wish to provide, together with the estimated date on which activities will commence.
The Portuguese legislature has introduced a new municipal tax for occupation of the public domain, which is payable by all fixed telecommunications operators. Collection of the tax in the current financial year may prove difficult, however, as both the municipalities and the Portuguese telecommunications regulator have yet to issue the requisite approvals and regulations.
Portugal has finally implemented the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications in the form of the Electronic Communications Law, which replaces the Basic Telecommunications Law. Key features of the regime include new rules on access to telecommunications infrastructure and an increase in administrative fines.
The first step in implementing the EU directives that make up the New Regulatory Package for Electronic Communications has been taken. The government is seeking authority to legislate on several issues, including jurisdictional control over administrative actions taken by the telecommunications regulatory authority and a penalty regime for non-compliance with the relevant laws.
Portuguese telecommunications regulator ANACOM recently launched a public consultation on the relevant markets in the electronic communications sector under the new EU regulatory package. However, its approach has been criticized as excessively abstract and theoretical, rather than a practical attempt to obtain real input from market operators.
ANACOM, the national telecommunications regulator, has issued several draft decisions which suspend offers made by dominant player PT Comunicações as part of a new strategy for its fixed telephony operations. The decisions suggest that ANACOM is beginning to take a more robust approach to Portugal's incumbent telecommunications operator.
The Portuguese government has approved the sale of the public fixed telecommunications network to Portugal Telecom (PT). Before the deal went through PT was the only European incumbent operator which did not own the network over which it provided its telecommunications services.
In a bid to protect their market shares, mobile operators TMN, Vodafone and Optimus recently presented the shareholders of fourth operator OniWay with a €180 million proposal requesting that they close down the company and withdraw from the market. Oniway's majority stakeholder has accepted the proposal, in spite of opposition from other shareholders.
OniWay, a licensed Universal Mobile Telecommunications System operator, has been handed a favourable decision by the Portuguese telecommunications regulator ensuring interconnection with Vodafone's and Optimus's networks, and paving the way for the third generation of mobile telecommunications in Portugal.
Portugal's four universal mobile telecommunications system licensees have been ordered to execute interconnection agreements with each other within a specified timeframe. Vodafone was initially reluctant to conclude such an agreement with new market entrant OniWay due to concerns about its legality, but the two are now in negotiations.