Advanced Television

Anacom awards FTA and pay-TV DTT licenses to PTC

October 21, 2008

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Portugal's telecoms regulator (Anacom) has confirmed the decision of the broadcasting sector regulator (ERC) to award to PT Comunicações (PTC) the licenses for the free-to-air and pay-TV digital multiplexes.

PTC now has to ten working days to pay the E2.5 million security deposit, as required by the tender regulations, after which Anacom will have 15 working days to formally award the license for the use of frequency spectrum.

PTC was the only bidder for Multiplex A, which will carry free-to-air channels. In regards to the tender for Multiplexes B to F, which will distribute pay-TV channels, Airplus TV has challenged the jury's results claiming that the evaluation of the two bids contained "distortions" and was "biased" in favour of PTC. The Swedish company now says it will initiate court action as it believes that its offer of services is "more competitive, more varied and closer to the needs of Portuguese consumers".

Meanwhile, Portugal's Minister for Parliamentary Issues, Augusto Santos Silva, has confirmed that the launch of the tender for the awarding of a license for a fifth national TV channel can be expected "very soon". The new free-to-air TV channel will be available only on DTT. But the CEO of Spain's Prisa group (owner of Portugal's TVI channel), Juan Luis Cébrian, believes that there is no space for a new TV channel on Portugal's audiovisual market. Speaking during a conference call with analysts, he also said that the Portuguese Government has not reached a final decision on the awarding of this license and that negotiations are still underway with the main public and private broadcasters and cable operators.

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