The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has issued a report in which it strongly charges the Executive’s project to extend the spectrum licenses of telecommunications operators for 10 years, a measure that will create a “possible closure of the market,” according to the regulator.
The Government has taken various measures in recent times with the aim of facilitating the situation of large telecom operators in the country in an attempt to encourage investment for the arrival of 5G to the whole territory. One of these measures is the extension of the duration of spectrum licences, an expensive and scarce resource that makes it possible to provide mobile services. In Spain, the operators that have these licenses are Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone y MásMóvil.
Previously, these licenses (which the government grants at auction and are therefore, in turn, a source of public revenue) were granted in terms of about 20 yearshowever the last Telecommunications Law It already establishes that the new concessions could amount to 40 years, as has already happened in the last auctions for 5G. For the operators, the business improves considerably, since, for the same payment, they have a concession for twice the time, which beyond the economic savings also makes it impossible to lose the license to a rival company in a new auction.
However, the nod to the operators did not end there and included a provision that opened a period of two months for these companies to request an extension of up to ten years of their current licences, something that, obviously, they have all requested. The way to grant this extension is a series of ministerial orders, one per operator, from the department directed by Nadia Calviño, which are precisely the ones that have caused the conflict with the CNMC.
The regulator’s report is very critical of both the forms and the substance of the measure. First, the entity run by Cani Fernandez He harshly criticizes the Ministry for not waiting for the regulator to have access to the contributions of the open public consultation on the matter before having to issue its report, as well as the lack of analysis and justification of the regulatory texts to grant the extensions.