President of ANACOM «absolutely convinced» that operators will reduce prices

The three main telecommunications operators Meo (Altice Portugal), NOS and Vodafone Portugal will increase prices next year

Photos: Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação

The president of the National Communications Authority (ANACOM), who ceases his duties today, states in an interview with Lusa that he is "absolutely convinced" that in 2024 operators "will have to reduce prices" in order not to lose customers.

The three main telecommunications operators Meo (Altice Portugal), NOS and Vodafone Portugal will increase prices next year, after a month ago the regulator asked for “restraint” on the increase.

«I think [2024] will be the last year in which companies, without listening to anything or anyone, without listening to the regulator, without listening to consumers, decide to continue to deepen this price divergence», particularly with the entry of competitive offers, he considers João Cadete de Matos, alluding to the new competitor Digi.

«I am absolutely convinced that next year companies, in order not to lose their customers, will have to reduce prices», predicted the person in charge, on the last day of his presidency at Anacom.

Similar to what the regulator had done in 2022 – also this year it called for moderation in prices -, it considers that the increase planned for 2024 “will once again be excessive and will deepen the gap”, insisting that telecommunications prices in Portugal “are among the highest seniors of the European Union”.

Now, from the point of view of the regulator and consumer protection, “this is unjustifiable”.

«Of course, from the point of view of company shareholders, it is very interesting because it increases the company's profits and, therefore, this is the point of view and interest of companies, but companies must also be concerned about having prices that are competitive and satisfy their customers, particularly in a situation where a large part of the Portuguese population has difficulties managing their family budgets and, therefore, we have recommended restraint in price increases», argues Cadete de Matos.

«We insist on this recommendation, we have great difficulty in understanding that companies do not listen to the regulatory authority, do not listen to consumer protection associations», nor to «the Government, the Assembly of the Republic to precisely protect the income of families facing a difficult », he laments.

This panorama, he emphasizes, «only reinforces Anacom's conviction that the decision» taken to promote increased competition was correct.

“Because with the entry that will take place in the coming months of a new company [Digi] in the telecommunications market in Portugal, this new company will bring to communications prices that it already commands today in Spain and which are, in some cases, half the price that other operators charge in Portugal”, highlights João Cadete de Matos.

The person responsible warns of the fact that operators have “customers tied” to loyalty, warning of the issue of re-loyalty.

«I have been warning consumers to be very careful with re-loyalties», insists João Cadete de Matos, which makes consumers tied to the contract for another two years, and for the early termination of the contract they will have to pay «a cost of hundreds of euros”.

«The only expectation I have and which has materialized in Spain, France and Italy» is that increased competition will lower prices.

«Unfortunately, we will still have price increases at the beginning of the year on the part of operators, «but when we start to have competition during the year with new offers, then the tendency will have to be to reduce prices and I also hope that this will be achieved what happened in Spain, which is terms – as this company that is going to enter the Portuguese market has – not only prices, which are half the prices in Portugal, but also have contracts that, instead of having a two-year loyalty period», there is “a loyalty period of three months”, he says.

The difference «is abysmal and, therefore, the communications market in Portugal needs this profound change that will happen as a result of the measures that Anacom has taken over the years», he concludes.