This Wednesday, the communications regulator deemed price hikes by the three main providers as “unjustified” and defended reducing the maximum loyalty period from two years to six months in order to reduce prices. ANACOM also justifies this with the fact that telecommunications prices in Portugal increased by 7.7%, while in the EU they decreased by 10% between 2009 and 2022.
At a press conference in Lisbon, Anacom’s president, João Cadete de Matos, considered the price increase announced by Meo, Nos and Vodafone “unjustified”, stating that there is a large discrepancy in prices applied in Portugal compared to other European countries and argued that, to overcome this, “one of the most urgent options is to reduce the loyalty period” so that consumers can analyze offers from other operators and negotiate alternatives.
The chairman of the communications regulator also said that in Portugal there is a “convergence of operators’ commercial strategies” which does not promote competition and said that the two-year loyalty period also makes it difficult for new operators to enter due to the difficulty of attracting customers.
The official said there is an “illusion that loyalty represents a discount” compared to a contract without such loyalty because they lock the customer in for two years, preventing them from changing and improving the prices they pay.
“Today, a customer who was not loyal could benefit from his competitive strategy [Nowo]”, it is explained.
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According to Anacom, between the end of 2009 and December 2022, telecommunications prices in Portugal increased by 7.7%, while in the EU they decreased by 10%.
Cadete de Matos also said that bundled services drive up prices, leaving customers with services they normally don’t want, such as a landline.
Telecommunications providers Meo (Altice Portugal), NOS and Vodafone Portugal have announced increases in the price of their services of up to 7.8%, the first two since February and the last in March.
In response, the government said it was monitoring the situation and had “asked Anacom for information, specifically on consumer rights in relation to existing contracts, their potential cancellation and on information made available by companies”.
In October last year, the telecoms regulator issued a recommendation to operators to moderate the increases to be implemented this year, but only Nowo decided to accept the recommendation. This operator has a market share of 2% to 3%.
MEO, Nos and Vidafone have market shares between 96% and 97% depending on the type of service.