Portugal’s 5G Strategy

Strategies and Action Plans

The ‘Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 7-A/2020’ outlines a comprehensive strategy for the deployment and distribution of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications in Portugal. The strategy is recognised as a critical component for driving economic growth, enhancing social and territorial cohesion, and transforming public services. The strategy is designed to leverage the technological advancements of 5G to foster innovation, improve the quality of life, and ensure that the benefits of digital transformation are accessible to all regions and sectors of Portuguese society.

The strategy emphasises the creation of a digital ecosystem where 5G serves as a catalyst for the integration of other advanced technologies such as AI, virtual and augmented reality, the internet of things (IoT), and satellite communications.

The implementation timeline set forth is ambitious yet structured, aiming to achieve significant milestones over the next few years. By the end of 2020, the strategy aims to ensure 5G coverage in at least one city in a low-density area and one coastal city with a population exceeding 50,000. By 2023, the target expands to include all municipalities with more than 75,000 inhabitants, all public hospitals, a substantial portion of public health centers in both low-density and coastal areas, all universities and polytechnics, half of the business and industrial parks in coastal and low-density areas, international airports, and priority military installations.

By 2024, the goal is to cover municipalities with over 50,000 inhabitants, major national highways and specific key roadways, the main railway corridors, and significant ports. By 2025, the strategy aims for 90% of the population to have access to mobile broadband with speeds of at least 100 Mbps, and to extend 5G coverage to remaining commercial ports and critical transportation routes.

The regulatory framework underpinning this strategy involves a collaborative approach between the government and the National Communications Authority (ANACOM), which is responsible for the allocation of radio spectrum and ensuring compliance with national and European Union (EU) guidelines on connectivity and cybersecurity. The strategy underscores the importance of securing 5G networks and adheres to EU recommendations to mitigate cybersecurity risks.

Public funding and incentives are integral to this strategy. The government prioritises extensive 5G coverage over immediate financial gains from spectrum auctions. Incentives are proposed for operators to extend 4G coverage to public schools and critical railway lines. Revenue generated from spectrum allocation will be reinvested in digital inclusion projects, enhancing digital literacy, and supporting the digital transformation of educational institutions, research centers, digital content production, and public administration.

To ensure transparency and continuous monitoring, the strategy calls for the establishment of a digital monitoring platform. This platform will track the progress of 5G coverage and adoption, promote awareness among municipalities and service providers about 5G developments, and encourage the harmonisation of base station installation fees across the country.