The Portuguese regulator ANACOM has fined Meo, Nos and Vodafone a total of €1.5 million for non-compliance with the Electronic Communications Law applicable to the suspension and termination of services due to non-payment of invoices.
According to ANACOM, Meo’s fine, amounting to €712,000, was imposed in December 2021 for 104 offences. In addition to the suspension and termination of services due to non-payment of invoices, in 2015 and 2016, it also suspended services due to high consumption. Meo has lodged an appeal before the Court of Competition, Regulation and Supervision (TRCS).
Meanwhile, Vodafone has been fined €425,000 for 58 offences committed in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and Nos €359,000 for 45 offences, committed in 2015 and 2016.
Both Nos and Vodafone appealed ANACOM’s decision to the TCRS. In the case of Nos, the TCRS, by a judgment that has not yet become final, maintained the company’s conviction to pay the fine decided by ANACOM. However, it was suspended for a period of two years, subject to the payment of certain amounts to subscribers.
In the case of Vodafone, the TCRS, by a judgment not yet finalised, condemned the company for the practice of 43 offences, with a fine of €280,000, suspended in its execution regarding the payment of a quarter of its value (€70,000), for a period of four years.
ANACOM says that it will continue to pay special attention to this issue, especially after the repeal of the exceptional measures defined in the context of the pandemic, currently in progress and effective until the end of March. These prohibit operators from suspending the provision of services due to lack of payment, when this is motivated by situations of unemployment, a drop in household income equal to or greater than 20% or by infection with Covid-19.