Vodafone Group European cluster CEO Serpil Timuray (pictured) accused Portugal’s communications regulator of trying to impose illegal conditions to its delayed 5G spectrum auction, Reuters reported, with the operator assessing its participation.

In an interview with the publication, the executive bemoaned proposals to reserve an allocation for new entrants alongside offering challengers a 25 per cent discount on the hammer price.

She also pointed to a lack of incentive for new players to invest in nationwide infrastructure caused by requirements on existing players to offer national roaming facilities.

The operator believes the draft make-up of the sale, covering spectrum in the 900MHz to 1800MHz band, contravenes both European Union and Portuguese laws. It is threatening to “reconsider its options” with the potential of not bidding at all if the conditions are deemed so unfavourable.

Regulator Anacom completed a public consultation on its proposed auction rules in July, having suspended the process for three months due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The results of the consultation and final rules for the sale are yet to be published.

On announcing the end of its consultation, it also shifted the schedule for the allocation of licences. By its most recent timeline, the auction is due to kick-off this month with licences issued in early 2021.

Vodafone Portugal is one of three operators currently in the market: GSMA Intelligence Q3 figures place it at the bottom of the list in terms of connections, with 4.7 million excluding cellular IoT.

Altice-owned MEO leads the market with 6.8 million, followed-by NOS with 4.9 million.