European Commission


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Directive article Emanating from ANACOM (National Authority for Electronic Communications)
Country Portugal Title EN ANACOM’s interpretation of the application of Article 8 (q) of Decree-Law No. 57/2008, of 26 March, to electronic communications

Head note

Article 8 (q) of Decree-Law 57/2008, which provision is not present in Directive 2005/29/EC, prohibits traders from rounding up the amount of time of the consumer’s use of its services for billing purposes, or from rounding up any other factor for which this would result in an increase in prices for the consumer unless such rounding up has an exact and direct correlation with the consumer’s use of the services. ANACOM states that this provision can only apply in relation to electronic communication services for which the duration of the consumer’s use is a relevant factor, namely telephone communications and dial-up internet services. While no consumer can be forced to pay for more than what he or she actually used, consumers must still remain free to opt to purchase services such as a bundle of "minutes" for use on mobile telephones, in which case they pay a fixed price irrespective of how many of the minutes they use. Further, telecommunications service providers have fixed costs in order to provide voice and internet services to consumers, so that the costs incurred in providing such services are not linear. These traders must be able to recoup their costs, and it is therefore not necessarily an unfair or exploitative commercial practice for them to impose tariffs with a minimum billable period to consumers. It is entirely legitimate for telecommunications service providers to determine a minimum unit onto through these fixed costs can be recovered. It is nevertheless important for consumers to have a wide variety of choice of tariffs that do not underhandedly impose any additional costs on them.

General note

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