Survey of the Telecommunications Industry in Portugal

Status date

The project defined the major areas for a possible cooperation between the Portuguese telecommunications industry and the Agency and identified the most appropriate initiatives to be set up by ESA Telecom.

Therefore, the market study focused on the major needs of the Portuguese telecommunications industry companies, in terms of their development purposes.

It involved 3 main activities:

  • Identification of active companies that operate in the Telecommunications (Terrestrial and Satellite) Industry

  • Characterization of each company profile

  • Recommendations for the definition of areas and forms of cooperation between the Industry and ESA for industrial activities (products and services) in the field of Telecommunications.

Two main segments were considered within the telecommunications industry:

  • Product Developers (e.g. equipment, components, applications)

  • Service Providers (e.g. mobile and fixed telephony, Internet access, broadcasters).

  • Overall assessment of the Portuguese telecommunications industry

  • Evaluation of the value chain of the telecommunications industry

  • Positionning of the Portuguese industry in the European context

A set of recommendations was adressed concerning areas and forms of cooperation between the Portuguese telecommunications industry and ESA Telecom, in industrial development activities and focused on three areas:

  • Human resources (intellectual capital/expertise, contacts/networking)

  • Technological resources (best practices)

  • Financial resources (funding through financial support, risk sharing in the projects through ventures)

Not applicable


The project was designed according to three consecutive phases:

Phase 1 - Active Companies Identification (Terrestrial and Satellite)

1.1     Value Chain in the Telecoms Industry
1.1.1  Definition of the main players
1.1.2  Key industrial telecoms technologies in Portugal
1.1.3  Role of the academic institutions within the telecoms industry
1.2     Identification of Product Developers and Services Providers
1.2.1  by area (terrestrial/satellite), by segment (product developers /
         service developers) and by type of company (MNC, SME,
1.2.2  SWOT analysis

Phase 2 - Company Profile Characterization
2.1     Definition of the company characteristics indicators
2.2     Information gathering
2.3     Profile of the telecoms industry
2.3.1  SWOT analysis reassessment

Phase 3 - Areas of Cooperation (Industry/ESA)
3.1    Identification of potential areas of collaboration
3.2    Recommendations on forms of collaboration
3.3    Short/medium term actions

Current status

The study is complete.

Its main conclusions point to the fact that, amid the country's difficult economic situation, the telecommunications industry is doing relatively well. Penetration of services is generally lower than the average for the EU, with the exception of mobile telephony. The Portuguese telecommunications network is almost exclusively terrestrial. There are some VSAT customers and a DTH network provided by the largest Portuguese cable operator, for subscribers whose households are not passed by cable. Some international communication traffic is also routed via satellite. Otherwise, the (fully digital) fixed switched networks cover 100% of the population, as well as the mobile ones, and the cable networks cover ca. 70% of the country's households. Portugal's two terrestrial broadcasting analogue networks also cover virtually the whole of the territory. Resulting from the development of the terrestrial infrastructure, the satcom market is virtually inexistent in the country. The entities with interest in satcoms are mainly software houses and R&D organizations. Some cable and equipment manufacturers also seem to consider satcom activities as a way to expand their portfolio. There is some know-how in the satcom area (or in areas that have synergies with satcoms, e.g. mobile and multimedia services), in the software and R&D segments.

However, given the analysis made on their strengths and weaknesses, the success of the Portuguese telecoms organizations in satcom activities depends mainly on a number of key elements, identified in the report. Based on the analysis of those elements, Clama proposed two areas of collaboration between ESA Telecom and the Portuguese telecoms organizations - an industrial and a scientific one. Efforts in those areas should have as a common goal to establish a strong technological base related with the current technology needs, future trends and the Portuguese telecoms industry capabilities. Arising from that, six short and medium term initiatives (projects) were proposed, in connection with the presence of ESA Telecom in Portugal, training in satcoms, the establishment of a satcom watch, partnerships, a Portuguese Satcom Initiative and the Portuguese Space Office.