Everyday life has never been the same since Alexander Graham Bell announced to the world that he had invented the telephone in1876. After the first progresses, the 20th century was noted for the development and implementation of new communication means in the telecommunication sector which affects everyone’s lives.The first telephone experiments in Portugal connected Carcavelos to the Central do Cabo in Lisbon, in 1877. In 1882, the Edison Gower Bell Telephone Company of Europe Limited was set up in Lisbon and Porto, to explore the respective telephone service concessions.
In 1887, the concession was transferred to APT - The Anglo Portuguese Telephone Company, which was kept by the latter until 1968, the year in which the Public Company “Telefones de Lisboa e Porto” (TLP) was created. The Post Office, Telegraphs and Telephones (CTT) explored until this present day, the telephone service in the rest of the country.
For the exploration of radio-telegraphy and wireless telephone, a contract with the Marconi’s Wireless Telegraphy Company concession was confirmed in 1922. In 1925, the “Companhia Portuguesa Rádio Marconi” (CPRM) was set up and took on all responsibilities of the previous concession.
In 1970, CTT become a Public Company and in 1989, the TLP was transformed into a Limited Company, and was completely controlled by the State. In 1992, “Teledifusora de Portugal” (TDP) was created with the mission of exploring the infrastructures of Teledifusão.
In 1992, CTT becomes a Limited Company with public capital and the Comunicações Nacionais, SPGS, SA (CN) was created, a state holding company responsible for the managing of all State participation within the sector - CTT, TLP, CPRM e TDP. In this same year, the Telecommunications developed by CTT was automatized through the creation of Portugal Telecom, SA, giving CTT the possibility to dedicate itself exclusively to the Post Office.
With this, Portugal had its own telecommunications network which was being explored by 3 operators: the TLP explored the telephone services in the Lisbon and Oporto area, Telecom Portugal was responsible for the remaining national, European and Mediterranean communications; and Marconi took hold of international traffic.
In 1994, a unique national telecommunications operator was created with the fusion of companies within the CN State holding - Portugal Telecom, SA (PT) with the fusion of Telecom Portugal, TLP and TDP.
In 1995, prior to the privatisation, Portugal Telecom became part of the CN which held Marconi capital (51,18%). On the 1st June, the first privatisation phase was carried out and resulted in the passing of 51,8 million shares to the private sector, equivalent to 27,26% of its Capital. In September the CN was dissolved and transferred the shares which it held in Portugal Telecom to the state.
In June 1996 the 2nd phase of privatisation, involving 21,74% of the capital, was carried out, making the company a privatised one in 49% (93,1 million shares).
1997 saw the approval of a new delimitation law of the sectors which allowed the State to hold less that 51% of the company’s capital. With the approval of this law, the 3rd phase of privatisation was carried out in October where 26% of the shares where transferred, placing approximately 75% of its capital in the hands of private persons.
In 1999, the 4th privatisation phase was concluded. In this operation, the state transferred 13,5% of its capital, an equivalent to 25,65 million shares. There was also an increase in capital, destined for the company’s shareholders, of 950 to 1.045 million euros, through the emission of 19 million shares (10% of the capital) with a nominal value of 5 euros each. A total of 44,65 million shares were placed on the market. After these two operations, the State reduced its participation from 25,15% to 11%.
In December 2000, the 5th privatisation phase was concluded leaving PT’s capital almost entirely in private hands. On the 12th December, Portugal Telecom SA changed its social objective to Managing Society of Social Participations with the social denomination - Portugal Telecom SGPS, SA.
The 21st Century started with PT as leader in the Portuguese Telecommunications market and expanding its business areas to new technologies, products, services and unthinkable solutions to pioneers in telephone and telegraphic experiences.
In 2013, PT and Oi PLC announced the merging of their businesses. The merger, which will result in the incorporation of PT Shareholding Management Company within the combined entity, is a natural consequence of the industrial alliance between Portugal Telecom and Oi PLC, established in 2010 and resulting in the creation of a leading telecommunications operator, covering a geographical area of about 260 million people and about 100 million customers.
On 28th July 2014, PT Shareholding Management Company and Oi reached an agreement on the main terms of the major contracts signed following the Memorandum of Understanding. The execution of the final contract was approved at Portugal Telecom’s General Shareholders' Meeting held on September 8th, 2014.