Does a telecoms operator need to be domiciled in the country?

Technology (3rd edition)

Armenia Small Flag Armenia

There is no requirement for network operator to be a local company or have a branch registered in Armenia.

Moreover, under the Law PSRC may not refuse an applicant qualified for granting a licence or authorisation solely on the ground that the latter is wholly or partially owned by a national of a foreign state or by an undertaking created under the laws of a foreign state.

Pursuant to the Law of Armenia on licensing, the foreign legal entities may act in Armenia based on the appropriate licenses granted by the foreign states based on the resolution of the Government of Republic of Armenia.

However, to the best of our understanding all network operator companies currently licensed in Armenia are local ones.

As a short note, based on the Law on television and radiobroadcasting the private multiplexor should be local Armenian company in capital of which foreigner may not have more than 50% of voting shares.

Dominican Republic Small Flag Dominican Republic

According to article 22 of Law 153-98, in order to provide public telecommunications services, it is required that the provider is established as a Dominican corporate entity. To that regard, the company must be domiciled in the country.

Egypt Small Flag Egypt

As a general principal, an entity wishing to undertake an activity in Egypt needs to be domiciled in Egypt (i.e having a well-established legal form in Egypt). Accordingly, while there is no explicit provision providing for the requirement of domiciliation in Egypt in the laws mentioned under question no.1, practically speaking, any telecoms operator needs to have a legal presence in Egypt.

Estonia Small Flag Estonia

If a foreign telecom operator wants to provide a permanent service in its name in Estonia, it must pre-register at least a branch in the Estonian commercial register.

France Small Flag France

An operator is not required to be domiciled in France (i.e. to create a subsidiary, register a branch, or other) in order to operate a network or provide communications services in the country. For example, a foreign operator may request the allocation of series of numbers from the national numbering plan, or of codes for the routing of electronic communications that do not fall under the Internet addressing system.

Pursuant to EU directives, each EU Member State must ensure that access to its telecom market is not unduly restricted. The ministry in charge of electronic communications and the ARCEP must nonetheless ensure that equivalence of treatment is respected regarding outbound and inbound traffic with foreign countries, including as concerns the conditions of access to networks abroad.

China Small Flag China

No law or regulation explicitly provides that telecoms operators need to be domiciled in the country. In practice, however, many foreign service providers without onshore entities (and thus not legally eligible to host content or services on onshore servers, which requires at least an ICP filing by an onshore entity) experience service accessibility and network transmission issues.

Israel Small Flag Israel

Telecoms operators are required to be domiciled in Israel. Moreover, licensees which are corporations, are required to be incorporated in Israel, and, in the case of a general licensee which is required to deploy and operate a public telecommunications network for the provision of domestic or international telecommunications services, via such network, there is an additional requirement by which its centre of business will be located in Israel.

Italy Small Flag Italy

As a general principle – and under a pure regulatory point of view – no, although certain restriction may be provided for operators domiciled outside the European Union.

According to Section 25 of the ECC, operators domiciled outside the European Union can freely provide services in Italy (subject to the authorisation regime described under 1.2 above), subject only to (1) limitations justified by reasons of State defence, security and public health, environmental and civil protection; and (2) the country of origin of the operator concerned applies conditions of full reciprocity to Italian operators providing the same services in such foreign country.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Under the Telecom Act, there are no regulations that require a telecommunications carrier (i.e., any person who has obtained registration or has filed a notification to operate a telecommunications business under the Telecom Act) to be domiciled in Japan.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

Telecoms operators carrying out the functions of Network Facilities Providers, Network Services Providers, Applications Service Providers and Content Applications Service Providers will need to apply for an individual licence or a class licence under the CMA. In order to be eligible for such licences, in terms of domicile and foreign ownership, the applicant must be a Malaysian-incorporated company and the shareholding of the licensee company must comply with Malaysian foreign investment restrictions. With respect to market access, commercial presence in Malaysia is established through the incorporation of local joint venture companies with Malaysian individuals or Malaysian-controlled companies or through the acquisition of shares of existing licensed operators. Foreign companies are generally ineligible for licenses under the CMA.

Malta Small Flag Malta

Maltese law does not require telecoms operators to be established and domiciled in Malta. However, if Maltese regulations are to apply to that operator, the physical electronic communications networks that are essential to the transmission of signals should be located in Malta.

New Zealand Small Flag New Zealand

There is no requirement for a telecommunications operator to be domiciled in New Zealand.

Germany Small Flag Germany

An operator is not required to be domiciled in Germany. But a domestic representative is requested.

Indonesia Small Flag Indonesia

Telecom network provider and telecom service provider must be domiciled in Indonesia. According to Government Regulation No. 52 of 2000 concerning Telecommunication (“GR 52/2000”) in order to apply for telecommunication license, an applicant must satisfy certain requirement which includes the obligation of being formed as Indonesian company with the purpose to engage in telecommunication sector.

Pakistan Small Flag Pakistan

The applicable law does not have a minimum domestic legal presence requirement. However, we note from experience that PTA prefers that a local entity (SPV) be established which applies for a license to provide telecommunication services. The SPV/local entity can be completely foreign owned/controlled.

Romania Small Flag Romania

The Romanian legislation in the sector of electronic communications does not require an operator to be established on the territory of Romania.

South Korea Small Flag South Korea

While there is no explicit law or regulation that prescribes such a rule, in practice, a foreign company needs to establish a subsidiary in Korea to register as a basic telecommunications service provider. On the other hand, neither a local subsidiary nor local branch office would be required for a foreign company to file a value-added telecommunications business report with the MSICT to provide its value-added telecommunications services in Korea.

Spain Small Flag Spain

Any natural or legal person from or established in the European Union can provide ECS or ECN in Spain. Companies registered in non-EU or European Economic Area countries can only enter the telecoms market and provide services in Spain through bi- or multi-lateral agreements, conventions or treaties to which both countries are party. In addition, the Spanish government is free to make any exceptions to these rules and can grant direct authorisations.

Among other things, a foreign operator not belonging to the EU would need to present a certificate issued by the respective Spanish diplomatic representation stating that they are listed in their local professional, commercial or similar register or, failing that, that they act legally and regularly in the scope of the corresponding activities. Furthermore, they must also point out in their notification the international agreement enables them to operate networks or provide electronic communications services in Spain or, otherwise, provide the agreement from the Council of Ministers which authorises such documentation in exceptional circumstance.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

There is no need to be domiciled in the country.

Taiwan Small Flag Taiwan

Pursuant to the TA, a telecoms operator is required to obtain either a Type I operator license or a Type II operator license and therefore, it must establish a presence in Taiwan. Under the TMA, it is unclear as to whether a telecoms operator would still need to establish a presence in Taiwan as the TMA now allows voluntarily registration unless the operators conduct certain activities with regard to network inter-connection, telephone numbers allocation, and radio frequency assignment. Nevertheless, the Company Act of Taiwan requires a foreign company to establish a branch office in Taiwan if the foreign company will do business in Taiwan.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

Yes. Entities that will submit to ICTA for authorization to provide electronic communication services must be a joint stock or limited liability company established under Turkish laws.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

There are no requirements for a communications provider to be domiciled in the UK prior to or during the provision of services, and there are no foreign ownership restrictions.

United States Small Flag United States

When a corporation is directly or indirectly controlled by another corporation, the FCC traditionally reserved the right to refuse to approve a licence if more than a 25% interest in the controlling company is foreign and if the Commission finds it in the public interest to do so. In 2013, the FCC announced a policy change that it would review foreign ownership above 25% on a case-by-case basis. There are additional restrictions on the nationality of management that apply in the case telephone companies having a common carrier radio licence. No license has been denied on the basis of foreign investment. Wireline common carriers are not subject to these restrictions.

Australia Small Flag Australia

There is no requirement that a carrier or carriage service provider be domiciled in Australia. However, the Telecommunications Act provides that a condition of a carrier licence may relate to the extent of foreign ownership or control of the carrier, whether direct or indirect.

There are also further restrictions in place for Australia's dominant public carrier, Telstra. Foreign shareholding and participation in the activities of Telstra are restricted in a number of ways, including:

(a) limits on individual foreign ownership and total foreign ownership;

(b) that a majority of directors and the chair must be Australian citizens; and

(c) that head office, base of operations and place of incorporation must remain in Australia.

Updated: August 27, 2019