If so, what activities are covered and what licences or authorisations are required?

Technology (3rd edition)

Armenia Small Flag Armenia

If there is no need to possess and exploit electronic communication network while providing electronic communication services, the one who intends to render public electronic communication services is obliged only to notify the Public Services Regulatory Commission of Armenia (hereinafter the “PSRC”) 5 working days prior to commence to provide such services. If one needs to be granted limited resources for rendering services (i.e. radio frequency, orbital slots and numbers) the one should commence to provide the services since the effective date of permission to use radio frequency.

If there is a need to possess and exploit electronic communication network to provide electronic communication services, the one should be granted a license on network and permission (authorization) to use a radio frequency prior to such activity. The network operator or service provider should request PSRC on reservation of a number or a code if it is required for rendering of electronic communication services, or to arrange the use thereof and the said should be granted of such a reservation thus to be able to provide that services.

The license on network, permission to use a radio frequency and reservation (permission) on use of a number or a code are issued by the PSRC; the license on network is not given without a permission on using radio frequency. The license on the network and related permissions may be provided either based on the general procedure, i.e. one submits an application with enclosed documents in the form and content required by the Law, or PSRC may announce a tender and the one should take a part to it and win for being granted with the license.

Dominican Republic Small Flag Dominican Republic

Under the provisions of Law No. 153-98 and its Regulation, all licenses must be filed by the applicants and comply with all technical and financial information required by the Regulation for Concessions, Inscriptions in Special Registries and Licences, as applicable. INDOTEL may grant a direct license for the use and operation of microwave links or other shared or private services.

However, licenses associated with commercial exploitation of mobile, broadcast and other wireless services are subject, for its assignment, to a tender process to be called by INDOTEL depending on demand needs or spectrum availability. In contrast, satellite services require only a special registration, which is a rather simple procedure carried out before the Executive Director of INDOTEL, who will grant it along with the proper up and downlink frequencies. The spectrum allocation for satellite systems follow the Region 2 (Americas) chart of the RR.

It is important to note that the duration for obtaining such authorisations depend on the service object of the request made, as well as INDOTEL´s docket, and could vary between three months to a year. To date, authorizations are not subject to any payments for either granting or renewing them. However, the use of radio spectrum is subject to an annual usage fee, calculated according the bandwidth and power of the installations and networks, as well as the number of stations in service.

Also, it should be noted that Article 45 of the Law creates the Contribution Towards Telecommunications Development (“CDT” by its Spanish acronym), a 2% levy included in end-user bills and over income received by all public telecommunication service providers for international traffic destined to the Dominican Republic. CDT is the main source of INDOTEL´s financing, as well as telecommunications development projects. Moreover, pursuant to Section IV of the Dominican Tax Code, telecommunications services are also subject to a 10% Excise Tax and a 18% VAT.

The Contribution Towards Telecommunications Development allows for the regulator to define specific programs that can subsidize underserved areas, and many projects have been implements to reach the Internet footprint in the country. Most of the programs have been designed to increase the number of computer penetration and Internet access, including the installation of public wi-fi hot spots, but the main driver in broadband growth continues to be the private sector through its investments and marketing initiatives.

Egypt Small Flag Egypt

As mentioned previously in 1.1, the activities regulated cover mostly telecommunications, programming, software, electronic signatures, websites and mobile applications.

For each activity, there are several types of licenses which are issued either by NTRA (for the telecommunications licenses, e.g Mobile/Cellular Services, Satellite Services, Data/Internet Services and Gateway or Cabling Services), by ITIDA (for programming, software and electronic signatures licenses) or by the Supreme Media Council (for websites, social media and mobile applications licenses).

Estonia Small Flag Estonia

Electronic Communications Act defines that electronic communications undertaking means a person who provides publicly available electronic communications services to the end-user or to another provider of publicly available electronic communications services. Electronic communications service means a service which consists wholly or mainly in transmission or conveyance of signals over the electronic communications network under the agreed conditions. Network services are also electronic communications services.

The general requirements is that an electronic communication undertaking wishing to commence the provision of communication services (data communications, telephone, mobile telephony, network, leased line, cable or other electronic communications services) shall be registered in the Estonian Commercial register and submit a written notice to the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority before commencing with business (notice of economic activities). General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act provides the list of information and documents that shall be submitted with a notice of economic activities. In addition to the general data, a description of the provided communications service and the geographical area of the activity shall be also provided with a notice of economic activities.

The notification obligation can be performed only through the Estonian information portal https://www.eesti.ee/en/ (so the legal representative of the electronic communication undertaking should possess e-ID of Estonia) or in a notary.

There is no licensing requirement for the provision of electronic communication services, except if the availability of radio frequencies is necessary for the provision of a publicly available electronic communications service. In such a case, a frequency license shall be applied for from the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. Database of the issued frequency licenses can be found here: https://mtr.mkm.ee/

In case the provision of the electronic communication services requires numbering authorisation, then this application for license shall be submitted also to the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority in the form published on Technical Regulatory Authority website: https://www.ttja.ee/et/ettevottele-organisatsioonile/sideteenused/numeratsioon/numbriluba

The Authority shall issue a numbering license within ten working days. The decision to issue a numbering authorization and the conditions of it shall be published in the Register of Economic Activities: https://mtr.mkm.ee/ not later than within ten working days as of the issue of the numbering license. The license is always issued for one year. In order to extend the validity of the license, the license holder must submit an application for renewal of the license to the authority not later than 20 days before the expiry of the authorization and pay the state fee. The authority shall decide on the renewal or non-renewal of the numbering authorization no later than three working days before the expiry of the valid numbering license. The license is again renewed for one year.

State fee shall be payable before issuing of the numbering license. You can see the valid state fees (valid on 2019-2020) here: https://www.ttja.ee/et/ettevottele-organisatsioonile/sideteenused/numeratsioon/riigiloiv-numbriloa-toimingute-eest for example Phone Numbers, Mobile Phone Numbers, Personal Numbers, E-Fax Numbers, Payphone Service Numbers, Mass Dialling Numbers: state fee = € 0.35 for each number allowed for use per year).

France Small Flag France

The declaration with ARCEP concerns, first, the networks open to the public, defined as consisting of any installation for the transportation, transmission or carriage of electronic communications, including switching and routing equipment. Second, it is also required for the provision of electronic communication services to the public, that is, the provision of electronic communications, defined as the transmission of signals over communications networks. The provision of on-line content or the exercise of editorial responsibility for such content are excluded.

The scope of the regulated services is illustrated by a decision of the European Court of Justice of 5 June 2019, which determines that the services of Skype do not consist of electronic communications services, except the “Skype Out” functionality which enables users to call fixed and mobile phone numbers. The Court grounds its analysis on the fact that this functionality is delivered against payment by the users and requires Skype to execute interconnection agreements directly with the operators in order to deliver the calls.

This distinction between transmission services and “Over The Top,” software based services should be narrowed down once the new ECEC code is transposed, since it will cover the services consisting wholly or mainly in the conveyance of signals, internet access services and, also, “interpersonal communications services.” The latter category addresses services enabling interpersonal and interactive exchanges of information between a finite number of persons, regardless whether they connect with publicly assigned numbering resources or not. Practically speaking, this means that Voice over IP and messaging services such as Skype, Whatsapp, Wechat or Facebook Messenger are likely to fall within the scope of regulated services.

Alongside the declaratory regime, an individual authorization by the ARCEP is required for the use of certain frequency bands, such as those allocated to mobile telephony services (GSM, UMTS), radio local loops, radio-relay systems or satellite networks. In these cases, additional obligations are set out in the operators’ licenses.

Conversely, a declaration to the ARCEP is still not required for ‘independent networks’ (referring to telecom services exchanged within closed user groups) and for radio installations which use short-range frequencies that are not dedicated to their users (e.g. WiFi, Bluetooth).

China Small Flag China

A wide range of activities are covered, as listed and categorized in the Catalog. For example, the primary authorisations consist of the ‘Basic Telecommunications Service Operating Permit’ for BTS and ‘Value-Added Telecommunications Service Operating Permit’ for VATS, which each further specify the sub-categories of activities that may be undertaken in connection with such permits pursuant to the Catalog and the Telecoms Regulations.

Israel Small Flag Israel

According to the term "Telecommunications", as defined in section 1 of the Communications Law, this Law covers activities regarding the transmission, transfer or reception of symbols, signals, writing, visual forms, voices or information, by means of wire, wireless, an optical system or other electromagnetic systems. A service provider is defined as any person who operates, installs, constructs or maintains a telecommunications equipment/device/ facility for others – all for "Telecommunications" purposes (see the above definition).

The Communications Law provides for the granting of these types of licenses: (i) a special license or general permit to perform telecommunications action and to provide domestic or international telecommunication services, which is limited to a certain category of telecommunications action or service, such as transmission services only or private network services. The general permit may be issued subject to the fulfilment of at least one of the conditions detailed in section 4a1 of the Communications Law, such as the condition according to section 4a1 (5), which authorizes the MOC to issue a general permit for the provision of specific services for which a large number of licenses have been issued in a unified format to provide the services, in regard to the provision of internet access services. The general permit enables any person who complies with the eligibility conditions set out in the permit, to only register with the MOC prior to providing telecommunications services; (ii) a general license, which relates to the establishment and operation of a public telecommunications network and for the provision of domestic or international telecommunications services, via such network, such as domestic telephony and data transmission services, fixed or mobile, or the provision of network services, such as broadband connectivity; and (iii) a general united license for the provision of a number of services, including the following: domestic fixed line telecommunications services without a universal service obligation; international telephony; and mobile services by using the telecommunication of another mobile services licensee's network (MVNO).

In addition, any entity wishing to provide narrowcasting television services through cable or satellite can only do so upon the receipt of a licence. The licensing process is regulated by the Minister of Communications and the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council. The Communications Law provides for the granting of four types of narrowcasting television licences: (i) general licences for the provision of multichannel television services via cable network; (ii) general licences for the provision of multichannel television services via satellite; (iii) special licences for the provision of one television channel using such cable network of the general licensees; and (iv) a licence for providing video on demand services.

Italy Small Flag Italy

The ECC is aimed at regulating: (i) electronic communications networks and services for public use, including networks used for the circular broadcasting of sound and television programs and cable television networks; (ii) electronic communications activities for private use; (iii) protection of submarine electronic communications installations; and (iv) radio- electric services.

According to Section 25 ECC, the provision of the said services is subject to a general authorisation.

The applicant must submit to the Ministry of Economic Development a declaration, compliant with a standard form attached to the ECC, for the offer to the public of the electronic communication service concerned, together with a number of technical information related to the same service; the provision of such service can start even immediately after the filing of the said declaration, provided that the Ministry will have 60 days to verify the existence of the legal and technical requirements applicable to the relevant service and prohibit the continuation of the same service.

General authorisations have a maximum duration of 20 years and are renewable.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Telecommunications services (including businesses that provide telecommunications services) are regulated by the Telecommunication Business Act (the Telecom Act), which came into effect in 1985 when the telecommunications market of Japan was liberalised. The Wire Telecommunications Act and the Radio Act also regulate the establishment and operation of telecommunications facilities. Broadcasting is separately regulated by the Broadcasting Act.

Telecommunications services are defined as certain services that intermediate communications of third parties through the use of telecommunications facilities or that otherwise provide telecommunications facilities for the use of communications by third parties. Telecommunications facilities are broadly defined to include machines, equipment, wires and cables or other electrical facilities for the operation of telecommunications.

Under the Telecom Act, any person who intends to operate a telecommunications business must obtain registration from the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), except in cases where (i) it installs no telecommunications circuit facilities, (ii) it only installs small-scale telecommunications circuit facilities (i.e., relevant telecommunication facilities remain within certain local area), or (iii) it installs radio facilities of radio stations which separately require a license under the Radio Act. In these exceptional cases, such person must file a notification with the MIC (instead of obtaining registration from the MIC).

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

Persons who own or provide network facilities (“Network Facilities Providers”), persons who provide network services (“Network Service Providers”), persons who provide applications services (“Applications Service Providers”) and persons who provide applications services which provide content (“Content Application Service Providers”) require licences under the CMA, which are separated into licences for individuals and by classes.

Malta Small Flag Malta

General authorisations established by the Electronic Communications Networks and Services (General) Regulations (ECNSR) include the following:

  • the establishment and operation of a public communications network;
  • publicly available telephone services;
  • the provision of other publicly available electronic communications services;
  • the provision of television and radio distribution services;
  • the provision of non-public electronic communications services;
  • publicly available telephone directories and directly enquiry services; and
  • private electronic communications networks or services.

Before commencing its service, an undertaking wishing to provide an electronic communications network or an electronic communications service must first notify the MCA by completing the relevant notification form. The form must include all the requisite information provided for under Regulation 66 of the ECNSR.

Once the MCA acknowledges the undertaking’s submission of notification, the undertaking concerned is deemed to be authorised to provide an electronic communications network or service. However, this is subject to the conditions established in the ninth schedule to the ECNSR. Moreover, administrative charges are specified in the Eighth Schedule (Part A) of the ECNSR.

The duration of a general authorisation to provide an electronic communications service is unlimited, subject to ongoing compliance with the conditions attached to it. If there is a breach of these conditions, the MCA can take any actions that it deems to be suitable.

Germany Small Flag Germany

See above.

Indonesia Small Flag Indonesia

Activities covered under Law 36/1999

Generally, there are three type of activities covered under the Law 36/1999. These activities are as follows:

a. Provision of telecommunication network

The telecommunication network may be provided through fixed line or mobile. Provision of fixed line network include the provision of local fixed-line network, domestic long-distance network, international connection, or closed-fixed line network. On the other hand, the provision of mobile network includes the provision of terrestrial mobile network, cellular network, or mobile satellite network.

b. Provision of telecommunication service

In providing its service, the telecommunication service provider will utilise the network owned by telecommunication network provider. There are three types of telecommunication service provisions i.e. provisions of basic telephony service, value-added telephony service, and multimedia service.

Provision of basic telephony service covers, among others, telephone service (mobile and fixed-line), telegraph, telex, and facsimile. Value-added telephone service is provided in the form of, among others, premium calls, calling cards, virtual private phone number, call centre, etc. As for multimedia service, it includes internet service provider, network access point, internet telephony for public purpose, and data communication system.

c. Provision of special telecommunication

Special telecommunication is understood as telecommunication which has special purpose and operation. Special telecommunication is provided if the telecommunication provider and service telecommunication provider cannot fulfil the need of a special telecommunication, cannot reach the location, or if it needs a separate and independent network.

Required License/Authorizations

Every party which carries out the above activities must generally obtain license from the MCI. The telecommunication licenses are divided into two type of license based on the stage of the activity. At the preparation stage, the telecommunication provider must obtain principal telecommunication license. Once the telecommunication provider is ready to operate, it may obtain the telecommunication business license.

Exemption may apply for certain type of provision of special telecommunication. Provision of special telecommunication for individual and special agency does not require principal telecommunication license. Principal and telecommunication business license are also not required if the provision of special telecommunication is for national defence and security purpose.

Additional licenses might also be required for any telecommunication-related activities. For example, to distribute telecommunication equipment in Indonesia, a company must obtain type approval. Or if a company uses foreign satellite operations, a landing right is required.

Pakistan Small Flag Pakistan

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

No person, unless he has obtained a license from PTA, shall establish, maintain or operate any telecommunication system (as per item 1.1 above) or provide any telecommunication service (as per item 1.1 above).

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority

PEMRA has the exclusive right to issue licenses for the establishment and operation of all broadcast media (as per item 1.1 above) and distribution services (as per item 1.1 above), therefore, any person desirous of operating broadcast media or a distribution service, shall be required to procure a license from PEMRA.

Romania Small Flag Romania

GEO 111/2011 covers all activities in the field of communications networks and services and establishes the general framework for regulation of electronic communications networks and services, the authorization of such activities and promotes competition on the market. In addition, there is special legislation encompassing laws and emergency ordinances on certain topics as well as secondary legislation (mainly government decisions and enactments of the telecom body).

The provision of electronic communications networks and services is subject to (i) general authorization and (ii) licenses for the use of limited resources for the provisions of electronic communications networks and services, such as radio frequencies, numbering resources and other associated technical resources. These licenses are subject to certain technical parameters and are granted for a limited period of time. The general authorizations as well as the licensees are issued by the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications ("ANCOM") in accordance with its decision no. 987/2012 on the general authorization regime for the provision of electronic communications networks and services.

South Korea Small Flag South Korea

(1) Basic telecommunications services

General rule: Anyone who wishes to engage in the basic telecommunications business (i.e., provision of basic telecommunications services over a telecommunications network) must “register” with the Minister of Science and ICT (“MSICT”).

Exception: Anyone who provides basic telecommunications services as an ancillary service to their main products or services and charges a fee to users of the said basic telecommunications services must “report” to the MSICT, including cases where the fee is included in the user’s payment for the main products or services. Examples of cases where reporting to the MSICT is required include those in which a business operator engaged in a non-telecommunications-related business (e.g., sale of automobiles or TVs) sells its main goods or services, which include an ancillary communications function (e.g., telematics services in the case of automobiles).

(2) Value-added telecommunications services

General rule: Anyone who wishes to engage in the value-added telecommunications business (i.e., provision of various information/data services over a telecommunications network such as a broadband network) must “report” to the MSICT.

Exception: Anyone who wishes to engage in certain value-added telecommunications business by providing the following special types of value-added telecommunications services must “register” with the MSICT: (i) value-added telecommunications services provided by a special online service provider (i.e., an online service which enables the interactive transmission of copy-righted works between different persons by using computers); and (ii) value-added telecommunications services through which text messages are sent by directly or indirectly connecting a text message transmission system to the telecommunications equipment and facilities of a telecommunications business operator.

Spain Small Flag Spain

Pursuant to item 26 of Annex II of the Spanish Telecommunications Act, an operator means a legal or natural person, which provides public communications networks or provides electronic communication services to the public and has notified the relevant authority at the beginning of its activity, or is registered under the Registry of operators.

Therefore, while in Spain an authorisation or license is not necessary in order to provide ECS or ECN, notification to the relevant authority remains mandatory. Prior to the provision of services or networks, the provider shall give notice of the start of the activity to the Registry of operators, which is overseen by the Spanish Regulator, the National Commission on Markets and Competition ("Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y de la Competencia", in Spanish), commonly known simply as "CNMC".

The CNMC will then issue a reasoned decision accepting or rejecting the notified activity within 15 days. If it fails to issue a decision within this period, the provider will be able to commence its activity.

Once registered, a service provider must notify the CNMC every three years of its intention to continue providing the ECS or ECN in question. Failure to notify will result in proceedings that may lead to the cancellation of the registration of the operator concerned. In this scenario, the operator would not be able to continue providing the ECS or ECN, and would be required to proceed to a new notification.

The following link provides the template for making the notification (https://sede.cnmc.gob.es/sites/default/files/2016-12/Notifica.pdf). Apart from information related to the identification of the company, a description of the activity to be carried out must also be included, as well as an estimated start date for the activity.

Although registration with the Registry of operators is free of charge, an annual administrative fee does apply (which is itself calculated on a yearly basis, currently 0.1% of the gross annual income generated with the provision of the relevant ECS or ECN) for each operator.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

The Electronic Communications Act applies to electronic communication networks and services and their corresponding installations, services and other radio usage. The transmitted content itself does not fall within the scope of the act. According to the act, public communication networks that are normally provided in exchange for money, and publicly accessible communication services, may only be provided if the business has been reported to the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (Sw. Post- och telestyrelsen).

Regarding businesses that only transfer signals via wires for the purpose of public broadcasting of programs in accordance with chapter 1, section 1, subsection 3 in the Freedom of Expression Act (Sw. Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen), no reporting to the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has to be done. This means that public broadcasting of e.g. radio, television, content from some databases and other transmissions via electromagnetic waves are unregulated in this aspect.

Taiwan Small Flag Taiwan

The TMA abolishes the existing licenses and permits system under the TA. Currently, the TA classified telecommunications operators into Type I and Type II operators. Type I operators are the operators that own and operate physical telecommunications facilities and networks, while Type II operators are those that provide telecommunications services by leasing the physical facilities and networks of the Type I operators. Under the TMA, the license and permit for Type I and Type II operators have been placed with a new “voluntary” registration system. A telecommunications operator will be “required” to apply for the registration with the National Communication Commission (the "NCC), if its provision of communications service involves the following activities:

  1. Conducting network inter-connection negotiation and applying for "procedure of arbitration" with the NCC (concerning network inter-connection);
  2. Applying with the NCC for radio frequency for commercial use;
  3. Applying with the NCC for "user identification codes" of publicly switched telecommunications or signal point codes; or
  4. Applying with the NCC for allocation of user numbers.

A telecommunications operator does not conduct the above activities can voluntarily register itself with the NCC. Only when a telecommunications operator is registered with the NCC, it will be eligible to certain privileges that the TMA offers to telecommunications operators.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

Electronic communication services may be provided subject to and within the scope of an authorization to be issued by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA). Entities who wish to provide electronic communication services and/or establish and operate an electronic communication network or infrastructure, shall notify ICTA before starting their activities.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

The use of radio spectrum requires a licence from Ofcom (section 8, Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (WTA)). Radio spectrum is auctioned by Ofcom from time to time, for vast sums running into billions of pounds.

Digital TV and radio broadcasting requires various multiplex and radio broadcast licences under the Broadcasting Act 1996. These are different from the licence of the relevant spectrum, which is licensed under the WTA. Licences are granted by Ofcom for a fixed fee payable. There can also be an annual percentage of revenue payable.

Operating a satellite in outer space. The licence is obtained from the UK Space Agency.

United States Small Flag United States

Licenses are required to provide telephony services (both landlines and wireless), as well as radio and television (broadcast and cable) services. Citizens band ("CB") radio may be operated without a license; otherwise, use of the public radio frequency spectrum for radio, television or wireless telephony requires authorization from the FCC and allocation of spectrum.

Section 214 Authorization. All new common carriers must register with the FCC and provide certain contact information. The FCC provides blanket authority for the provision of interstate telecommunications service on a common carrier basis, and this blanket authority covers all providers. Consequently, unlike international common carriers, which must secure Section 214 authorizations, interstate common carriers are not required to apply for prior FCC authorization. Before providing any international telecommunications service between the United States and another country, a new common carrier must apply for and obtain an international Section 214 authorization from the FCC.

Although foreign entities may hold international Section 214 authorizations, the application process for a foreign entity to obtain a Section 214 authorization can take more than a year. Team Telecom, a working group representing the U.S. Executive Branch, reviews Section 214 applications that involve foreign ownership to determine whether they raise national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, or trade policy issues, and there is no deadline by which Team Telecom must complete this review.

Intrastate telecommunications services are regulated by state PUCs. Although each state’s rules and procedures differ, many states require intrastate common carriers to register or obtain a state license prior to providing telecommunications services. Certain states, including California, mandate an application and approval process. In California, this approval process can take six to nine months. Other states merely require prior notice.

Australia Small Flag Australia

See the answer to the question above.

Updated: July 25, 2019