Is there any specific regulator for the provisions of communications-related services? Are they independent of the government control?

Technology (second edition)

Indonesia Small Flag Indonesia

In Indonesia, the regulator for the provision of communications-related services is the MOCI and the Directorate General of Post and Telecommunication (“DGPT”). Aside from the MOCI and DGPT, there is also the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (Badan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesia), which consists of the DGPT and the Telecommunication Regulation Committee. The Telecommunication Regulation Committee is made up of individuals drawn from the government and the public. These regulators are not independent of government control.

The Netherlands Small Flag The Netherlands

The Dutch telecoms regulator is the Consumers and Markets Authority (Autoriteit Consument en Markt; "ACM"). ACM is a so-called autonomous administrative authority (zelfstandig bestuursorgaan) under Dutch law. It falls under responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, but the Minister may only provide general rules to be followed by ACM (such as regulations and policy rules). The Minister may not provide instructions or directions in individual cases, which are up to the ACM Board to decide independently.

The roles and responsibilities of ACM in the field of telecoms are codified in the Dutch Telecommunications Act.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

Yes. Anatel is the federal authority responsible for the regulation of communications-related services, as established by the Telecommunications Act (Law No. 9,472/1997). The agency is independent, as Anatel’s commissioners cannot be dismissed by the President of the Republic.

Luxembourg Small Flag Luxembourg

Telecommunication services are regulated by the Luxembourg Institute of Regulation (Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation - ILR). Even though it is an independent public body with financial and administration autonomy, it is placed under the authority of the Minister in charge of relations with the ILR (currently the Minister of State). The roles and the organisation of ILR are codified in the Law of 30 May 2005 on the organisation of the Luxembourg Institute of Regulation.

Romania Small Flag Romania

Yes. The regulatory authority in the sector of electronic communications is the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications ("ANCOM") (in Romanian Autoritatea Națională pentru Administrare și Reglementare în Comunicații). ANCOM was established pursuant to the Governemnet Emergency Ordinance no. 22/2009 as an autonomous public authority under the control of the Romanian Parliament and financed entirely from its own revenues.

Spain Small Flag Spain

The CNMC, referred to in the previous answer, is the Spanish regulator that promotes and defends the proper functioning of the markets in the interest of consumers and companies, including the electronic communications market. Under Article 6 of Act 3/2013, adopted on 4th June 2013, regarding the creation of the CNMC, its main functions in the electronic market are to:

  • Define and analyse markets related to electronic communications services and networks, including retail and wholesale markets, and its geographical range, whose features can justify the imposition of certain obligations.
  • Identify the operator or operators that have significant power in the market and analyse when the markets are not developed in an effective competitive environment.
  • Establish the applicable obligations for those operators with significant power on the market.
  • Resolve electronic communications disputes in the market.
  • Fulfil other obligations established by law.

The CNMC is independent from the Spanish Government, although it is subject to parliamentary control. According to Article 39 of Act 3/2013on the CNMC’s creation, the President of the CNMC has to appear annually before Congress in order to outline the basic plan for its actions and priorities for the year ahead. In addition, the President must, every three years, present in person their evaluation of the action plan and the results achieved by the CNMC. Without prejudice from this annual appearance, the President must appear before the corresponding commission of the Senate or Congress on the same terms established in their respective regulations.

India Small Flag India

Communications-related services in India can be broadly categorised into (i) telecommunication services; (ii) electronics and information technology services; and (iii) broadcasting services.

For telecommunications services (i) the Department of Telecommunications (DoT); and (ii) the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), are the two key regulatory bodies. The DoT is a government department and is part of the MoC. It is the rule making and licensing arm of the MoC. The TRAI is an independent statutory body and is established under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, after the entry of private players in the telecom sector in India was permitted. The TRAI regulates tariffs and interconnections, lays down quality of service parameters, ensures compliance of the terms and conditions of licenses among others. The TRAI in addition, also recommends either suo moto or at the request of the Central Government on the need and timing for introduction of new service provider, terms and conditions of licenses to service providers, revocation of license for non-compliance, promotion of competition, technology improvements amongst other such matters.

For electronics, information technology services and broadcasting services the MeitY and the MIB have multiple subordinate departments/ organisations. In certain matters, the broadcasting sector is also regulated by the TRAI.

In addition, the broadcasting industry has several self-regulating bodies such as the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA) that are free of government control.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

The main three regulatory institutions for telecommunications in Turkey are:

  • Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (“Ministry”): The Ministry is responsible for policy making for telecommunications.
  • Information and Communications Technologies Authority (“ICTA”): ICTA is responsible for the regulation of the telecommunications sector. The ICTA is an independent institution and is not under the authority of any other body. It has the authority to enact regulations, by-laws, communications and other secondary regulations pertaining to the authorisations granted by the Electronic Communications Law. The ICTA is also authorised to carry out activities for the protection of competition in the telecommunications sector. ICTA's functions further include:
    • conducting operations for determining, listening and recording communications made via telecommunications;
    • evaluating and recording signal information within the scope of the related legislation;
    • transmitting the data and the information obtained from the above activities to the National Intelligence Organisation, the General Directorate of National Police, and the General Command of Gendarmerie (depending on the relevance of the subject), or the courts and the republic prosecutor offices upon request.
    • conducting activities to prevent internet activities and broadcasting which contains content considered criminal under the Internet Law. The ICTA can also take the necessary measures provided under the Internet Law regarding blocking access to internet.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority and the Swedish Data Protection Authority (Sw. Datainspektionen) are the main regulators of communication-related services.

The Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation (Sw. Näringsdepartementet) is responsible for the Post and Telecom Authority and the Ministry of Justice (Sw. Justitiedepartementet) is responsible for the Data Protection Authority.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

There are two regulatory agencies for the provision of communications-related services:

The Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) is the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications market. Established by the TCA, it consists of seven members nominated by the Federal Council. ComCom is not subject to any Federal Council or Department directives. It is independent of the administrative authorities and has its own secretariat. ComCom’s responsibilities include, among other things, granting licenses for use of the radio frequency spectrum, awarding universal service licences, laying down the access conditions (unbundling, interconnection, leased lines etc.) when service providers fail to reach an agreement, approving national numbering plans, fixing the terms of application of number portability/carrier selection and rendering decisions about supervisory measures and administrative sanctions.

The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) handles questions related to telecommunications and broadcasting (radio and television). OFCOM prepares the decisions of the Swiss government (Federal Council), the Swiss Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) and the Swiss Federal Communications Commission (ComCom). OFCOM also serves as a point of contact for and coordinates international activities as regards Switzerland’s position as an innovative location for business and research. OFCOM fulfils all regulatory tasks as regards telecommunications services and is, among other things, responsible for granting licences to all providers of fixed network services (without the tender procedure), the enforcement of the TSPs’ obligation to register and the management of the frequency spectrum.

China Small Flag China

Main regulators for the provisions of communication-related services are MIIT and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). MIIT is in charge of licensing for and administration of both BTS and VATS, while CAC’s functions cover implementing the internet information communication policies, promoting the legislation in internet information communication, instructing relevant departments to enhance the management of internet information content, approving and supervising network news services, and planning the construction of critical news websites. Both MIIT and CAC are directly led by the State Council.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

The Federal Telecommunications Institute (“IFT” for its acronym in Spanish) is the Mexican regulator of the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. IFT is a collegiate independent constitutional entity, meaning that IFT does not depend from any governmental authority or power and that it is empowered with technical and administrative autonomy. IFT was created with the following general purposes: regulating and promoting competition in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors; regulating the telecommunications public networks from their deployment to their operation; granting, regulating and supervising the provision of telecommunications services; and safeguarding the rights of the users and audiences.

IFT possesses full technical authority and is designed as a specialized entity in telecommunications, broadcasting and competition in such sectors. Therefore, in principle, only the specialized courts on economic competition, broadcasting and telecommunications can exercise control (in the form of judicial review) over IFT. Notwithstanding the foregoing, these courts can exclusively review the legality of the actions of the regulator, but should in principle defer to the technical and regulatory discretion of the former.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (“MCMC”) specifically regulates the provision of communications-related services in Malaysia and is empowered to supervise, regulate and enforce legislation relating to communications and multimedia-related activities. The MCMC is not independent of government control as the Minister of Communications and Multimedia (“Minister”) is empowered to regulate the MCMC under the CMA and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998. The MCMC is tasked with advising the Minister on all matters concerning the national policy objectives for communications and multimedia-related activities.

France Small Flag France

Communications networks and services are regulated by a national regulatory authority, the ARCEP.

This agency has been recognized as an ‘independent government authority’ by the French constitutional court since its inception in 1996 and is subject to the Act of 20 January 2017 which settles the rules applicable to such bodies, such as incompatibilities, conflicts of interests, professional secrecy. Its members may not be revoked during their assignment and may not receive orders or instructions from the government.

The ARCEP’s decisions on the definition of market segments and the remedies to potential lacks of competition are guided by the recommendations of the EU Commission, which also holds a veto power. The Authority’s regulations on the terms of use of the different categories of telecom networks and services are homologated by the ministry in charge of electronic communications. The ARCEP reports to a commission comprised of members of Parliament (Commission Supérieure du Numérique et des Postes) and is frequently auditioned by the Parliament. Its regulatory decisions are subject to the jurisdiction of France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, and its decisions on individual disputes between operators may be brought before the Paris Court of Appeals.

Being under such scrutiny, the ARCEP strives to strike a balance between the main market players and the government. Its position and role in the telecommunications landscape is well illustrated by its contribution to an agreement reached in January 2018 with the government and the mobile operators to help generalize 4G cover throughout the territory due, in particular, to increased mutualization of networks.

Germany Small Flag Germany

The specific regulator for the provision of telecommunication services is, in accordance with the TKG, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) which is a governmental body. It is thus not independent of government control.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

The IMDA is the authority that regulates the provisions of communications-related services in Singapore.

Australia Small Flag Australia

The ACMA is an independent statutory authority that regulates non-competition aspects of the telecommunications industry, including:

(a) issuing carrier licenses under the Telecommunications Act;

(b) issuing apparatus, class and spectrum licences under the Radiocommunications Act;

(c) enforcing carrier licence conditions, service provider rules, industry codes and standards, and carriers' rights and immunities including the carrier-to-carrier access regime;

(d) drafting and enforcing technical standards for radiocommunications transmitters and receivers;

(e) enforcing the universal service obligation and customer service guarantee;

(f) technical regulation (for example, cabling rules); and

(g) numbering.

The ACMA may be subject to ministerial directions in relation to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers. However, such directions cannot be general in nature subject to limited exceptions.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent statutory authority that regulates competition aspects of the telecommunications industry, including:

(a) access and interconnection, including arbitration of access disputes between parties; and

(b) enforcement of general and telecommunications specific legislation aimed at preventing anti-competitive conduct.

Similarly to the ACMA, the ACCC may be subject to ministerial directions given in connection with the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers. However, the Minister cannot give directions with respect to anti-competitive conduct and record keeping rules in the telecommunications industry or the telecommunications access regime.

United States Small Flag United States

The primary federal regulator of communications-related service is the FCC. The FCC is an agency of the U.S. government. It is directed by five commissioners appointed by the President of the United States for 5 year terms. Although it is an independent agency of the federal government, the appointment process has become politicized in recent years, and commissioners frequently espouse the policy positions of the administration that appoints them.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Telecommunication services are administered by the MIC. The MIC is a government regulatory body and as such is not independent of government control.

Poland Small Flag Poland

The Telecommunications Act of 16 July 2004 designates the President of the UKE as the regulatory authority responsible for monitoring telecommunications and postal services and managing frequency resources.

The President of the UKE is the central government administration authority. The President of the UKE is appointed by the Parliament – the Sejm (the lower house), with the consent of the Senate (the upper house) – at the request of the Prime Minister. The President of the UKE’s term of office lasts 5 years. Following the expiry of this term of office, the President of the UKE continues to perform his function until a successor is appointed.

Under the Telecommunications Act, the President of the UKE may be dismissed before his term expires only in the event of:

  1. a flagrant breach of the law;
  2. a conviction by final judgement for an intentional offence or a fiscal offence;
  3. a conviction barring from managerial positions or functions involving special responsibility in the state administration;
  4. illness permanently preventing performance of the duties of the President of the UKE;
  5. resignation.
  6. Considering the above, it appears that the President of the UKE is not directly controlled by the government in his activities as head of the UKE, but the fact that his appointment is made upon recommendation by the Prime Minister and is dependent on the vote of the Parliament seems worthy of consideration in this respect.

Updated: February 7, 2019