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


United States Small Flag United States

Communications-related services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). The FCC is an “independent” agency governed by five commissioners, meaning that it makes decisions independent of direct government control. As a practical matter, however, the rules for appointing commissions allow the President to appoint a majority of commissioners, so that the FCC’s policies will often reflect the policy preferences of the President.

Malta Small Flag Malta

The Malta Communications Authority (the ‘MCA’) is the authority entrusted to regulate electronic communications, postal and electronic commerce sectors and is constituted by law under the Malta Communications Authority Act, Chapter 418 of the Laws of Malta (the ‘MCA Act’), to exercise regulatory functions in the field of communications. Its aims are to promote competition, develop the internal market, promote the interests and rights of users within the European Union and ensure that there are adequate electronic communications services to satisfy all reasonable demands. The MCA also works to develop an environment that is favourable to investment, innovation, social inclusion and economic growth.

The MCA is a governmental authority. It provides advice to the Government of Malta on various matters, including the international dimension of the electronic communications regulatory framework.

Norway Small Flag Norway

The Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom) is tasked with ensuring the compatibility of electronic communication services and equipment in Norway, hereunder that the requirements laid down in or pursuant to the Electronic Communications Act are fulfilled.

As a sectoral authority, Nkom is subject to the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications, who may instruct Nkom to deal with cases within the scope of the Electronic Communications Act.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

The Information and Telecommunication Technologies Authority (“BTK”) is the authority for regulating and monitoring the telecommunications sector in Turkey. The Authority is independent and regulates/supervises the telecommunications sector in Turkey with regards to authorisation, tariffs, access, numbering, spectrum management, licensing, market supervision etc.

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

In Mexico, the autonomous regulatory authority on telecommunications and broadcasting matters (including competition in such matters) is the Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, “IFT”, for its acronym in Spanish). The IFT was created as a constitutional autonomous entity, whose purpose is the efficient development of the broadcasting and telecommunications services, and the correct development of competence on these sectors. As an autonomous body, its characteristics are to be specialized, impartial, and a collegial entity created at the Federal level, with full technical and management autonomy and self-determination authority over its budget and internal organization. For such reasons, the IFT has full autonomy in relation to its operation and resolutions since September 10, 2013 when its Board of commissioners was appointed.

The Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law sets forth the authorities of the IFT. Within such regulatory authorities, we can mention the following as the most relevant: (i) the granting of Concessions and Authorizations; (ii) the implementation of procurement processes as well as the allocation of frequency bands of the radio spectrum; (iii) the overview of regulatory compliance on telecommunications and broadcasting matters; and (iv) the determination of economic agents with dominant power in relevant markets and preponderant economic agents in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Yes – communications networks and services are primarily regulated by Ofcom. Ofcom, whilst independent of government control:

  • must act in accordance with its powers and duties set out in law;
  • is accountable to the UK Parliament; and
  • is funded from regulatory fees and grant-in-aid from the UK government.

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.

Italy Small Flag Italy

The Italian regulator for the provisions of communications-related services in Italy is the “Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni” (“AGCOM”). AGCOM is an independent and autonomous authority. AGCOM’s members are appointed by the Italian Parliament, which has established AGCOM’s powers. Thus, AGCOM is not under the control of the government and is accountable directly to the parliament. In addition, also the Italian Ministry for Economic Development has significant powers and responsibility in connection with the communication industry.

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, the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency, 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. Financial and administrative independency is also guaranteed for the agency.

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. These regulators are not independent of government control.

India Small Flag India

As stated in the response to Question 1 above, there are 2 regulatory bodies responsible for telecommunications licensing and regulation, namely the DoT and the TRAI, respectively. It is pertinent to note that private telecommunications service providers operate solely on the basis of a license granted by the Government. The DoT is a government department under the Ministry of Communications, and it cannot be considered independent of government control to any extent. The DoT may solicit the views of the TRAI before making any changes to telecom policy or the standard terms of telecommunications licenses, but is not bound by any such recommendations. The regulation of telecommunication licenses is undertaken by the TRAI, as stated in the response to Question 1 above. It is pertinent to note here that the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, while deciding on the constitutionality of the National Telecom Policy, 1994, suggested that the TRAI should be an independent body. The aforementioned policy, which allowed for private participation in the telecommunication sector, was held to be valid by the Supreme Court and it further emphasised on the necessity of the independent statutory authority in a deregulated and competitive telecom market that is in place today. Although the TRAI has the independence to appoint senior subject-matter experts in the field, several key officers of the TRAI are appointed by the Government of India, and further, some senior executives of the DoT hold ex officio positions at the TRAI. Further, the Central Government i.e. the DoT has the power to issue directions and formulate rules on various subjects which the TRAI has to abide by. Given that, the TRAI is not a wholly independent regulator.

Israel Small Flag Israel

The main regulator for communications-related services is the Israeli Ministry of Communications, which is a government office. In addition there are several independent regulators that have a mandate to supervise specific sectors such as the radio and broadcast sector (e.g., The Second Authority for Television & Radio and the Israeli Public Broadcast Corporation). Many of the reforms introduced to the communications sector are a result of independent committees formed by the Israeli Ministry of Communications.

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

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

France Small Flag France

Communications networks and services are regulated by a national regulatory authority, the ARCEP (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes).

This agency has been recognized as an ‘independent government authority’ by the French constitutional court since its inception in 1996. This implies that its members may not be revoked during their assignment and that the agency may not receive orders or instructions from the government.

Certain rules issued by the ARCEP such as, for instance, concerning the use and operation of certain radio frequencies, must, nevertheless, be homologated by the ministry in charge of electronic communications. Further, the ministry keeps certain significant powers such as, for instance, to mandate a security check on the installations, networks and services of any operator. More broadly, the ARCEP is bound to collaborate with other regulatory bodies such as the one in charge of radio and television broadcasting activities (‘CSA’) and, at the EU level, the EU Commission and the BEREC Office (Office of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications).

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.

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.

Ecuador Small Flag Ecuador

The regulatory body of telecommunications services is the Telecommunications Regulatory and Control Agency (ARCOTEL); body ascribed to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society. The ARCOTEL is the entity in charge of the administration, regulation and control of telecommunications and of radio spectrum and its management, as well as, of the technical aspects of the management of mass media that use frequencies of the radio spectrum or that install and operate networks.

The Telecommunications Regulatory and Control Agency is vested with the following powers:

  1. Issue regulations, technical standards, technical plans and other actions that are necessary for the exercise of its powers, so that the provision of the telecommunications services comply with the stipulations of the Constitution.
  2. Prepare, approve, modify and update the National Frequencies Plan.
  3. Prepare the proposals for the economic assessment of the assignment and use, the use and/or operation of the radio spectrum, the rates for the use of frequencies and rights for the granting and renewal of the licenses.
  4. Exercise control over the provision of telecommunications services, including international long distance service.
  5. Exercise technical control of the mass media that use frequencies of the radio spectrum or that install and operate networks, such as audio and video by subscription.
  6. Control and monitor the use of the radio spectrum.
  7. Regulate, conduct and give judgment on proceedings for the granting, administration and extinction of licenses.
  8. Implement, organize and administer the Telecommunications Public Registry.
  9. Authorize the assignment, transfer or disposal of the licenses.
  10. Regulate and control the rates for the provision of the telecommunications services in accordance with the Law.
  11. Lay down the requirements, contents, conditions, terms and deadlines of the licenses.
  12. Set general or specific regulations when there are distortions of competition in telecommunications services or affect the rights of the subscribers or users, including special rules for those providers that, individually or collectively, have market power.
  13. Approve and register interconnection and access agreements, and order their amendment when necessary.
  14. Regulate interconnection and access, and intervene in said relations, as well as, issue the pertinent provisions.
  15. Establish and collect the economic rights for the provision of telecommunications services.
  16. Collect the contribution for the execution of the universal service.
  17. Homologate telecommunications terminal equipment and rate the corresponding technical certification laboratories.
  18. Initiate and conduct the administrative procedures to determine infringements and impose if applicable the penalties set forth in the Law.
  19. Exercise coersive jurisdiction in all cases within the scope of its powers.
  20. Authorize, within the scope of its powers, the operations that in any way involve a change in the control of the telecommunications service providers.
  21. Conduct and regulate complaint procedures for violations of the rights of subscribers or users of telecommunications services.
  22. Inspect and oversee the installation, establishment and operation of telecommunications networks and the systems of mass media that use the radio spectrum, as well as, the networks of audio and video by subscription.
  23. Request the telecommunications providers any information considered relevant, produced as a consequence of the provision of the services and execution of the licenses within the scope of its powers.
  24. Evaluate and regulate the behavior of the telecommunications market, determine the existence of distortions that affect competition or that undermine the rights of the subscribers or users, as well as, determine the existence of providers that, individually or collectively, have market power.
  25. Conduct studies on the telecommunications sector and keep and publish the statistics of said sector.
  26. Regulate the use/occupation of private property goods and infrastructure for the installation of telecommunications networks and issue easements.
  27. Coordinate with the competent public authorities the access and occupation of public property to reach the goals of this Law.
  28. Lay down the necessary regulations to ensure the safety of communications and the protection of personal data.
  29. Regulate and control activities related to e-commerce and electronic signature, in accordance with the legislation in force.

The ARCOTEL is a body ascribed to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society; therefore, it is part of the executive branch and lacks autonomy in its actions.

Updated: October 10, 2017