In a multi-service licensing regime, there are typically a small number (three to four) of categories of authorizations. Each authorization category encompasses a broad range of services and is usually technology-neutral. The categories of multi-service authorizations vary from country to country. The following is a summary of the categories of multi-service authorizations that have been adopted by various countries.
Botswana’s multi-service licensing regime features three categories of authorizations: Public Telecommunications Operator (PTO) Licences, Value-Added Network Services (VANS) Licences, and Private Network Licences. PTO Licences authorise licensees to provide the full range of public telecommunications services, including (but not limited to) local, long distance, and international voice services and network services using any available technology. VANS Licences authorise licensees to provide all forms of value-added telecommunications services such as Internet and data services. Under the authorization framework, VoIP falls within the scope of the VANS Licence. Private Network Licences apply to the operation of private networks, which refers to networks that the licensee maintains for its internal own use and that does not interconnect with any public network.
Tanzania’s Converged Licensing Framework (CLF) features four categories of authorizations: Network Facility licence, Network Service Licence, Application Service Licence, and Content Service Licence. The Network Facility Licence authorises licensees to operate and to maintain public electronic communications networks with various technologies (e.g., CDMA, GSM, WCDMA, WLL, and ASDL). Services that may be provided pursuant to a Network Service Licence include fixed lines services bandwidth services, mobile service, and broadcasting distribution services. To view these licenses, follow this link: http://www.tcra.go.tz/licensing/license_categories.php
The Tanzanian Application Service Licence authorises a licensee to provide electronic communications services to end users. Licensees may establish and operate their own private facilities or they may procure and resell services from licensed facility and/or network service providers. Services that fall within the scope of an Application Service Licence include Internet services, virtual mobile services, payphone services, and fixed and mobile services.
Content Service Licences are similar to Application Service Licences except that the licensee is responsible for the provision of content services such as satellite broadcasting, broadcasting terrestrial free to air TV, terrestrial radio broadcasting, subscription television, and other broadcasting services.[i]
There are three categories of authorizations in the Ugandan multi-service licensing framework: Public Service Provider (PSP) Licence, Public Infrastructure Provider (PIP) Licence, and General Licence. There are two sub-categories of PSP Licences. Public Voice and Data Provider Licences allow the licensee to offer telephony and data services of any kind using any technology. However, licensees must use the capacity or infrastructure of a PIP Licensee. If a licensee wishes to offer services over its own infrastructure, it must acquire a PIP Licence. Examples of services that may be provided pursuant to a Public Voice and Data Provider Licence include: fixed voice services; mobile services, and Internet Access services, including VoIP. The second PSP Licence sub-category is Capacity Resale Licence. Capacity Resale Licensees are authorized to resell leased telecommunications services or capacity. Services that fall within the scope of Capacity Resale Service Licences include calling cards (both international and local, re-branded cards) and capacity resale to Public Voice and Data Provider Licensees.
PIP Licences authorise licensees to establish, operate, and maintain infrastructure for the provision of communications services to the public and/or to offer infrastructure commercially for use by PSP Licensees. If a PIP Licensee uses its infrastructure to provide communications services to the public, it must also hold a PSP Licence. PIP licensees that wish to use spectrum resources or other essential resources and access facilities, including international gateways, numbering resources, and VSAT services, must apply for a separate authorization.
General Licences apply to public pay communications networks such as payphone kiosks, fax bureau services, internet cafés, and cyber cafés. Licensees may provide payphone services using VoIP technology. However, licensees are not permitted to provide any prepaid services to the public (e.g., calling cards) unless they obtain the appropriate authorization from the Ugandan regulator.
Uganda also issues authorizations for essential resources and facilities. These authorizations apply to the use of spectrum, numbering resources, international gateways, and VSAT.
Malaysia has moved from a system of 31 different types of service-specific authorizations to four different multi-service authorizations. The four categories of authorizations are: Network Facility Provider (NFP) Licences, Network Service Provider (NSP) Licences, Application Service Provider (ASP) Licences, and Content Application Service Provider (CASP) Licences.
NFP Licences authorise licensees to provide network facilities. NFP licensees include owners of satellite earth stations, fibre optic cables, communications lines and exchanges, radio communication and transmission equipment, mobile communication base stations and broadcasting towers and equipment. NSP licensees are authorised to provide network services such as basic connectivity and bandwidth that support a variety of applications. Under an ASP Licence, a licensee may provide various application services such as voice services, data services, Internet access services, and VoIP. CASP Licences are a special subset of ASP Licences. CASP licensees are authorized to provide traditional broadcast services and other content-based services such as online publishing and information services.
The authorization regime in Singapore features two broad categories of authorizations: Facilities-Based Operators (FBO) Licences and Services-Based Operators (SBO) Licences. FBO Licences apply to the deployment and/or operation of any form of telecommunications network, systems, or facilities that is used by any person to provide telecommunications and/or broadcasting services to third parties. These third parties may include other licensed telecommunications operators, business customers, or the general public. All FBO Licences are individual authorizations.
SBO Licences must be held by operators who intend to lease telecommunications network elements (e.g., transmission capacity and switching services) from FBO licensees in order to provide their own telecommunications services or to resell services obtained from FBO licensees to any third person. SBO Licences are further sub-divided into the SBO (Individual) Licence category and the SBO (Class) Licence category. The distinction between these two sub-categories relates to the scope of the operations and the nature of the services being offered.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago’s authorization regime features five types of authorizations, which are referred to as “concessions”:
- Type 1: Network-Only Concession – authorizes a concessionaire to own or operate a public telecommunications network, but without the provision of public telecommunications or broadcasting services. This is a network-based concession.
- Type 2: Network-Service Concession – authorizes a concessionaire to own or operate a public telecommunications network in addition to providing public telecommunications services over that network. This is a network-based concession.
- Type 3: Virtual Network-Service Concession – authorizes a concessionaire to provide public telecommunications services without a related authorization to own and/or operate a physical public telecommunications network, in a manner that is transparent to the end user. Type 3 concessions are thus designed for resellers. A Type 3 concession is necessary in cases where an entity has the capability of providing multiple services (e.g., data, image, voice, video) over a single transmission medium that has been leased. However, a Type 5 Concession is necessary to provide broadcasting services over a telecommunications network. Type 3 concessions are service-based.
- Type 4: Telecommunications Service Concession – authorizes a concessionaire to provide a specific public telecommunications service without requiring an authorization to own and/or operate a telecommunications network. This is a service-based concession.
- Type 5: Broadcasting Service Concession – authorizes the provision of a broadcasting service without a requirement to hold an authorization to operate a telecommunications network. Type 5 concessions are service-based.
Only Type 2 and Type 3 concessions are service-neutral. Both of these types of concessions authorize the provision of any telecommunications service that can be provided over the relevant telecommunications network, except for broadcasting services. While Type 1 concessions are not service-neutral, there are sub-categories of this concession that encompass various services. Thus, Type 1 Concessions are multi-service authorizations.
[i] The description of the Tanzanian authorization categories is adapted from Tanzania’s Experience in Licensing of Communication Operators under the Converged Licensing Framework (Geneva: International Telecommunications Union, 2007). This document was prepared for an ITU-D Study Group.