In some countries, authorization to provide ICT services is established in laws or regulations. In other countries, it is provided in documents variously referred to as licences, authorizations, permits, concessions, franchises, or simply regulatory decisions.
The terms “authorization”, “concession”, “franchise” and “permit” may be defined in different ways in the laws of different countries. For example, some countries maintain an older approach of entering into mutually binding concession or franchise agreements that specify the rights and obligations of the government authority as well as the ICT service provider. However, all these terms relate to the same basic concept of “authorizing” ICT service providers or networks. In the context of ICT regulation, these terms generally refer to a legal document issued by a regulator or other government authority that determines the rights and obligations of an ICT service provider. For the sake of simplicity, in this module, we generally only use the term “authorization”. In most cases, what is said about authorizations applies equally to concessions, franchises, permits, licences, and other forms of authorization.
The process of authorization is sometimes handled by independent ICT regulators and sometimes directly by governments, Ministers or other authorization authorities. In this module, we generally refer to the authorization authority as the “regulator”. This term is usually intended to include other government authorities that grant licences or other forms of ICT authorizations.