The first section of this module described the difference between individual authorization approaches, general authorizations (or class licences as they are sometimes called) and open entry regimes. There is a clear trend in developed economies away from issuing detailed individual authorizations and towards issuing general authorizations that apply a consistent approach towards all service providers that provide the same class of service. Some developed countries have gone a step further and adopted open entry regimes, where service providers are not required to obtain any form of authorization to provide services, though they may be required to register with the regulator.
The trend towards the adoption of general authorization regimes and open entry policies has accelerated with the adoption of the EU’s Authorization Directive. In developed economies, widespread adoption of market liberalization policies and an increased recognition of industry convergence are also accelerating the trend toward the use of general authorizations and in some cases, the elimination of all authorization requirements or other restrictions on market entry.
However, many developed countries issue individual authorizations for some services or facilities, such as those that use scarce resources like radio spectrum or numbering resources, and issue general authorizations for other types of services. As markets become more competitive and as regulators seek to streamline and to lighten regulatory intervention in the ICT sector, it is likely that more regulators in developed countries will begin to rely primarily, or even exclusively, on general authorizations and open entry. General authorization regimes are generally considered the best practice today in most markets where some form of authorization regime is still deemed necessary. Where competition is sufficiently robust to protect consumer interests and where any necessary regulation of service providers can effectively be achieved through general, sector-wide rules and policies, open entry is considered the best practice in most developed countries.
Individual authorization regimes remain common in most developing and transitional economies. Since there are often low levels of competition in these countries and because the regulatory regimes are often still maturing, issuing individual authorizations remains a prudent approach to licensing in developing and transitional economies. Nevertheless, some developing and transitional economies have also adopted general authorization regimes for some services. For example, Malaysia, Botswana, Uganda, and Jordan have all adopted general authorization regimes for some services.
Where general authorization regimes have been adopted in developing and transitional economies, the practices and procedures used in these regimes have been adapted to respond to their national particular competitive and regulatory conditions. See section 2.3 for more information. A link to this section is set out below.