Telecommunications by-laws

23 August 2002

MEED publishes the first summary of an official translation of the by-laws in the English-language press:

Chapter 1: General provisions

In accordance with the Saudi Communication Commission (SCC) statutes, SCC may establish fees for:

a) the commercial provision of telecommunications services;

b) issuance and renewal of telecommunications licences;

c) issuance and renewal of radio licences for use of

frequency spectrum;

d) issuance and renewal of number licences;

e) issuance and renewal of licences for use of

telecommunications equipment; and

f) any other function performed by the SCC

pursuant to an SCC statute

Chapter 2: Telecommunications licences

There shall be four types of licence:

a) telecommunications licences;

b) radio licences;

c) number licences; and

d) equipment licences

SCC may issue two types of telecommunications licences pursuant to SCC statutes: individual licences and class licences

The following services and networks shall, unless SCC decides otherwise, require an individual licence:

a) fixed voice telephone services;

b) public mobile cellular telecommunications services;

c) operation of a public telecommunications network;

d) national and international fixed and mobile data

communications services; and

e) such other types of services as the SCC decides

shall require an individual licence

Class licences shall be issued to authorise more than one service provider of the same class to provide telecommunications services or operate telecommunications networks. Class licences shall be subject to the following rules:

b) There shall initially be two types of class licences,

Type A and Type B

The following services and networks shall, unless SCC decides otherwise, require a Type A class licence

a) national and international voice resale services;

b) very small aperture terminal satellite services;

c) public pay telephone services;

d) radio paging services;

e) temporary network services

The following services and networks shall, unless SCC decides otherwise, require a Type B licence:

a) internet service provider services;

b) valued-added network services;

c) global mobile personal communication services;

d) Public call office

SCC may limit the number of licences issued in a given telecommunications market

When conducting a comparative evaluation process, SCC shall determine which applicant is, on the basis of financial and technical capability, best placed to satisfy users' demand for the relevant telecommunications network or telecommunications service

Prior to conducting an auction for a licence to provide a telecommunications service, SCC shall conduct a pre-qualification process during which each applicant must provide:

a) clear evidence that the applicant has the financial

capability to provide the proposed services and

implement the proposed network; and

b) clear evidence that the applicant has the technical

capability and experience or has access to the technical

capability and experience to provide the proposed

services and implement the proposed network

SCC may issue a class licence for a term not to exceed 25 years

SCC shall maintain and publish a national telecommunications registry

Chapter 4: Competition between service providers

SCC shall perform the following functions and duties in relation to competition among service providers in telecommunications markets in the kingdom:

a) promote efficient and sustainable competition for

the benefit of end-users;

b) establish an open and transparent regulatory

framework that minimises regulatory and other barriers

to entry into telecommunications markets;

c) issue a decision designating dominant service

providers in relevant markets in the kingdom, based

on their market share and other factors

d) monitor and prevent abuses of a service provider's

dominant position

e) monitor and prevent practices that would restrict


f) review and decide upon proposed mergers of

service providers

Every service provider that earns 40 per cent or more of the gross revenues in a specific telecommunications market shall be designated a dominant service provider in that market, until and unless the SCC specifies otherwise in a decision

No person shall engage in a practice restricting or distorting competition in telecommunications markets, including the following:

a) arrangements between two or more service providers

that directly or indirectly fix the prices or other terms or

conditions of service in telecommunications markets;

b) arrangements between two or more service providers

that directly or indirectly determine which person

will win a contract business opportunity in a

telecommunications market; and

c) arrangements between two or more service providers

to apportion, share or allocate telecommunications

markets among themselves or other service providers

SCC may, on application by any person, or on its own

initiative, determine whether, in any case,

a) the actions or activities of a dominant service provider

constitute an abuse of its dominant position, and;

b) the actions or activities of any service provider

amount to an anti-competitive practice

Chapter 5: Interconnection

Every dominant service provider designated as dominant in relevant interconnection markets shall ensure that:

a) it applies similar conditions to interconnecting service

providers and foreign service providers under similar


b) it provides interconnection and access to

interconnecting service providers and foreign service

providers under the same conditions and of the same

quality as it provides for its own services, or those

of its affiliates;

SCC shall be governed by the objective of ensuring that interconnection and other access charges imposed by dominant service providers comply with the interconnection guidelines when:

a) approving such charges

b) resolving a dispute between service providers

regarding such charges; or

c) otherwise exercising its functions and duties

under the SCC statutes

Chapter 6: Disputes between services providers

Where a dispute exists between two or more service providers, without prejudice to the Telecommunications Act, the parties to the dispute may submit a request for consensual resolution to SCC

Chapter 7: Tariffs

Universal service providers shall file with and obtain the approval of SCC for all tariffs for their universal service offerings

SCC may issue a decision to remove any requirement for universal and dominant service providers to file and obtain approval of tariffs under this chapter where SCC determines that:

a) competitive market forces will be sufficient to protect

the interests of users; and

b) there is not a significant risk of harm to competitive

markets as a result of the removal of tariff regulation

Tariffs for services provided by universal or dominant service providers shall be based on the cost of efficient service provision and shall not contain excessive charges which are made solely as a result of the service provider's dominant position or its designation as universal service provider

SCC may require a service provider to propose a method of price cap regulation if:

a) it has designated the service provider as a dominant

service provider;

b) it determines that the service provider is a major national

supplier of telecommunications services in the kingdom; and

c) it determines that price cap regulation would be an

effective means of reducing the regulatory burden of

tariff approvals for that service provider or of providing

incentives for efficient service provision

Chapter 8: Relations between service providers

No service provider shall switch a user from one service provider to another service provider without the prior written consent of the user, and the user shall have no liability to pay for any telecommunications services provided by a service provider, where the user has not requested such services in writing. Where a payment has already been made, SCC may direct the service provider to repay it to the user forthwith

No service provider shall make, or cause to be made, any false or misleading claim or suggestion regarding:

a) the availability, price or quality of its

telecommunications service or equipment; or

b) the telecommunications service or equipment

of another service provider

Service providers shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of user communications

Service providers shall establish a separate division to receive complaints of users other than service providers. Service providers shall endeavour to eliminate the causes of complaints that are related to the quality or the method of providing the service and billing problems

A universal service provider shall provide telecommunications services that meet specific quality of service standards. These standards shall be developed by SCC in consultation with each universal service provider and may be included in the universal service provider's licence or established by decision of SCC

SCC may issue a decision to establish the terms and conditions under which a service provider shall have the right to suspend or terminate a user's service for breach of the user's obligations.

Chapter 9: Universal access and

universal service policies

SCC shall propose policies for the approval of the ministry setting out the basis, principles and conditions relating to the provision of universal service and universal access in the kingdom

Chapter 10: Frequency spectrum

No person shall install, operate, or possess radio equipment or use a radio frequency except under and in accordance with a radio licence

Chapter 12: Telecommunications equipment

No person shall use any telecommunications equipment except under and in accordance with a licence issued by SCC.

SCC may prescribe technical standards in respect of telecommunications equipment and shall publish such technical standards

Chapter 13: Protection and prevention

against intrusion

Intrusion is considered as a way of misuse of the telecommunications network, and is a violation, and the same procedures stated in this by-law to treat the violations shall be applied to it

Chapter 14: Violations

The Governor shall nominate a violations committee and submit the nominations to the board for approval. The board's decision approving the nominations shall state the term and duration of the committee

The violations committee shall look into each violation and determine an appropriate penalty that is proportionate to the gravity of the violation in each case and the circumstances surrounding the same

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