DLA Piper Intelligence

Telecommunications
Laws of the World

Overview of legal landscape

Burundi
Burundi

In Burundi, any natural or legal entity, national or foreign, which wants to operate services of electronic communications has to file a licence application and has to conclude a concession agreement with the Government. 

All the license application is filed with the ARCT and it is the latter who gives the technical opinion after study of the file. If the file is favorable, it is sent to the ARCT board of directors. The file is then sent to the office of the president by the ARCT and the government issues the license.

It is thereafter signed a concession agreement between the ARTC and the service provider.

The roles and responsibilities of ARCT are provided in Decree N°100/182 of September 30th, 1997 establishing the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications, whilst the reorganisiation and functions of ARCT are provided in Decree N° 100/112 of April 5th, 2012. 

ARCT regulates all electronic communications services including fixed line telecoms, mobiles, as well as the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Overview
Burundi

In Burundi, any natural or legal entity, national or foreign, which wants to operate services of electronic communications has to file a licence application and has to conclude a concession agreement with the Government. 

All the license application is filed with the ARCT and it is the latter who gives the technical opinion after study of the file. If the file is favorable, it is sent to the ARCT board of directors. The file is then sent to the office of the president by the ARCT and the government issues the license.

It is thereafter signed a concession agreement between the ARTC and the service provider.

The roles and responsibilities of ARCT are provided in Decree N°100/182 of September 30th, 1997 establishing the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications, whilst the reorganisiation and functions of ARCT are provided in Decree N° 100/112 of April 5th, 2012. 

ARCT regulates all electronic communications services including fixed line telecoms, mobiles, as well as the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Laws and regulations

The main laws and regulations applicable to the telecom sector in Burundi are the following:

  • Decree-Law N° 1/011 of September 4th 1997, which sets a framework for the telecommunications sector
  • Decree N°100/182 of September 30th 1997, which establishes ARCT
  • Ministerial Order N° 520/730/540/231 of April 9th 1999, which determines the conditions for operating in the telecommunications sector
  • Decree N° 100/47 of November 15th 2010, which puts ARCT under the supervision of the President of the Republic of Burundi
  • Decree N° 100/97 of April 18th 2014, which determines the conditions for operating in the electronic communications sector
  • Decree N° 100/112 of April 5th 2012, which explains the reorganisation and functioning of ARCT
Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Regulatory bodies

The Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications is under the supervision of the Presidency of the Republic of Burundi.

The main mission of ARCT is to ensure the control and the regulation of the telecommunications sector and to enforce these regulations. In this context, ARCT is notably in charge of:

  • Creating the conditions for fair and loyal competition and ensuring its preservation
  • Contributing to the elaboration of the legal and statutory framework for a harmonious development of the sector
  • Ensuring follow-up of the development of the new information technologies and the communication and implementation of the measures susceptible to stimulate and facilitate investment
  • Leading and implementing procedures of attributions of licences
  • Making sure that the tariff frame's modalities apply to telecommunication services
  • Reviewing the actions and practices of the operators to make sure they do not prevent, restrict or falsify competition in the telecommunications market
  • Monitoring the obligations that the operators are required to uphold and providing the sanctions for any breach of them, as well as breaches of anti-competitive practices
  • Assigning radio frequencies appropriately and supervising their conditions of use
  • Ensuring that interconnection agreements are in line with and respect the technical standards, quality requirements, security conditions and confidentiality of the conversations or the transmitted data
  • Estimating the costs of the service and the universal access
  • Managing the service funds and the universal access
  • Reviewing user protection
  • Creating and making available a static data hub for information and communication technology

Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications

Address: A.R.C.T, Avenue de France n°14, B.P 6702 Bujumbura Burundi

Telephone: +257 22 21 02 76

E-Mail: [email protected]

Website: A.R.C.T

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Regulated activities

Electronic communications networks and services are subject to legal and regulatory requirements under the law of Burundi.

Telecom laws and regulations apply to both network operators and providers of telephone, radio and internet services in Burundi. 

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Registration / licensing

Licences/authorisations from ARCT are required for network operators and service providers of: 

  • Stationary and mobile radio networks for private use (non-commercial);

  • Networks or services open to the public (Commercial); 

  • Satellite communications;

  • Sound and television broadcasting station;

  • Exploitation of numbering resources;

  • Terminal approval certificate (validity 5 years);

  • Certificate of conformity of the networks;

  • Certificate of approval (validity 5 years)

 

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Establishment

There is no requirement under Burundi telecom laws to have an entity or permanent establishment in Burundi prior to launching the relevant activities. 

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Interconnection/roaming

Interconnection is subject to an agreement between the concerned parties. The agreement shall determine the administrative, technical and commercial conditions of the interconnection. The agreement shall be submitted to ARCT for prior approval.

There are many mandatory matters to be addressed in the interconnection agreement such as: tariffs and invoicing systems, technical and operational matters, etc.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Consumer protection

No such difference exists under applicable telecom laws in Burundi.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Taxes and fees

The basic taxes and fees that are due by network operators and electronic communications service providers are as follows:  

  • Licence fee: the applicable amount depends on the services and network coverage (fixed amount). As for the GSM operations, the licence fee is fixed at USD 10 million
  • Annual royalty: generally 2% of the annual turnover of the electronic communication operator
  • Termination tax for incoming international traffic: USD 0.16 per minute
  • Specific tax on national traffic for mobile communication: BIF 52 per minute
  • Tax ad valorem on GSM electronic communications: 12%
  • VAT: 18%

It should be noted that the rates depend on each service rendered and that the above list is not exhaustive.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Enforcement

Any instruction given by the ARCT or its technical representative must be carried out by the operator within the time specified by the same instruction.

If the operator does not comply with the instruction or violates any of the provisions of this present decree, he is liable to a fine of 1% of his annual turnover from the previous year.

In case of recurrence or if after this pecuniary sanction the operator does not remedy the situation, the ARCT can:

- Suspend the license or authorization for a period of three to six months;

- Reduce the resources allocated to it;

- Reduce the duration of the license or authorization;

- Revoke the license definitively

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Contacts
Willy Rubeya
Willy Rubeya
Managing Partner, Rubeya & Co Advocates
T +257 79 92 13 60
Last modified 29 Oct 2019