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.

Once technical advice has been sought from the Government of Burundi, the 'Autorité de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications' (ARCT) will issue the licence. 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, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
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.

Once technical advice has been sought from the Government of Burundi, the 'Autorité de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications' (ARCT) will issue the licence. 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, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
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 5 Oct 2016
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 5 Oct 2016
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 5 Oct 2016
Registration / licensing

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

  • Radioelectric networks (fixed and mobile) for private use (commercial use)
  • Networks and electronic communication services that are open to the public
  • Satellite communication
  • Radio and television broadcasting stations

In addition, the applicant must provide ARCT with a concession agreement once a request for a concession for the operation of services open to the public, has been sent to ARCT by a third party.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
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 5 Oct 2016
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 5 Oct 2016
Consumer protection

No such difference exists under applicable telecom laws in Burundi.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
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 42 per minute
  • Tax ad valorem on GSM electronic communications: 12%
  • VAT: 18%
Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Enforcement

Any violation to the telecoms laws, regulations, licences and/or approvals shall be sanctioned by a fine of 1% of the operator's annual turnover for the past year, after prior notice from ARCT.

In case of repeat violations, ARCT may:

  • Suspend the licence/authorisation for a period of three to six months
  • Reduce the duration of the licence
  • Cancel the licence
Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Contacts
Willy Rubeya
Willy Rubeya
Managing Partner, Rubeya & Co Advocates
T +257 79 92 13 60
Florence Guthfreund-Roland
Florence Guthfreund-Roland
Avocat à la Cour and Partner
T +33 1 40 15 25 08
Last modified 5 Oct 2016