DLA Piper Intelligence

Telecommunications
Laws of the World

Overview of legal landscape

Mauritius
Mauritius

Any information and communications network or service provider needs a licence from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) to operate in Mauritius.

The ICTA has been set up under the Information and Communication Technologies Act of 2001 (ICT Act) and is the regulator of the ICT and postal sectors in Mauritius.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Overview
Mauritius

Any information and communications network or service provider needs a licence from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) to operate in Mauritius.

The ICTA has been set up under the Information and Communication Technologies Act of 2001 (ICT Act) and is the regulator of the ICT and postal sectors in Mauritius.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Laws and regulations

The main primary legislation governing telecommunications in Mauritius is the ICT Act as amended, which repealed the Telecommunications Act of 1998.

In addition to the ICT Act, the following legislations may also impact the provision of communication services and the operation of communication networks:

  • Data Protection Act 2004
  • Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act 2002

There are a number of regulations, guidelines, directives, reports and policy papers which have been made and published by the ICTA.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Regulatory bodies

The regulatory body in charge of the sector in Mauritius is the ICTA.

The main objectives of the ICTA are:

  • To create a level playing field for all operators in the interest of consumers in general

  • To license and regulate information and communication services

  • To ensure that information and communication services, including telecommunication services, are reasonably accessible at an affordable cost nationwide and are supplied as efficiently and economically as practicable and at a performance standard that reasonably meets the social, educational, industrial, commercial and other needs of Mauritius

  • To encourage the optimum use of information and communication technologies in business, industry and the country at large, the introduction of new technology and the investment in infrastructure and service

  • To promote the efficiency and international competitiveness of Mauritius in the information and communication sector

  • To further the advancement of technology, research and development relating to information and communication technologies through modern and effective infrastructure, taking into account the convergence of information technology, media, telecommunications and consumer electronics

  • To advise the Minister on all matters relating to information and communication technologies and on matters relating to the ICTA generally

The statutory functions of the ICTA with respect to the telecoms sector include the following: 

  • Implementation of Government policy relating to the information and communication industry

  • Provide economic and technical monitoring of the information and communication industry in accordance with recognised international standard practices, protocols and having regard to the convergence of technology

  • Promote and maintain effective competition, fair and efficient market conduct between entities engaged in the information and communication industry in Mauritius and ensure that this Act is implemented with due regard to the public interest and so as to prevent any unfair or anti-competitive practices by licensees

  • Advise and assist in the formulation of national policies with respect to the regulation of the information and communication industry

  • Act internationally as the national regulatory body of Mauritius in respect of information and communication technology matters

  • Take steps to regulate or curtail the harmful and illegal content on the Internet and other information and communication services

  • Entertain complaints from consumers in relation to any information and communication service in Mauritius and, where necessary, refer them to the appropriate authorities

  • Allocate frequencies and manage, review and, where appropriate, re-organise the frequency spectrum

  • Determine the numbering system to be used for every information and communication service including telecommunications services, and manage, review, and, where appropriate, re-organise the numbering system

  • Set up a radio frequency management unit for the allocation, monitoring, control and regulation of radio frequencies and, with the approval of the Minister, participate in any regional monitoring system

  • Control the importation of any equipment capable of being used to intercept a message

  • Manage the Universal Service Fund

  • Determine, whether as conditions of licences or otherwise, universal service obligations and requirements

  • Authorise or regulate the registration, administration and management of domain names for Mauritius
  • Be the 'Controller' (ie the Controller of Certification Authorities) 

ICTA

Address: Level 12, The Celicourt, 6, Sir Celicourt Antelme Street, Port Louis, Mauritius

Telephone: (+230) 211 5333

E-Mail: [email protected]   

Website: www.icta.mu 

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Regulated activities

An 'information and communication network' is defined in the ICT Act as a network for the transmission of messages and includes a telecommunication network, whilst an 'information and communication service' is defined as any service involving the use of information and communication technologies including telecommunication services.

Considering the above, a licence from the ICTA is required for the following activities (which is not an exhaustive list):

  • To own and provide network infrastructure facilities to service providers and not to the public

  • To provide networking services for national traffic, such as the provision of bandwidth to service providers and not to the public

  • To provide networking services for international traffic of Internet service providers and Internet telephony service providers, such as the provision of bandwidth to Internet service providers and Internet telephony service providers and not to the public

  • To establish and operate a Public Switched (fixed) Telephone Network (PSTN) and service to the public

  • To establish and operate a Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) and service to the public

  • To establish and operate an International Long Distance (ILD) network and service to the public

  • To provide Internet services to the public

  • To use spectrum

  • To sell, expose or offer for sale or hire a radio communication or telecommunication apparatus or device

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Registration / licensing

A person cannot operate an information and communication network or service including telecommunication network or service without a licence from the ICTA.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Establishment

The laws do not provide for any domicile restrictions preventing the operation of telecom activities by non-domiciled entities. However, the operator must be incorporated in Mauritius even if the entity operator is wholly owned by foreign shareholders.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Interconnection/roaming

Every network licensee or public operator must grant access to its network to others. A licensee may make a written application to a network licensee for access to its network with a copy of its own application submitted to the ICTA.

Either party to the proposed agreement may request the ICTA to assign a representative to attend, and assist in the negotiations.

Where the parties to a proposed interconnection agreement are unable to agree on the terms within 60 days from the date of an application, either party may request the ICTA to act as an arbitrator in the matter.

Each party to an interconnection agreement must supply to the ICTA:

  • A copy of the agreement, and of any amendment to it, within 14 days of the execution of the agreement, or amendment, as the case may be
  • Such information relating to the interconnection agreement as the ICTA may require

It is to be noted that tariffs are not subject to the prior approval of the regulator. However, an operator cannot demand a person pay off a tariff unless such tariff has been submitted to the regulator.

If the operator has significant market power, the regulator may require the operator to provide such information as it considers necessary. Upon receipt of the additional information, the regulator determines whether to allow, disallow, amend or alter the tariff submitted.

If the ICTA disallows or amends a tariff or alteration, it must communicate, in writing, the reasons for its decision to the public operator.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Consumer protection

No such difference exists under applicable laws in Mauritius.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Taxes and fees

The licensing fees are specified in the Information and Communication Technologies (Licensing and Fees) Regulations 2003.

For example, the initial fee and annual fee payable by a Network Infrastructure Provider is MUR 100,000 and 50,000, respectively. For the provision of internet services, there is only an annual fee of MUR 50,000 which is payable. The fees payable for other telecommunication services are specified in the Information and Communication Technologies (Licensing and Fees) Regulations 2003.

It is to be noted that since 15 January 2012, a levy of 10 cents per message is payable by every operator on every message that is sent. A message that is not originally sent by the operator is not taken into account when calculating the total messages sent.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Enforcement

Any person who commits an offence under the ICT Act, will, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding MUR 1,000,000 and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Examples of offences created under the ICT Act include the following:

  • Using an information and communication service, including telecommunication service for the transmission or reception of a message which is grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character

  • Using an information and communication service, including telecommunication service for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any person

  • Establishing, maintaining or operating a network or service without a licence or in breach of the terms or conditions of a licence

  • Without prior approval of the ICTA, importing any equipment capable of intercepting a message

Before a person is convicted of an offence, in addition to any penalty imposed above, the Court can order:

  • The forfeiture of any installation or apparatus used in connection with the offence

  • The cancellation of the licence held by the person convicted

  • That the person convicted shall not be issued with a licence for such period as the Court thinks fit

  • That a service provided to a person convicted of an offence shall be suspended for such period as the Court thinks fit

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Contacts
Florence Guthfreund-Roland
Florence Guthfreund-Roland
Avocat à la Cour and Partner
T +33 1 40 15 25 08
Arvin Halkhoree
Arvin Halkhoree
Barrister-at-law
T +230 208 55 26
Last modified 5 Oct 2016