DLA Piper Intelligence

Telecommunications
Laws of the World

Overview of legal landscape

Qatar
Qatar

Currently, only two licensees provide both fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Qatar. They are Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo (formerly QTel).

Additionally, the Qatari Government has incorporated the Qatar National Broadband Network, which was developed in order to provide passive access network infrastructure to these licensees.

Until 2014, Qatar's telecoms sector was regulated by Supreme Council for Information and Communications Technology (ictQatar), which was part of the now Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Through various amendments and restructures of the regulatory framework in 2014, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) was established as an independent regulator, and has taken over the role of ictQatar. Therefore references to ictQatar in the applicable regulatory framework (below) are now taken to refer to the CRA.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Overview
Qatar

Currently, only two licensees provide both fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Qatar. They are Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo (formerly QTel).

Additionally, the Qatari Government has incorporated the Qatar National Broadband Network, which was developed in order to provide passive access network infrastructure to these licensees.

Until 2014, Qatar's telecoms sector was regulated by Supreme Council for Information and Communications Technology (ictQatar), which was part of the now Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Through various amendments and restructures of the regulatory framework in 2014, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) was established as an independent regulator, and has taken over the role of ictQatar. Therefore references to ictQatar in the applicable regulatory framework (below) are now taken to refer to the CRA.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Laws and regulations

Key telecoms statutes include:

Decree Law No. (34) of 2006 on the promulgation of the Telecommunications Law ('Telecoms Law')

This contains provisions relating to telecommunications licences, radio spectrum management, controls on interconnection and access agreements, dominant service providers, service tariffs, numbers and numbering, competition policy, consumer protection and property access, as well as the objectives and powers of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR). The Telecoms Law can be found here

Emiri Decision No. (42) of 2014 establishing the Communications Regulatory Authority of Qatar

This is the instrument by which the CRA (successor to ictQatar's regulatory arm) was established, and it covers, amongst other things, the CRA's objectives and powers functions and management responsibilities, and financial resources.  

Executive By-Law No.1 of 2009 for the Telecommunications Law ('Bylaws')

This supplements the Telecoms Laws, and includes provisions regulating the telecommunications sector.  

Regulatory documents

ictQATAR, and more recently the CRA, have also published a number of regulatory documents. These include, for example, the recently published Competition Framework, Market Definition and Dominance Designation, and Consumer Protection Policy which contains principles and rules relating to monitoring and enforcing service provider's compliance with fair competition and dispute resolution processes. These, and other regulations, can be found on the CRA website here.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Regulatory bodies

CRA

The CRA regulates the telecommunications and information technology, postal services and access to digital media sectors.

Address:
The Communications Regulatory Authority
Al Nasr Tower B
Corniche
PO Box 23404
Doha, Qatar

http://cra.gov.qa/en

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Regulated activities

The types of telecommunications activities which are subject to legal and regulatory requirements include but are not limited to:

  • The provision of telecommunications services to the public in return for a fee

  • Ownership or operation of a telecommunications network used for the provision of telecommunications services to or for the public in return for a fee

  • Ownership or operation of any other telecommunications network

In addition, a person who wishes to import telecoms equipment to Qatar must be registered with the CRA and may need to obtain an import authorisation license, type approval and a customs clearance certificate from the CRA.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Registration / licensing

A licence is required from the CRA to engage in:

  • The provision of telecommunications services to the public in return for a fee

  • Ownership or operation of a telecommunications network used for the provision of telecommunications services to or for the public in return for a fee

  • Ownership or operation of any other telecommunications network

Telecommunications licences can be individual licences or class licences. Individual licences are for mobile and fixed services, VSAT and public satellite services. Class licences exist for short range devices, telecommunications service on-board aircraft, and private networks.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Establishment

The CRA requires that companies wishing to hold licences should be registered in Qatar.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Interconnection/roaming

The Telecoms Law and Bylaws contain provisions relating to interconnection and access, negotiations/requests between/by service providers to reach interconnection agreements and related objectives, and provides for a binding resolution by the General Secretariat in the event that an agreement cannot be reached (see, for example, 'Determination on Interconnection Charges between Vodafone & Qtel' issued in February 2009, and available here).

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Consumer protection

The Telecoms Law provides for the preparation, development and implementation of a consumer protection policy and the setting of rules regulating the same. In addition, the Telecoms Laws prescribe certain 'fair dealing practices', including requiring the service provider to provide the consumer, before the consumer subscribes to the service or incurs any commercial obligations to the service provider, with the terms of the service and any other terms and conditions and all tariffs, rates and costs applicable to any telecommunications service. These rules have been supplemented by a number of regulatory documents that the CRA have issued, and available here.

The Service provider may not charge a consumer except for the service fee relating to telecommunications services or telecommunications equipment ordered by the consumer. The consumer cannot be liable for any service or equipment relating to telecommunications that has not been ordered. There are also additional protections relating to the protection of customer/consumer information.

The Bylaws overlap and supplement the consumer protection provisions in the Telecoms Law. Additional provisions in the Bylaws include, for example, requirements relating to the provision, accuracy and format of invoicing, record keeping, and the avoidance of certain misleading practices/claims to consumers.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Taxes and fees

The CRA determines licence fees, any other fees, remuneration or charges. In addition, corporate taxes on taxable income and withholding taxes apply in Qatar.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Enforcement

The Telecoms Laws list a number of offences and associated penalties. For example, providing a telecommunications service without a licence is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to QAR 1,000,000.

Last modified 29 Oct 2019
Contacts
Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Partner, Head of Intellectual Property and Technology
T +971 4 438 6100
Eamon Holley
Eamon Holley
Partner
T +971 4 438 6100
Last modified 29 Oct 2019