DLA Piper Intelligence

Telecommunications
Laws of the World

Overview of legal landscape

Singapore
Singapore

With effect from 1 October 2016, the regulatory landscape changed with the restructuring of the Info-communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to form the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). The IMDA - alongside accompanying telecommunications legislation and regulation - aims to pave the way for a pro-consumer and pro-business telecommunications environment within Singapore.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Overview
Singapore

With effect from 1 October 2016, the regulatory landscape changed with the restructuring of the Info-communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to form the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). The IMDA - alongside accompanying telecommunications legislation and regulation - aims to pave the way for a pro-consumer and pro-business telecommunications environment within Singapore.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Laws and regulations

The Info-Communications Media Development Authority Act (No. 22 of 2016) is an Act that establishes and incorporates the IMDA, to provide for its functions and powers, and for connected matters. It deals with matters that include:

  • the establishment, incorporation and constitution of IMDA

  • the functions, duties and powers of IMDA

  • the staff, finances and assets of IMDA

Additionally, subsidiary legislation under the Info-Communications Media Development Authority Act can be found here.

The Telecommunications Act (Cap. 323) is an Act that aims to provide for the operation and provision of telecommunication systems and services in Singapore. It deals with matters that include:

  • the licencing of telecoms systems and services and the granting of spectrum rights
  • the erection, maintenance and repair of telecom installations

  • IMDA's powers to issue codes of practice, standards of performance, directions and advisory guidelines relating to telecom systems and services
  • telecom cable detection work

  • ownership and management controls over designated telecom Licencees

  • offences and penalties relating to telecom systems and services

Additionally, subsidiary legislation under the Telecommunications Act can be found here.

The Postal Services Act (Cap. 237A) is an Act that aims to provide for the operation and provision of postal systems and services in Singapore. It deals with matters that includes:

  • licencing of postal services for the conveyance of letters

  • postal services and systems

  • IMDA's powers to issue codes of practice, standards of performance, directions and advisory guidelines relating to the post

  • offences and penalties relating to the post

Additionally, subsidiary legislation under the Postal Services Act can be found here.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Regulatory bodies

Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA)

Address: 3 Fusionopolis Way, #16-22 Symbiosis, Singapore 138633

Contact Centre: +65 6377 3800

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.imda.gov.sg/

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Regulated activities

Broadly speaking, a telecommunication service is any service for telecommunications but excludes any broadcasting service.  A telecommunication system means any system used or intended to be used for telecommunications, including any such system capable of being used for the operation of any broadcasting service. Any person who operates a network or provides a telecommunication service in Singapore must be licensed and will be regulated by the IMDA.  This includes, but is not limited to facilities-based operators, service-based operators, any parties who establish Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) networks, radio-communications stations operators and any parties who works on telecommunication cable detection works.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Registration / licensing

The Info-communication Media Development Authority has the exclusive privilege for the operation and provision of telecommunication systems and services in Singapore.  Under the Telecommunications Act, the IMDA has authority to license telecommunication systems and services. 

There are various licences regulated by IMDA, including but not limited to Service Based Operators (SBO) and Facilities Based Operators (FBO) licences (these are differentiated by the IMDA).  An FBO must be individually licensed whereas an SBO may need to be individually licensed or may need a class licence only, depending on the services it intends to provide. Mobile operators also require a licence from IMDA in order to provide certain network services by means of radio-communications. 

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Establishment

In order for a company to be granted an FBO or SBO licence by the IMDA, the company must be incorporated under the Singapore Companies Act (cap. 50).

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Interconnection/roaming

The Code of Practice for Competition ('Code') (which is found within the Provision of Telecommunication Services 2012) distinguishes between Licensees that are subject to competitive market forces and Licensees whose conduct is not constrained adequately by competitive market forces.  Most Licensees are subject to competitive market forces and, therefore, IMDA will impose minimum regulatory 'rules of the road', coupled with the ex post enforcement of general prohibitions on anti-competitive conduct, on these Licensees.  By contrast, where a Licensee’s conduct is not constrained by competitive market forces, IMDA will require it to comply with more stringent regulatory requirements (The Code 2.1.2).

Sections 3 through to 7 of the Code impose ex ante regulatory obligations on Licensees.  These include:

  • The duty of Licensees to their end users
  • The duty of dominant Licensees to provide services on just, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms
  • Required cooperation amongst Licensees to promote competition
  • Interconnection rules with dominant Licensees
  • Infrastructure sharing

Sections 8 and 9 of the Code provide a basis for IMDA to take enforcement action if a Licensee has engaged in conduct that unreasonably restricts, or is likely to unreasonably restrict, competition (ex post enforcement). These include:

  • Abuse of dominant position and unfair methods of competition
  • Agreements involving Licensees that unreasonably restrict competition
Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Consumer protection

There are no differences between the telecommunication laws and regulations applying to the provision of services to businesses and those which apply to the provision of services to consumers.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Taxes and fees

SBO Class Licence

SGD 200 per licence.

SBO Individual Licence

SGD 4,000 per annum licensing fee for the first SGD 50 million of the Annual Gross Turnover (AGTO).

The next SGD 50-100 million in AGTO attracts a fee of 0.5% of the AGTO.

For a company with above SGD 100 million in the AGTO, there is a licensing fee of 0.8% of the AGTO.

FBO Licence

SGD 80,000-200,000 licensing fee for the first SGD 50 million of the Annual Gross Turnover (AGTO).

The next SGD 50-100 million in AGTO attracts a fee of 0.8% of the AGTO.

For a company with above SGD 100 million in the AGTO, there is a licensing fee of 1% of the AGTO.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Enforcement

Any person guilty of an offence under the Telecommunications Act or any regulations made under it, may be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding SGD 10,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding SGD 1,000 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction.

Last modified 5 Oct 2016
Contacts
Scott Thiel
Scott Thiel
Partner
T +852 2103 0519
Last modified 5 Oct 2016