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TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES: COMMITMENTS & EXEMPTIONS
Highlights of the basic telecommunication commitments and exemptions

By February 1997, deadline of the Basic Telecommunication negotiations, 69 governments had submitted schedules of commitments. Nine of them also submitted MFN exemptions lists.

Disclaimer: only the schedules themselves can provide authoritative and complete information on the telecommunications services; it is not the intention here to name each and every service included in a participant's schedule; the information is designed with a view to providing leading examples.

Country by country commitments
Subsector by subsector commitments
Exemptions
Phasing-in
Regulatory disciplines

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Country by country commitments back to top

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Offers to liberalize international voice telephony services by 2010; domestic voice telephony is reserved to the exclusive operator. Also undertakes to liberalize other basic telecommunication services such as data transmission and private leased circuit services by 2012. Opens to full competition the provision of data transmission over closed user groups, internet and internet access services (excluding voice), teleconferencing as well as several value-added services. Allows the provision of terrestrial-based mobile services (cellular, data, PCS, paging and trunked radio system) through commercial presence. Commits to allow cross-border supply of satellite-based mobile services (including voice, data, PCS, paging and trunked radio systems) and of fixed satellite services through commercial arrangements with the exclusive operator. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List to enable the Government to extend to nationals of other Caricom-Member countries treatment equal to its own nationals with respect to joint venture requirements.

  
  
ARGENTINA

Phased-in commitment liberalizing voice telephony (local, long-distance and international) and provision of other basic telecommunications services supplied on an international basis by November 2000. Offers full competition in basic services other than voice such as data transmission, etc. supplied in the national market and leased circuit services (international and national) without phase-in. Offers open competition in mobile telecommunications services such as data, paging, and trunking. Commits on duopoly in mobile cellular services and undertakes to allow new entrants subject to an economic needs test for the provision of mobile Personal Communication Services. Improved offer committed to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List on telecommunications services involving the supply of fixed satellite services by geostationary satellites.

  
  
AUSTRALIA

Offers unrestricted competition in virtually all basic telecom services as of July 1997. Commits on existing free markets for voice telephone on a resale basis and many other basic services. Offers to end limits on the number of satellite service providers (currently set at 2) and on primary suppliers of public mobile cellular telephony and facilities-based carriers (both currently set at 3) as of July 1997. Offers no limits on foreign equity for new carriers. Permits foreign equity up to 11.7% of the government controlled carrier, TELSTRA, and requires majority Australian ownership of the mobile carrier, Vodaphone. Improved offer removed foreign equity limitation of Optus. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  
  
BANGLADESH

Licenses two operators, in addition to the Government operator, to supply domestic long distance and local voice services as well as transmission facilities (leased circuit services). Commits to full competition in voice and data transmission over closed used groups and for internet access services. Licenses four suppliers of cellular mobile voice telephone services. Indicates that it will review the possibility of adding regulatory principles in the future.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries. (See also the related points made in the final Report on the Group).

  

BARBADOS

Liberalizes voice telephony, data transmission, and private leased circuit services offered to the general public in 2012 when the monopoly exclusivity expires; for non-public use, the supply of voice telephony, data transmission and facsimile services are opened for competition on the basis of facilities leased from the monopoly up until 2012 and on own facilities thereafter. Also undertakes to liberalize other basic telecommunication services such as data transmission and private leased circuit services by 2012. Allows unrestricted supply of terrestrial- and satellite-based mobile services (cellular, data, PCS, and paging) as of 1999. Commits on a variety of value-added services, including internet access and to V-SAT services for non-public use. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

BELIZE

Offers a phased-in commitment to allow open competition in trunked radio service and teleconferencing by 2003 as well as paging and various value-added telecommunications services by 2008. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

BOLIVIA

Offers to phase in competition in all domestic long distance and international basic services in November 2001. Local voice telephony provided by 16 exclusive local suppliers while all other basic services for local market liberalized. Offers full competition without phase in for the local, national and international supply of all basic services (including voice) to closed user groups and for the supply of mobile services, including cellular services, mobile data services, radio navigation, paging services, PCS and mobile satellite services. No restrictions on foreign ownership. Includes some regulatory principles.

  

BRAZIL

Improved commitment offered to end the monopoly and introduce improved commitments on public telecom services, and to submit commitments on regulatory principles within one year, rather than two, from the date of passage of the new telecommunications law. Commits, with no phase-in, to open markets for the paging services and the supply to closed user groups of all basic telecom services (including voice). Commits to establish cellular telephone duopolies in each of designated markets. Competition allowed in satellite transport services, subject to the requirement that satellites with orbital positions notified by Brazil must be used unless their services are not equivalent to those of satellites notified by other countries. Improved offer also commits to phase-out the 49% (direct and indirect) foreign equity limits on cellular telephony and satellite transport services as of July 1999. Also commits to full competition in many value-added services. Commits to introduce regulatory principles within one year after the enactment of the new law.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List on the distribution of radio or television programming directly to consumers.

  

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Offers to undertake a policy review in 2010 on whether to allow additional suppliers in local public voice telephone services (currently monopoly), international public voice telephone services (currently duopoly) and in cellular telephone services (currently monopoly). Commits on Reference Paper as additional commitments.

  

BULGARIA

Phased-in commitments to liberalize public voice telephone, telegraph and telex services on a non-facilities basis as of 2003 and on a facilities basis as of 2005. Offers full liberalization without phase in of data transmission, paging and mobile data non-public voice telephone services and of VSAT and other satellite services (excluding voice service until 2003). Commits to liberalize digital and analogue cellular telephone subject to a requirement, until 2003, that international traffic use network facilities of the monopoly. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

CANADA

In improvements made 14 February, certain routing restrictions and foreign equity limits on many services were scheduled to be phased out by the year 2000 and advanced the date for the elimination of Telesat's exclusive rights on satellite facilities and earth stations serving the US/Canada market to March 2000. In other improvements, removed a requirement that Canadian equity holding in mobile satellite systems must equal Canadian usage levels. Also agreed to remove, as of October 1998, restrictions on obtaining licenses to land submarine cables. Offers a liberalized regime for resale-based competition in local telephone services and in most other basic telecom services. Limits foreign equity in all facilities-based suppliers to 20% direct and 46.7% combined direct and indirect foreign ownership. Teleglobe's monopoly on overseas (non-US) facilities-based service will be eliminated and its foreign equity limits will be raised to the 46.7% in October 1998. Telesat Canada's exclusive rights on satellite facilities and earth stations serving US/Canada market will be eliminated as of March 2000. Maintains a few limitations on market access for telephone service in certain cities or Provinces. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

CHILE

Offers full competition in the national long distance and international markets for all basic telecom services, including mobile and satellite services. No commitment taken on the provision of basic telecom services in local markets. Revised offer committed on the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

COLOMBIA

Offers open competition in facilities based local voice telephony and data transmission for public use as well as voice and other basic telecom services over closed user groups. Public facilities based long distance and international voice telephony are reserved to the public operator; further additional operators to be determined based on an economic needs test. For cellular telephone service, the regional duopolies will be liberalized in September 1999, after which new entrants permitted subject to technical constraints. Commits to a limited number of suppliers by 2000 in personal communication services, and by July 1997 for paging and facilities-based trunking. Also commits to the provision of satellite transport capacity exclusively for geostationary satellite systems. Foreign equity limit of 70% for all telecommunication service providers. Improved offer committed on the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

CÔTE D'IVOIRE

Voice telephone service over fixed network infrastructure and telex are reserved to monopoly provision for 10 years but will thereafter be opened to unrestricted competition. Open market access (without phase-in) is offered for all other basic telecom services including data transmission, all mobile networks and services, video transmission services and satellite services, links, capacity, and earth stations. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

 

CYPRUS

The schedule indicates that telecommunication services are currently under monopoly, but that the Government has commission a study to review telecom policy covering issues related to the regulatory framework and changes necessary for the gradual liberalization of the market. It also indicates that Ministers are expected to decide during 1998 on the specific measures to be adopted.

  

CZECH REPUBLIC

Full competition in all segments of voice telephone, leased circuit services and satellite services after the year 2000. Commits to open markets with no phase in for voice over closed user groups, data transmission, various mobile services (excluding international voice until 2000), video transport and frame relay. The improved offer included the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

DOMINICA

Offers full competition for data transmission over closed user groups, several value-added telecommunications services as well as internet and internet access services (excluding voice) and teleconferencing. Commits to allow cross-border supply of satellite-based mobile (including voice, data, PCS, paging and trunked radio system) and fixed satellite services through commercial arrangements with the exclusive operator. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Commits to allow provision of all basic services including voice, data REPUBLIC transmission, private leased circuits as well as mobile maritime and air to ground communications services through commercial presence. The improved offer included the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

ECUADOR

Makes a commitment on market access for cellular telephony which is free of market access restrictions.

  

EL SALVADOR

Offers full competition of basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale) for all market segments (local, long distance and international) including, for example, voice telephony, data transmission, private leased circuits, paging and mobile cellular services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

Improvements included: Portugal advanced the liberalization date for public voice telephony to 2000 and facilities based services to July 1999 and undertook an additional commitment to partially remove the foreign equity restriction (currently 25%) by 1999 subject to parliamentary approval; Spain advanced the liberalization date to December 1998 (one additional nation-wide licence in January 1998) and removed 25% foreign equity restriction; and Belgium removed 49% foreign equity restriction. The EC offer commits to complete liberalization of basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale) across the EC for all market segments (local, long distance and international). Offer also covers, for example, satellite networks and services and all mobile and personal communications services and systems. Restrictions include foreign equity limits by France (20%: radio-based services, direct investment only) and Portugal (25%). Full liberalization of public voice telephony and facilities-based services to be implemented on a delayed basis only by Spain in December 1998; by Ireland in 2000; by Greece in 2003; and by Portugal in 2000 for public voice telephony and July 1999 for facilities based services. Liberalization of internationally connected mobile and personal communications services to be implemented on a delayed basis only by Ireland and Portugal in 1999. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

GHANA

Commits to maintain two facilities-based suppliers providing local, long distance and international public voice telephone services and private leased circuit services. Offers to licence additional suppliers of local voice services to underserved population centres and to undertake a policy review possibly allowing new entrants to supply voice telephony once the five-year exclusivity of the duopoly operators have expired. Offers full competition in data transmission, internet and internet access (excluding voice) and teleconferencing. Undertakes a commitment on mobile services (terrestrial and satellite-based) including mobile data services, fixed satellite services, paging and cellular with the reservation that cross-border voice services can only be supplied through commercial arrangements with the duopoly operators. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

GRENADA

Offers to phase-in liberalization of most basic telecommunication services in all market segments including voice telephony, data transmission, private leased circuits and terrestrial mobile services by 2006. Commits to full competition in value-added telecom services, trunked radio systems and internet and internet access service (excluding voice). Permits the supply of satellite-based mobile services (including voice, data, PCS) and fixed satellite services through commercial arrangements with the exclusive operator until 2006; no restrictions thereafter. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

GUATEMALA

Offers full competition in basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale) for all market segments (local, long distance and international) including voice telephony, data transmission, private leased circuits, paging, mobile cellular and satellite services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

HONG KONG, CHINA

In a February revision committed on international simple resale for facsimile and data transmission services. Already provided access to the local market for many basic telecommunications services including voice and data transmission as well as mobile radio telephone and mobile data services. For local fixed-network services, four licences already issued and issuance of further licences will be given consideration in June 1998. Commits to permit call back and other alternative international calling services, certain satellite services, virtual private networks, and mobile satellite services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

HUNGARY

In a February revision, indicated that the reservation of land mobile services to 3 existing suppliers will end by 2004. Commits to competition in domestic long distance and international public voice telephone as of 2003 and in local voice service as of 2004; 25% Hungarian equity required for local and domestic voice services and facilities-based international service; but not for international resale of voice. Services such as paging, data transmission, and leased circuit services fully liberalized without phase-in. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

ICELAND

Liberalization of essentially all basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale). This includes, for example, data transmission, voice telephone, satellite communications, cellular mobile telephony and other mobile services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

INDIA

Improvements included commitments to review in 1999 further opening of national long-distance service and in 2004 of international services. For fixed networks providing many basic services in the local markets and for long-distance service within each of a number of service areas, commits to allow one new operator, in addition to MTNL, under licenses to be valid for a period of 10 years; the licenses for these operators will be issued as the need for the additional licenses is determined by the relevant authorities. Foreign equity participation is limited to 25%. Improved offer committed to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries. (See also the related points made in the final Report on the Group.

  

INDONESIA

In the final days of the talks, improved the offer by deleting an economic needs test for new entrants in domestic mobile cellular telephone services, personal mobile cellular communication services, and regional and national paging services. Public voice telephony, circuit switched public data network and teleconferencing services currently supplied by a number of suppliers with exclusive rights. Commits to a policy review to determine whether to admit additional suppliers upon the expiry of the exclusive rights: exclusivity expires in 2011 for local service; in 2006 for long distance service, and in 2005 for international service. Offers competition for packed-switched public data network services, telex, telegraph and internet access services, subject to use of networks of PT Indosat and PT Satelindo for international traffic. Offers competition in domestic mobile cellular telephone services, paging, public payphone services. Foreign equity limited to 35% for all services except personal communication services which require joint venture with state-owned company. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

ISRAEL

In the February revision, committed to three operators of international voice services, removed limits on the number of operators for global satellite systems and indicated that regulations on opening competition in domestic voice services and network infrastructure will be published when the monopoly rights end in 2002. Will also re-examine policy on competition in international voice services by 2001. Commits on competitive market access in cellular telephone and paging, voice over closed user groups, international private leased circuit services (excluding voice), and data transmission. Foreign equity limits of 74% on all service providers except for wireless service providers where 80% allowed. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

JAMAICA

Offers to phase in domestic facilities based and international voice telephony and other basic telecommunication services by 2013. Undertakes additional commitment to submit an improved commitment on voice over closed user groups and voice over internet currently reserved to exclusive supply until 2013 subject to the outcome of a policy review. Terrestrial cellular mobile telephone and domestic satellite based mobile telephone services to be provided by an exclusive operator under a five to ten year licence. Offers international satellite based mobile telephone and fixed satellite services through commercial arrangements with the exclusive operator until 2013. Commits to full competition in data transmission, digital mobile data services, personal communication services, paging, teleconferencing, internet and internet access (excluding voice), trunked radio systems, video transport (excluding tele-conferencing) as well as several value-added services. Also, commits to allow supply of international voice, data and video transmission services to firms involved in information processing located within freezones. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

JAPAN

Latest improvement included the deletion of the reservation concerning international simple resale of voice services. In April 1996, agreed to remove long-standing foreign equity limits on Type I carriers and radio-based services, leaving only two companies, KDD and NTT, with foreign equity limits (at 20%). Aside from these company-specific restrictions, open market access is committed in all market segments for basic telecommunications services (facilities-based and resale). Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

KOREA

In February revision, increased foreign equity participation limit on facilities based suppliers from 33% to 49% from 2001. Also increased foreign equity limit in the national supplier (KT) from 20% to 33% from 2001. Permits competition in wire-based telephone services never before opened to full competition. Full competition permitted in supply by resale of all telecom services except voice without phase in. Permits market access for domestic voice resale as of 1999 when it will allow foreign equity participation up to 49%; rises raised to 100% as of 2001. In the latest revision phases in international simple voice resale by 2001. Improved offer also committed on the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

 

MALAYSIA

Offers the opportunity to acquire foreign equity in existing facilities-based public telecommunications operators. Services supplied by the existing operators include voice telephony (wire or wireless), data transmission, private leased circuit services, domestic and international satellite services and satellite links/capacity, satellite earth stations, terrestrial- and satellite-based mobile services and video transport services. Foreign shareholding of up to 30% is permitted in these operators. Listed some regulatory principles as additional commitments.

  

MAURITIUS

The improved offer of February 1997 commits on competition in mobile satellite-based services. Existing de facto monopoly and exclusive rights in all basic telecom services to be eliminated by 2004. Commits on competition in paging and private mobile radio services. Commits to introduce regulatory principles in the future.

  

MEXICO

Improvements included raising the foreign equity limitation to 49% for all telecommunications service suppliers (from the 40% listed in an earlier revision) and ending the exclusivity of regional duopolies in cellular telephony. Commits to competition in all market segments of public telecommunications services on a facilities and a resale basis: voice telephone service, data transmission, private leased circuit services, paging and certain cellular telephone services. For cellular telephony, allows more than 49% foreign investment subject to prior authorization. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

MOROCCO

Offers phased-in supply of voice telephone services over fixed infrastructure by December 2001. Foreign equity participation may be limited (level unspecified). Opens market access for packet switched data transmission and frame relay services. Supply of mobile telephone and mobile data services, personal communication services and paging reserved for an unspecified number of operators yet to be licensed (one mobile telephone operator licensed so far). Includes some regulatory principles.

  

NEW ZEALAND

Commits to open markets for all basic telecommunication services for all market segments (local, long-distance and international). A national treatment limitation indicates that no single foreign entity is permitted to hold more than 49.9% of Telecom New Zealand; this does not limit the overall foreign shareholding in that operator. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

NORWAY

Complete liberalization of all basic telecom services. This includes, for example, data transmission, voice telephone, paging and other mobile services, and satellite communications (including voice) in all market segments. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

PAKISTAN

Improved offer moves forward the phase in of certain commitments by one year. Will now end exclusivity on cross-border supply of voice telephony as of January 2004, with no commitment on commercial presence. Also commits on full competition in private leased circuit services (transmission capacity) as of January 2004. Allows competition in satellite based services, including voice telephone and value-added services subject only to restrictions on cross-border supply to preserve monopoly rights on basic and international networks and services until their expiry. Commits to open markets for data transmission, e-mail, internet and intranet, domestic VSAT, trunked radio services, videoconferencing, telemedicine and tele-education. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries. (See also the related points made in the final Report on the Group.

  

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

All telecommunications services are reserved until 2002 for an exclusive service provider. Offers to review and announce the issuance of additional operating licenses by the year 2000. Commits on the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

PERU

Voice telephone services (domestic, long distance & international) to be liberalized in 1999. Other basic services would be liberalized in 1999 for long-distance and international market segments and are liberalized without phase-in for supply in the local market. Where scarce resources such as frequency availability are involved, licenses will be issued through public tender. In its improved offer, committed on the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

PHILIPPINES

In the February revision cellular mobile telephone services was included. Offers competition through commercial presence in the following services on a facilities basis for public use by means of all types of technologies except cable television and satellite: voice telephone, data transmission services, and cellular mobile telephone services in all market segments (local, long distance and international). Market access for the new entrants to be determined by meeting the criteria of a public convenience and necessity test. Foreign equity limited to 40%. Includes some regulatory principles.

  

POLAND

The revised offer of January added commitments to liberalize international public voice and facilities, telex and telegraph in 2003. Long distance public voice service and facilities also to be liberalized by 2003. Liberalization of domestic telex and telegraph permitted by 2000. Market access with no phase-in for local public voice and facilities (in geographic areas assigned by license), voice over closed user groups in all market segments, and data transmission. Commits to allow cellular mobile telephone services and networks subject to use, until 2003, of international monopoly network facilities. Commits to permit mobile satellite services and networks in 2003. Foreign equity limited to 49% for all international and domestic long distance services and networks, and public cellular telephone services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

ROMANIA

Liberalization of public voice telephone services (local, long distance and international) and leased circuit services in 2003. With no phase-in, offers competition in data transmission, telex, telegraph, facsimile and paging services, and in the supply of both VSAT services and voice telephone offered to closed user groups. Commits to bind the two existing licenses for digital cellular mobile telephony. Analogue cellular mobile telephony is liberalised as of 2002. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SENEGAL

Offers to review policy with respect to licensing additional operators when existing monopoly rights expire between 2003 and 2006 in voice telephony, data transmission, private leased circuit services and fixed satellite services. The number of operators is limited to three in the following services: paging and trunked radio systems. Up to two cellular mobile operators (including mobile data) will be licensed during 1997. Authorities will establish in 1997 the maximum number of licenses for mobile satellite services. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SINGAPORE

In an improved offer committed to phase-in of competition in facilities-based telecommunication services in April 2000 when up to two additional operators will be licensed; indicates that additional licenses will be granted thereafter. Offers open markets for mobile data, cellular telephony and trunked radio services and for paging services as of April 2000. Commits to the provision of domestic and international resale of public-switched capacity (not including the connection of leased lines to public network) for most basic services, including voice, data and ISDN. Foreign equity limited to 49% for facilities based supply. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SLOVAK REP

Offers competition in public voice services and network infrastructure as of 2003. Offers competition, not subject to phase-in, for voice telephony within closed user groups and data transmission. Competition in private leased circuits services permitted without phase in with no connection to the public network; permitted with connection to public network in 2003. Commits to competition all mobile and personal communication services (excluding analog cellular voice services), except that mobile supply of international voice not permitted until 2003. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SOUTH AFRICA

Commitment to end monopoly supply and introduce a second supplier by the end of 2003 in public-switched, facilities-based services including voice, data transmission, telex, facsimile, private leased circuits and satellite-based services. Commits to review the feasibility of allowing additional suppliers of public switched services by the end of 2003. Also commits to duopoly supply of mobile cellular telephony. No limitations on the number of suppliers of paging, personal radio communication and trunked radio systems. Foreign investment in telecom suppliers is limited to 30%. Offers to liberalize resale services sometime between 2000 and 2003. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SRI LANKA

Offers duopoly in international basic voice services as from 2000, subject to satisfactory progress by the monopoly on tariff rebalancing. Foreign equity participation of up to 35% permitted for a strategic partner in the government owned operator SLT. For local and domestic long distance mobile cellular services, four operators licensed; will review the number of licences permitted in 2000. Commits to two licenses (in addition to SLT) for supply by wireless local loop of basic voice telephony, data transmission, payphones, voice mail and facsimile; the two licensees are guaranteed exclusivity for five years.Commits to five licenses for public payphones services and for paging services licenses with possible additional suppliers of each to permitted subject to economic needs tests. Commits to six operators of data communication services. For GMPCS services supplied through own gateways, indicates that issuance of licenses is under consideration. For all suppliers other than SLT, foreign equity permitted up to 40% with investments over 40% subject to case-by-case approval. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries. (See also the related points made in the final Report on the Group.

  

SURINAME

Commits on duopoly provision of public voice telephone services, fixed network infrastructure and fixed satellite services and to maintain existing licenses for mobile telephone and PCS while also committing to determine, by 2003, the circumstances for the licensing additional operators of these services. Liberalizes non-public voice services and public and non-public data transmission, internet services (excluding voice) and teleconferencing subject to use of duopoly facilities. Fully liberalizes provision to the public of mobile data, paging, and trunked radio systems. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

SWITZERLAND

Improved schedule reflecting the new telecom law commits on complete liberalization of basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale, public and non-public) for all market segments (local, long distance and international) and by any type of technology. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

THAILAND

In its revised offer of February 1997 undertook to introduce revised commitments in public local, long distance and international voice telecommunications services in 2006, conditional upon the passage of and consistent with the provisions in proposed new communications acts. Also commits on some regulatory principles conditional upon the passage and entry into force of new telecommunications acts. Commits to introduce regulatory principles in the future.

  

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Offers competition in voice telephone, data transmission, telex, telegraph and private leased circuit services for public use as from 2010. Commits on mobile satellite based services for public use including mobile telephone services, mobile data, fixed satellite services and personal communication services as well as several value added services. Other mobile services, internet and internet access and teleconferencing for private use are unconfirmed offers to be negotiated. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

  

TUNISIA

Offers competition telex and packed switched data transmission from 1999; in mobile telephone, frame relay, paging and teleconferencing from 2000; and in local telephone services from 2003. For all services, foreign equity limited to 49%. From 2002, foreign participation in the capital of Tunisie Telecom will be allowed up to 10%.

  

TURKEY

In its revised offer undertook a commitment to end the monopoly's exclusive rights on voice telephony and other basic telecom services by 2006 and opened to competition cellular mobile services and paging. Commits market access for data transmission services without phase in. Includes some regulatory principles.

 

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List with two entries: one relating to two neighbouring countries with respect to fees for transit land connections and the usage of satellite ground stations; and the other to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries. (See also the related points made in the final Report on the Group.

  

UNITED STATES

Commits to open markets for essentially all basic telecom services (facilities-based and resale) for all market segments (local, long distance and international), including unrestricted access to a common carrier radio licenses for operators that are indirectly foreign owned. Offer also covers, for example, satellite-based services, cellular telephony and other mobile services. Limitations on market access include no issuance of radio licenses to operators with more than 20% direct foreign ownership and Comsat retains exclusive rights to links with Intelsat and Inmarsat satellite capacity. Commits to the Reference Paper on regulatory principles.

Submitted an M.f.n. Exemption List on telecommunications services involving the one-way satellite transmission of DTH and DBS television services and digital audio services.

  

VENEZUELA

Commits to open markets for facilities based voice telephone services in all market segments (local, long distance and international) as of November 2000. Offers full competition in facilities based telecommunication services such as mobile telephony, data transmission, teleconferencing and paging without phase-in. The improved offer included some additional commitments on regulatory principles.

  
  
  
Subsector by subsector commitments: back to top

- Voice telephone service: 49 schedules (covering 63 governments) commit to competitive supply (defined here as permitting two or more suppliers). This compares favourably with April 1996 results when 44 governments included voice services. These commitments permit competition the supply of public voice services, either immediate or phased-in, in at least one market segment, except for one, which commits to voice only over closed user groups in all market segments.

  • Public voice services: 44 schedules (58 governments) committed on local service, 41 (55 governments) offered domestic long distance, and 45 (59 governments) offered international service.
      

  • Resale of public voice telephone is included in the commitments in 30 schedules (44 governments) or more than 70% of the 62 governments permitting or planning to introduce a degree of competition in public voice service.

- Other services:

  • Data transmission: 51 schedules (65 governments) include commitments of data transmission services;

  • Cellular/mobile telephone: 48 (62 governments) grant access for cellular/mobile telephone markets;

  • Leased circuit services: 42 (56 governments) commit to competition in leased circuit services (the supply of transmission capacity);

  • Other types of mobile services: 48 (62 governments) include commitments on other types of mobile services (such as PCS, mobile data or paging).

  • Satellite-related communications: 39 schedules (53 governments) committed on some or all types of mobile satellite services or transport capacity and 38 (52 governments) commit on fixed satellite services or transport capacity.

- Value-added telecommunication services: 10 governments scheduled some commitments on value-added telecommunications services (e.g. e-mail, on-line data processing or data base retrieval).

  
  
  
Exemptions: back to top

Nine governments submitted m.f.n. exemption lists to be annexed to the Protocol.

While m.f.n. exemptions can sometimes be required by legal technicalities, a decision to file one can also depend on whether a participant is satisfied with the quality of commitments made. Without an m.f.n. exemption, a Member must treat the services or service suppliers of every other Member as favourably as those of any other country, Member or not. But even if it files an exemption, a Member may only apply it to unscheduled services or to grant special preferences over and above the market access restrictions indicated in its schedule.

- The United States: the exemption relates to one-way satellite transmission of DTH and DBS television services and digital audio services. That of

- Brazil: the exemption relates to the distribution of radio or television programming directly to consumers.

- Argentina: the exemption applies to the supply of fixed satellite services by geostationary satellites. One by

- Turkey: the exemption relates to two neighbouring countries, with respect to fees for transit land connections and the usage of satellite ground stations.

- Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Turkey: listed exemptions to permit the Government or the Government-run operator to apply differential measures, such as accounting rates, in bilateral agreements with other operators or countries -- an issue also addressed in the final Report on the Group. An exemption by

- Antigua and Barbuda: their exemption enables the Government to extend to nationals of other Caricom-Member countries treatment equal to its own nationals.

  
  
  
Phasing-in back to top

The formal entry into force of the commitments took place on 5 February 1998. But where a participant's commitments for particular services are to be phased in, the actual implementation would take place on the date specified in the schedule. About 40%, or 26 of the 62 governments committing on public voice telephone services, subject these commitments to phase in. In the highlights, phase-in-dates, where they exist, are usually mentioned along with the services affected.

  
  
  
Regulatory disciplines back to top

Sixty five of the 72 governments who have submitted schedules on basic telecommunications included commitments on regulatory disciplines. Of these, 59 committed to the Reference Paper in whole or with few modifications. These commitments relate to such matters as competition safeguards, interconnection guarantees, licensing and the independence of regulators. In April 1996, 44 governments had included regulatory commitments in their offers and only 31 had inscribed the Reference Paper.