Telecoms & Media

Paraguay

Javier Maria Parquet Villagra
Estudio Jurídico Parquet & Asociados (Parquet & Associates – Attorneys at Law)

    General

  1. 1.

    Provide a general overview of the telecoms regulatory and licensing scheme.

  2. Article 30 of the Paraguayan National Constitution provides that the electromagnetic spectrum is the public domain of the state and specific laws will regulate and ensure equal access to the spectrum. In 1995 the Paraguayan Telecommunications Law was enacted, creating the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL). The CONATEL is the regulatory agency in charge of regulating national telecommunications. The Law guarantees equal access to the use and rendering of telecom services subject to compliance with its terms. Furthermore, it classifies the telecom services into three tiers:

    (i) Basic services: this includes the fix cable telephone and international telephone service. Currently, the basic services are state owned and a licence is acquired by means of a concession following parliament’s approval.

    (ii) Broadcast services; includes over-the-air TV, radio AM /FM broadcast, cable TV broadcast, etc.

    (iii) Other services such as value-added services includes mobile, PCS, internet, private services, low-coverage radiobroadcast, among other services. Applications for licences for services detailed in (ii) and (iii) is ex parte and are granted based on spectrum availability, with the exception of the TV broadcasting (non-commercial over the air) licence, which is granted following a public bid.

  3. 2.

    What are the regulatory authorities, agencies and departments that oversee telecommunication licensing, transactions and telecoms activities and what are their general responsibilities? Does regulatory treatment of telecoms services providers differ depending on the type of service?

  4. The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) (www.conatel.gov.py) is the main regulatory authority in charge of issuing the necessary telecom regulation, approving technical norms, setting the objectives in the National Telecommunications Plan, administer the radio electric spectrum, regulate the concession of licences and renewals, approve transfers and acquisitions, apply sanctions and fines to infringing licensees prior to summary proceedings, set the interconnection rules for services, prevent antitrust activities, control compliance with the norms, apply the duties for the use of the radioelectric spectrum, the commercial exploitation tax and the licence fee, certify the telecom equipment and administer the universal services funds created to expand telecom services.

    Regulatory treatment differs depending whether the telecom provider is a licensee, concessionaire or an authorised user and in turn this depends on the type of telecom service requested before the NTC based on the services set forth in question 1.

  5. 3.

    Describe the main issues related to dispute resolution in the telecoms industry and how disputes with a regulator would be generally resolved.

  6. Until now main disputes have been regarding interconnections tariffs. Because of the significant difference in market share allocations, operators have never agreed on interconnection charges. In order to amend the situation the CONATEL has set compulsory charges since 2004. Other disputes resolved before the telecom regulator involved access to additional spectrum, licence issues and competition issues.

  7. 4.

    Do you expect any significant changes in the near future in the legislative or licensing scheme or in the governing authorities?

  8. The Regulatory Authority proposed a modification to the Telecom Law, however, said initiative has not succeeded in Congress. The modifications addresses licensing issues, the elimination of the monopoly scheme for fixed lines and long-distance service, among others. Recently elected president shall assume position in August 2018 and new officials shall be appointed including head of the CONATEL. We do not foresee mayor legislative changes during the remaining year. New policies or initiatives may arise after officials take office.

    Part of the presidential campaign involved improving broadband connectivity by means of strategic alliance with neighbouring countries and international providers. Another issue has also been the lowering of roaming rates within the Mercosur countries.

  9. 5.

    What significant telecom-specific international treaties is your country party to? Has your country made any commitments under the GATS/GATT regarding telecommunications or adopted the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement?

  10. Paraguay is a WTO member since 1995, but has not adopted specific telecommunications commitments. Paraguay is in line with ITU recommendations.

  11. 6.

    What trends were noticeable in the market in 2017? What trends do you expect to see in the next 12 months?

  12. Following the 700Mhz for 4G/LTE broadband  spectrum auction awarded early this 2018 to three of four local mobile operators including Millicom Company, Telecel; AMX Telecom Group, Claro and Telecom Personal/TIM, Personal, with a total amount collected of US$84 million. Previously in 2017, two mobile companies acquired additional spectrum in the 1,700–2100Mhz subbands for a total of US$90 million therefore, we expect to see mobile and broadband infrastructure rollout, offering more and better access to telecom services, more network coverage and stable and competitive prices.    

  13. 7.

    Is there a "national broadband strategy" or strategy for public internet or Wi-F access? Are there regulatory policies designed to bypass landline technology and promote wireless? Or to promote "fibre to the home"? Are there policies intended to support or subsidise broadband access to underserved or unserved areas?

  14. The national broadband strategy and policy is incorporated in the Telecommunications National Plan recently launched by CONATEL (https://www.conatel.gov.py/index.php/15-informaciones-generales/36-plan-nacional-de-telecomunicaciones).

    The Plan sets forth the national telecom policy based on three main pillars and goals: (i) towards a connected society; by expanding broadband and promoting affordable costs, (ii) a society digitally inclusive; by promoting digital education, financial inclusion, e-banking, eSociety, with (iii) regulatory efficiency, based on transparency and social participation.  

    Licensing and other regulation

  15. 8.

    How are wireline or wireless telecoms services licensed, and how is radio-frequency spectrum allocated and made available to applicants (eg, service providers)? In particular, describe the licensing regime in your jurisdiction, including the procedures for a company to obtain licences to provide wireline or wireless telecoms services, or for use of radio-frequency spectrum. May licences be traded or sub-licensed and if yes, under what conditions? Are there any direct or indirect foreign ownership limitations?

  16. Aside from basic services (fixed wired telephone national and international telephone service) all licence applications are filed before the CONATEL. CONATEL may or may not request a public bid, depending on availability, unless it is a TV broadcast over the air licence that requires public bid indefectible. The application procedure consists of filing a plan including:

    • a technical draft, including full details of the frequencies to be used, technical installations, type and technical specifications of equipment to be certified by the CONATEL, among other requirements;
    • a financial costing including funding for the first five years, total investment, warranties, state of accounts, tax compliance certificate, and finally;
    • the legal documentation as to the company and company corporate structure, information regarding its directors, copy of the company by-laws, certificates of no criminal record, no bankruptcy or call for creditors' meeting certificate, no interdiction certificate, affidavits, etc.

    Licences may not be traded or sub-licensed unless the operator obtains the regulator’s consent. Nevertheless, there are cases in which the licensee hires a third party to carry out the licensed service.

  17. 9.

    What types of duties, royalties and taxes must be paid by an operator to obtain and maintain telecoms licences? Are there universal service contribution requirements (or equivalent) to help fund or subsidise the provision of telecoms services to underserved, remote or high-cost areas?

  18. Mainly three duties/taxes:

    • spectrum duties: calculated and based on the broadband width in MHz, frequencies, service demand and minimum basic income salary;
    • commercial exploitation tax: equivalent to 1 per cent of the gross income; and
    • licence fee equivalent to the 1-3 per cent of the total investment cost according to the financial plan filed in the application. The costs considered are mainly of the telecom equipment necessary to comply with projected coverage.

    Please note that 40 per cent of the commercial exploitation tax is destined to universal service contribution, see question 23.

  19. 10.

    What are the principal requirements to land a submarine telecoms cable, to traverse territorial waters in your jurisdiction?

  20. Paraguay is a landlocked country with no access to the sea. Fibre telecom cables connections are carried out on the borders with Brazil and Argentina. Satellite communication and transmission must be carried out by acquiring the proper licences and through authorised and registered satellite service providers registered with CONATEL.

  21. 11.

    Are data centres, data transmission and associated privacy considerations subject to special regulation?

  22. There is no specific regulation. Data centre are operating under data transmission licences under normal conditions. 

  23. 12.

    Describe the general licensing and regulatory requirements for satellites in the telecoms industry. Are there any direct or indirect foreign ownership limitations? Are there separate or specific licensing or regulatory requirements for foreign satellite system operators to provide services in your country?

  24. Satellite service providers must register before the CONATEL in order to enjoy landing rights, provide service to local licensees and/or telecom service providers. They must also have a local legal representative and a registered domicile. Service must be available at a rate of 99 per cent and satellite service providers must comply with ITU recommendations as well as other international treaties to which Paraguay is a party.

    Operation and installation of earth stations, spectrum allocations, uplink and downlink allocations is carried out by the licensee depending on the service to be provided. There are no direct or indirect foreign ownership limitations. There are currently more than 10 registered satellite service providers.

  25. 13.

    Has number portability been a concern in your jurisdiction? Has it had any effect on competition? How are numbers allocated?

  26. Number portability was implemented in November 2012 – by 2014, 178,503 users had migrated between companies, and by January 2017, 576,129 lines migrated lines had been registered. This has been seen as a means of offering more options to customers and increase competition.

    Portability is implemented by means of a request filed before the telecom company the customer wishes to migrate to; migration is finalised when the customer receives an sms informing that migration has concluded and the customer is able to use the service of the new company. 

  27. 14.

    Are mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) allowed or common? Are there any impediments, restrictions or special regulations affecting MVNOs?

  28. MVNOs are not common practice in the Paraguayan telecom market. There is no specific regulation or experience in this area. However, the auctions led by the current regulator have included conditions encouraging and facilitating the entry of an MVNO and participation of smaller players in the spectrum.

  29. 15.

    Is network-to-network interconnection and access mandatory? What is the pricing scheme? Are there certain criteria for qualifying?

  30. Interconnection is mandatory. The Interconnection Regulation is based on the following principles:

    1. i parties agreement: interconnection agreements must be in writing in harmony with neutrality principles, equal access and no discrimination.
    2. 2 neutrality: operators are prohibited from carrying out actions that may limit free and loyal competition, limit interconnection access and affect quality of service, among others;
    3. 3 non-discrimination: operators have the right to the same technical, economic and legal conditions as those offered to other operators that require similar facilities;
    4. 4 equal access: operators must interconnect their networks and services in equal conditions for all other operators that render similar services requiring interconnection;
    5. 5 free competition: monopolies and commercial practices that limit competition are forbidden;
    6. 6 mandatory interconnection: all operators are obliged to interconnect their networks and services to the remaining operators;
    7. 7 reciprocal compensation: operators have the right to set compensations for interconnection charges;
    8. 8 efficiency: No operator may impose interconnection terms and conditions causing inefficient use of networks and equipment;
    9. 9 open architecture: operators must implement open network architecture and technical norms in accordance with the technical plans set by CONATEL in order to allow efficient use of the networks through interconnection;
    10. 10 interconnection charges: charges shall not be discriminatory and shall be calculated by means of the metric Long Run Average Total Costs incurred by an efficient operator.

    Disputes are resolved before CONATEL. CONATEL has been setting the interconnection rates since 2004 owing to interconnection disputes among mobile operators. Interconnection must be requested formally from the company granting the connection. If it is denied or delayed, CONATEL must intervene. The current interconnection charge between mobile networks is: 0,00025 US$/sec and for SMS between operators: 0,0030US$/SMS, in force since August 2016.

    Competition and merger control

  31. 16.

    What is the current state of telecoms competition in your jurisdiction? Is the telecoms market dominated by a limited number of participants or is market-share more equally dispersed? Is there a policy to require a minimum number of national wireline and wireless operators to ensure competition? Do you foresee contraction or consolidation in the industry in the near future due to the entry of additional operators?

  32. Mobile telecom service with a teledensity of 107 per cent operates in an extremely competitive environment, while mobile broadband internet access is still emerging, with only 26 per cent penetration rate according to the current National Telecommunications Plan. There are four mobile operators in a mobile telecom saturated market, but new sub-bands within the 1,700–2,100MHz band and 700Mhz were auctioned in 2017 and 2018 in favour of three of the current mobile operators.

    Three additional TV channels for OTA Broadcast have been offered for auction incrementing the number of channels to 12. Licensees are currently migrating to digital standard Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial Brazilian (ISDB Tb). Paid broadcast licences, cable and DTH have had a 17.6 per cent subscriber increase in only one year, which is mainly owing to new DTH licences entering into commercial operation. We foresee equal competition in the mobile market, with more telecom investment for the next five years, as well as wider penetration of the broadband internet service as well as paid TV. The international and fixed-telephone service will probably remain state-owned in the meantime.

  33. 17.

    Are competition rules relevant for the telecoms industry in your jurisdiction? Describe any antitrust approvals or other competition law requirements that may apply in connection with telecoms investment.

  34. Law 4956/2013 Law of Fair Competition and its Regulatory Decree 1490/2014 set forth the procedures and rules intended to protect and maintain fair competition in the Paraguayan market. The law creates the National Commission for Competition (CONACOM), recently created and members assigned. This institution is in charge of investigating all acts, including those in the telecom sector, that may affect or have affected competition. Likewise, the CONACOM will approve or refuse mergers and acquisitions that have an impact in the Paraguayan market according to the thresholds limits set forth in the law.

  35. 18.

    Are there any rules specific to the telecoms industry for effecting mergers and acquisitions?

  36. Prior approval of the CONATEL is required. This includes a preliminary filing and the CONATEL will state all the necessary documents needed to approve the merger or acquisition. Documentation includes legal, financial and technical aspects.

    If said merger or acquisition implies an increment in 45 per cent of market share or the gross income (turnover) of both participants exceed the amount of approximately US$38 million, approval must be obtained from the CONACOM, prior to notification of the intended deal. 

    Telecoms markets and consumers

  37. 19.

    Are prices for telecoms services regulated, or is it purely market-driven? Are there any differences between prices for consumers and businesses? Are retail or wholesale price controls imposed on any operator? Does any regulation of pricing differ depending on the type of service?

  38. The fixed wire telephone service is the only regulated service with price cap set forth by regulator. The remaining telecom services are not regulated regarding pricing; however, the Tariff Resolution applies and grants the licensee a discretional authorisation to set prices based on reasonableness and in line with costs including a marginal income. In case of abuse, the regulatory authority may intervene and set caps, however, this has not occurred to date. There are no differences between prices for consumers and businesses, it is market – driven, same for wholesale and retail pricing.

  39. 20.

    Describe recent efforts to expand the telecoms infrastructure in your jurisdiction. How have they been funded (public, private, public-private partnerships, etc)? Have you noted any trends or any notable issues in connection with expansion?

  40. Efforts to expand telecom infrastructure have mainly been driven by the telecom companies themselves having to deal with numerous obstacles common in the industry such as important duties to be paid, illegal suspension of deployment, delay in permit concession, and numerous entities regulating same area, among others.

    All telecom companies are sharing facilities and have united in an association of mobile operators, which aims to carry out actions to expand telecom infrastructure.

    Likewise, as a result of the recent auctions, mobile operators were obliged to offer subsidised connectivity and hardware to nationwide educational institutions which had a positive media effect.

  41. 21.

    Have telecoms operators in your jurisdiction adopted "convergence" in respect of their market offerings? If yes, what is the current state of play in the market? Are cable TV operators offering telephony services or internet streaming services? Has network partnering been adopted by any operators in the market to increase their viability?

  42. Yes. The fixed-line state-owned operator COPACO has launched triple play. The service has not been specifically regulated, meaning that you must have a cable distribution broadcasting licence and internet licence, as well as mobile licence and/or telephone service. The regulator has not set clear criteria for network partnering despite the fact that operators have recently launched a DTH service in partnership with a mobile operator.  

  43. 22.

    Are there any issues regarding availability of suitable radio-frequency spectrum for wireless broadband and other emerging uses? Are there any upcoming auctions or modifications to existing radio-frequency spectrum use allocations to encourage the expansion of emerging wireless communications services? Are there radio-frequency spectrum caps in operation? If so, what effect are these having on the market?

  44. Radio frequency is granted on demand unless the regulatory authority states otherwise. In the case of the 1,700-2,100MHz sub-bands an international public auction was held at the end of 2015 and two existing mobile operators were granted 4G spectrum. Additionally, in January 2018, 700Mhz sub bands were allocated in an international public bid, and spectrum caps were implemented in both auctions so as to avoid concentration.

  45. 23.

    Are significant portions of your jurisdiction underserved? If so, is there a focus on rural expansion? Are there mandatory requirements for rural or universal service (including contributions to fund or subsidise the cost of expanding telecoms services to remote, underserved or high-cost areas)?

  46. Yes. The Universal Service Funds is destined to promote telecom access to rural and underserved areas. The fund is made up of 40 per cent of the commercial exploitation tax that all licensees pay CONATEL and its objective is to satisfy underserved rural areas or for areas that require subsidy of telecommunication infrastructure owing to public or social interests. Some rural areas still do not possess electricity, which prevents deployment. However, CONATEL is constantly offering funds by means of public auction to cover underserved areas and telecom companies are constantly participating in said bids. Bids are public and tend to be transparent procedures published in the regulators web page. Likewise, since 2014, auction bid documents include obligations to carry out deployment in underserved areas and carry out social commitments including broadband access accounts and hardware supply (computers and laptops).

  47. 24.

    Briefly describe the importance of social media in your jurisdiction? Has your jurisdiction addressed net neutrality?

  48. Use of social media is widespread, especially among young people. Use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter is now widespread. Net neutrality is addressed by CONATEL and the concept has been included in all internet access licences as an obligation to the licensee.

  49. 25.

    Provide an overview of privacy protection, cybersecurity and liability for unauthorised or illegal activity online as applicable to common carriers, web hosts and end users.

  50. Paraguay has not adopted legislation that regulates content; therefore illegal online activity is treated under the criminal code. The criminal judge and public prosecutors have the power and means to investigate any activity that occurs online. Specific regulation against acts of bullying or acts against minors using cell phone devices and social media applications has been issued, and the authorities have acted to protect rights of minors and others, pressing charges against those who create and distribute illegal content.   

  51. 26.

    Is there any domestic regulation or censorship of internet or other media content? Are there any privacy agencies or regulators or set procedures, or it is largely self-regulated? Are there particular laws that impose liability on operators, or conversely act as a "liability shield", for such operators?

  52. There are general provisions that may be invoked to protect unauthorised private content from being disclosed, the order must come be issued by a competent judge. The means of communications are largely self-regulated according to local standards and customs. There are specific fines and penalties for non-compliance of political propaganda prior to elections and liability in cases of non-compliance of advertising campaigns with anti-tobacco and minors protection laws.

    Foreign participation

  53. 27.

    Who are the most significant foreign participants in your country in the telecoms sector?

  54. Regarding the mobile and broadband sector including internet service:

    • Tigo: Telefonía Celular SA;
    • Personal: Nucleo SA, a company controlled by a local media group and Telecom Italia Mobile;
    • Claro: AMX Paraguay SA, a company controlled by America Movil SA de CV; and
    • Vox: COPACO, the stated-owned fixed-line and international operator.
  55. 28.

    Describe any legal limitations on the types of companies that can enter into telecoms transactions or possess telecoms licences. Are there any local ownership requirements or restrictions on foreign investment in telecoms activities? Are there any significant regulations regarding domestic participation or labour laws relating to foreign workers?

  56. Some licenses for services such as non-commercial TV broadcasting and cable distribution broadcasting licences require that the majority of the directors of the licensed company be Paraguayan nationals; if there are any foreigners directors they must have a residence permit. Aside from said limitation there are no restrictions on foreign investment nor labour laws relating to foreign workers aside from residence permission and general tax issues applicable to services rendered on Paraguayan territory. 

  57. 29.

    Are there any limitations on direct or indirect foreign investment or ownership in the telecoms sector? Are there differing procedures for foreign investors or owners depending on the type of foreign owner or investor?

  58. There are no limitations on direct or indirect foreign investment or ownership in the neither telecoms sector nor differentiated procedures. There are, however, standard immigration provisions applicable to foreigners operating as directors or managers of local companies.

  59. 30.

    How are national concerns in the telecoms sector addressed? Are there restrictions on the nationality of equipment manufacturers or network systems providers?

  60. There are no restrictions on the nationality of equipment manufacturers or network systems providers. The telecom law states all telecom equipment must be standardisd, and a relatively simple standard procedure has been set up and implemented to homologate telecom equipment.

    Financing and bankruptcy

  61. 31.

    What types of financial investors are most active in the telecoms market in your jurisdiction? Has there been a shift in the sources of funding over recent years due to economic uncertainty or otherwise? Where do you expect to see the bulk of financing come from in the next 12 months?

  62. Private international funding from a parent company is the principal source of funding. Following the recent 4G frequencies auctions awarded in 2016 and 2018, and a future one to be launched this year, telecom companies will be encouraged to invest in LTE 4G/5G infrastructure and enforce their mobile data broadband offerings.

  63. 32.

    Is there any public funding of infrastructure by local or foreign export credit agencies or development financing institutions? How does this mesh with private funding?

  64. Milicom company, Tigo, a leading mobile operator, obtained a US$67 million credit granted by the national health insurance institute – Instituto de Prevision Social (IPS) with the warranty from the Inter-American Development Bank during 2017. Public funding may be available if the organic charter of the institution allows the funding of private entities.

    Likewise, telecom infrastructure may be funded through the association of private and public entities based on the Law 5102 for “The investment promotion in public infrastructure and the expansion and improvement of goods and services provided by the State”.

    Public–private alliances are definitely the new instrument which will allow the generation of necessary infrastructure vital for the social and economic development of Paraguay. Said instrument materialised in a long-term contract between the private and public sector, incorporating the main goal which is the development of public infrastructure and/or rendering of services complementary to said infrastructure.

  65. 33.

    Briefly describe any legal considerations of particular importance in your jurisdiction in connection with a cross-border financing of telecoms companies.

  66. Foreign companies incorporate share companies in Paraguay and file for telecom licences once the company has been incorporated, which is a two-month process. Capital injections are carried out by either agreed loans with the parent company or capital contributions in exchange of shares.

    Dividends, when sent abroad are taxed by means of income retention. In such a case, the companies or local branch must act as a retention agent, applying the rate of 15 per cent over the net amounts sent or credited of shares.

  67. 34.

    What conditions precedent would you recommend a lender include in their loan documentation?

  68. Prior regulatory approval is necessary to ensure investment or loan and lender must consider that telecom licences are granted for five-year periods, while TV and cable distribution licences are for 10-year periods.

  69. 35.

    What is the most common method for a lender to take collateral security in a telecoms acquisition or general-purpose financing? For example, are lenders able to establish a security interest in (or obtain a pledge of) licences or authorisations granted to a domestic telecoms system operator? Are there methods of granting security that are more beneficial?

  70. Normally, acquisitions are carried out in parent companies’ jurisdictions with international banking credit or collateral.

  71. 36.

    Describe any limits on, or requirements with respect to, a lender’s ability to take a valid and enforceable security interest in telecoms assets or licences. How would such liens be perfected (if at all) to ensure a lender’s priority with respect to those assets?

  72. The spectrum is state-owned and security interest would therefore be inapplicable; however, all telecommunication assets, such as equipment, would be enforceable with no special requirements.

  73. 37.

    Are there any significant restrictions that may impact the timing and value of enforcement with respect to security interests in telecoms assets or licences – such as a requirement for a public auction or the availability of court blocking procedures to other creditors or the company (or its trustee in bankruptcy) or additional regulatory approvals associated with enforcement?

  74. There are no significant restrictions that may impact the timing and value of enforcement with respect to security interests in telecommunications assets or licences. Paraguay is signatory to numerous international treaties that protect foreign investment and recognise international security interests. 

  75. 38.

    Are there any bankruptcy rules in your jurisdiction with respect to the redistribution and sale of telecoms assets and licences?

  76. No. General bankruptcy rules apply.

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Questions

    General

  1. 1.

    Provide a general overview of the telecoms regulatory and licensing scheme.


  2. 2.

    What are the regulatory authorities, agencies and departments that oversee telecommunication licensing, transactions and telecoms activities and what are their general responsibilities? Does regulatory treatment of telecoms services providers differ depending on the type of service?


  3. 3.

    Describe the main issues related to dispute resolution in the telecoms industry and how disputes with a regulator would be generally resolved.


  4. 4.

    Do you expect any significant changes in the near future in the legislative or licensing scheme or in the governing authorities?


  5. 5.

    What significant telecom-specific international treaties is your country party to? Has your country made any commitments under the GATS/GATT regarding telecommunications or adopted the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement?


  6. 6.

    What trends were noticeable in the market in 2017? What trends do you expect to see in the next 12 months?


  7. 7.

    Is there a "national broadband strategy" or strategy for public internet or Wi-F access? Are there regulatory policies designed to bypass landline technology and promote wireless? Or to promote "fibre to the home"? Are there policies intended to support or subsidise broadband access to underserved or unserved areas?


  8. Licensing and other regulation

  9. 8.

    How are wireline or wireless telecoms services licensed, and how is radio-frequency spectrum allocated and made available to applicants (eg, service providers)? In particular, describe the licensing regime in your jurisdiction, including the procedures for a company to obtain licences to provide wireline or wireless telecoms services, or for use of radio-frequency spectrum. May licences be traded or sub-licensed and if yes, under what conditions? Are there any direct or indirect foreign ownership limitations?


  10. 9.

    What types of duties, royalties and taxes must be paid by an operator to obtain and maintain telecoms licences? Are there universal service contribution requirements (or equivalent) to help fund or subsidise the provision of telecoms services to underserved, remote or high-cost areas?


  11. 10.

    What are the principal requirements to land a submarine telecoms cable, to traverse territorial waters in your jurisdiction?


  12. 11.

    Are data centres, data transmission and associated privacy considerations subject to special regulation?


  13. 12.

    Describe the general licensing and regulatory requirements for satellites in the telecoms industry. Are there any direct or indirect foreign ownership limitations? Are there separate or specific licensing or regulatory requirements for foreign satellite system operators to provide services in your country?


  14. 13.

    Has number portability been a concern in your jurisdiction? Has it had any effect on competition? How are numbers allocated?


  15. 14.

    Are mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) allowed or common? Are there any impediments, restrictions or special regulations affecting MVNOs?


  16. 15.

    Is network-to-network interconnection and access mandatory? What is the pricing scheme? Are there certain criteria for qualifying?


  17. Competition and merger control

  18. 16.

    What is the current state of telecoms competition in your jurisdiction? Is the telecoms market dominated by a limited number of participants or is market-share more equally dispersed? Is there a policy to require a minimum number of national wireline and wireless operators to ensure competition? Do you foresee contraction or consolidation in the industry in the near future due to the entry of additional operators?


  19. 17.

    Are competition rules relevant for the telecoms industry in your jurisdiction? Describe any antitrust approvals or other competition law requirements that may apply in connection with telecoms investment.


  20. 18.

    Are there any rules specific to the telecoms industry for effecting mergers and acquisitions?


  21. Telecoms markets and consumers

  22. 19.

    Are prices for telecoms services regulated, or is it purely market-driven? Are there any differences between prices for consumers and businesses? Are retail or wholesale price controls imposed on any operator? Does any regulation of pricing differ depending on the type of service?


  23. 20.

    Describe recent efforts to expand the telecoms infrastructure in your jurisdiction. How have they been funded (public, private, public-private partnerships, etc)? Have you noted any trends or any notable issues in connection with expansion?


  24. 21.

    Have telecoms operators in your jurisdiction adopted "convergence" in respect of their market offerings? If yes, what is the current state of play in the market? Are cable TV operators offering telephony services or internet streaming services? Has network partnering been adopted by any operators in the market to increase their viability?


  25. 22.

    Are there any issues regarding availability of suitable radio-frequency spectrum for wireless broadband and other emerging uses? Are there any upcoming auctions or modifications to existing radio-frequency spectrum use allocations to encourage the expansion of emerging wireless communications services? Are there radio-frequency spectrum caps in operation? If so, what effect are these having on the market?


  26. 23.

    Are significant portions of your jurisdiction underserved? If so, is there a focus on rural expansion? Are there mandatory requirements for rural or universal service (including contributions to fund or subsidise the cost of expanding telecoms services to remote, underserved or high-cost areas)?


  27. 24.

    Briefly describe the importance of social media in your jurisdiction? Has your jurisdiction addressed net neutrality?


  28. 25.

    Provide an overview of privacy protection, cybersecurity and liability for unauthorised or illegal activity online as applicable to common carriers, web hosts and end users.


  29. 26.

    Is there any domestic regulation or censorship of internet or other media content? Are there any privacy agencies or regulators or set procedures, or it is largely self-regulated? Are there particular laws that impose liability on operators, or conversely act as a "liability shield", for such operators?


  30. Foreign participation

  31. 27.

    Who are the most significant foreign participants in your country in the telecoms sector?


  32. 28.

    Describe any legal limitations on the types of companies that can enter into telecoms transactions or possess telecoms licences. Are there any local ownership requirements or restrictions on foreign investment in telecoms activities? Are there any significant regulations regarding domestic participation or labour laws relating to foreign workers?


  33. 29.

    Are there any limitations on direct or indirect foreign investment or ownership in the telecoms sector? Are there differing procedures for foreign investors or owners depending on the type of foreign owner or investor?


  34. 30.

    How are national concerns in the telecoms sector addressed? Are there restrictions on the nationality of equipment manufacturers or network systems providers?


  35. Financing and bankruptcy

  36. 31.

    What types of financial investors are most active in the telecoms market in your jurisdiction? Has there been a shift in the sources of funding over recent years due to economic uncertainty or otherwise? Where do you expect to see the bulk of financing come from in the next 12 months?


  37. 32.

    Is there any public funding of infrastructure by local or foreign export credit agencies or development financing institutions? How does this mesh with private funding?


  38. 33.

    Briefly describe any legal considerations of particular importance in your jurisdiction in connection with a cross-border financing of telecoms companies.


  39. 34.

    What conditions precedent would you recommend a lender include in their loan documentation?


  40. 35.

    What is the most common method for a lender to take collateral security in a telecoms acquisition or general-purpose financing? For example, are lenders able to establish a security interest in (or obtain a pledge of) licences or authorisations granted to a domestic telecoms system operator? Are there methods of granting security that are more beneficial?


  41. 36.

    Describe any limits on, or requirements with respect to, a lender’s ability to take a valid and enforceable security interest in telecoms assets or licences. How would such liens be perfected (if at all) to ensure a lender’s priority with respect to those assets?


  42. 37.

    Are there any significant restrictions that may impact the timing and value of enforcement with respect to security interests in telecoms assets or licences – such as a requirement for a public auction or the availability of court blocking procedures to other creditors or the company (or its trustee in bankruptcy) or additional regulatory approvals associated with enforcement?


  43. 38.

    Are there any bankruptcy rules in your jurisdiction with respect to the redistribution and sale of telecoms assets and licences?


Other chapters in Telecoms & Media

  • Mexico
    Rios Ferrer, Guillen-Llarena, Treviño y Rivera, SC
  • Paraguay
    Estudio Jurídico Parquet & Asociados (Parquet & Associates – Attorneys at Law)