April 07, 2008
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) today took the first step in the liberalization of the telecommunications market in Lebanon, issuing its first licenses since it was established one year ago. Under the Telecommunications Law, all existing licenses expired on 4 April 2008. The TRA today issued new licenses to operational data service providers (DSPs) and Internet service providers (ISPs). Each license has the same terms save for where some DSPs have the right to use radio frequency spectrum, where they are subject to additional terms and conditions, and except that - as before - the provision of data services is subject to certain revenue share obligations and frequency fees which do not apply to a provider offering only ISP services.
The new licenses allow the DSPs and ISPs each to enter the others' markets, thus increasing the potential for competition in the data and Internet markets, and allowing the market to begin to offer the potential of convergence between sectors. The expiry by law of their old licenses and issuance by the TRA today of these licenses marks an important stage in the transition of these providers from the old legal regime - where the licensees were previously under the tutelage of the Ministry of Telecommunications - to the regime under the Telecommunications Law by which the TRA is responsible for all licensing matters relating to these providers.
This first licensing represents only a small step towards the greater opening of the Lebanese telecommunications sector. The TRA is currently planning to introduce a new licensing regulation, and will launch a major licensing and regulatory framework for broadband later this year. The TRA anticipates that the DSPs and ISPs will participate in that process, and migrate to the new broadband regime. Their licenses are short term, interim licenses which will be valid until the broadband licenses are introduced.View ISP Interim License View DSP Interim License