Table 3-6: Foreign Telecommunications Ownership Restrictions in Selected Countries [3.4.2]

Country1

Restrictions

Australia

Once full privatization of the incumbent carrier, Telstra, is implemented, it will be subject to 35% limit on total foreign ownership and a 5% limit on individual foreign ownership. There is a legislative requirement that Telstra's chair and majority directors have to be Australian citizens and that the head office, base of operations and place of incorporation remain in Australia. Prior approval is required for foreign involvement in the establishment of new entrants to, or investment in the telecommunications sector.

Austria

None

Bangladesh

None

Belgium

None

Brazil

According to federal Decree Law No. 2.617 of July 1998, public telecommunications services must be majority owned by Brazilian entities, which means a 49% limit on foreign ownership.

Bhutan

None

Canada

Limit of 20% of voting shares in facilities based carrier with 80% of board required to be Canadian citizens. Foreigners are permitted to own not more than 46% of the voting shares of a telecommunications common carrier, including both direct holdings and indirect holdings through a holding company.

China

49% limit, and up to 50% for value-added services.

Czech Republic

None

Denmark

None

Finland

None

France

None

Germany

None

Greece

None

Hong Kong SAR

None

Hungary

None

Iceland

None

India

74%, with the remaining 26% owned by Indian citizens or companies.

Indonesia

35%

Ireland

None

Italy

None

Japan

No restrictions on individuals and corporations investing in the incumbent PTO(s) in Japan. However, foreign capital participation, direct and/or indirect, in NTT Corp. that holds all the shares of NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. is restricted less than one-third.

Jordan

None

South Korea

Foreign governments, foreign or domestic corporations with over 15% of its stock held by a foreign government or foreigners cannot hold more than 49% of a share issued by a facilities-based operator in Korea.

Luxembourg

None

Malaysia

30%, and permit >50% but has to be reduced after 3 years.

Maldives

None

Mexico

Concessions only granted to Mexican nationals. Foreign investment can be no greater than 49% except for cellular telephony services where permission is required from the Commission of Foreign Investment for a greater level of foreign participation.

Mongolia

None

Netherlands

None

New Zealand

No more than 49.9% of ownership in Telecom New Zealand. No restrictions on other operators.

Norway

None

Pakistan

None

Philippines

40%

Poland

None

Portugal

None

Singapore

49% on facilities-based operators

Slovak Republic

None

Spain

The right to operate networks and provide electronic communications services is reserved to residents of the European Union member states and foreign nationals when provided for by international agreements where Spain is a signatory party. The government may provide exceptions to the rule for all other natural and legal persons.

Sri Lanka

None

Sweden

None

Switzerland

None. Federal Government required to retain majority shareholding in Swisscom.

Taiwan

49%

Thailand

49%

Turkey

None

United Kingdom

None

United States

Not more than 20% directly, or 25% indirectly, in a U.S. broadcast, common carrier, or aeronautical radio station licence, although FCC may allow higher level of indirect ownership unless it is not in the public interest.

ENDNOTES

1 John Ure, FDI in Telecommunications Services in Asia, seminar on Services, FDI and Competitiveness in Asia, March 2004, OECD Communications Outlook 2005, and data compiled from TMG research.

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