Saudi Arabia -- General Authorization Framework

This Practice Note describes the regulatory framework governing general authorizations in Saudi Arabia.

Article 11.4 of Chapter Two of the Telecom Bylaws of Saudi Arabia provides that class licences shall be issued to authorize more than one service provider of the same class to provide telecommunications services or operate telecommunications networks, subject to certain restrictions.  Article 11.4 further stipulates that all class licences must impose identical conditions on all licensees in the same class of service providers authorized by the licence. 

According to Article 11.4, there are two types of class licences, Type A and Type B; however, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the Saudi regulator, has the power to establish additional types of class licences.  The CITC has the authority to limit the number of Type A licensees and to establish competitive or other qualification and licensing procedures for the issuance of Type A class licences.  The opposite is true for Type B class licences: the CITC cannot limit the number of Type B class licences issued, nor can it require any competitive or other qualification and licensing procedures other than the filing of a simple registration form for the issuance of Type B class licences.  The registration form for Type B class licences may only require the applicant to provide its name, address, a description of the services it will provide and other basic service information.  Licence applicants must file a registration with the CITC at least 30 days prior to the commencement of their services.

Article 11.5 of Chapter 2 of the Telecom Bylaws provides that, unless the CITC determines otherwise, the following services and networks require a Type A class licence: national and international voice telephone resale services; VSAT satellite services; public pay telephone services; radio paging services; temporary network services; and any other service or network that the CITC determines does not require an individual licence. Article 11.6 states that, unless the CITC determines otherwise, the following services and networks require a Type B class licence: ISP services; value-added network services; GMPCS services; Public Call Office (PCO) services; and any other service or network that the CITC decides should require a Type B class licence.  Service providers are eligible to operate under more than one licence.

In order to obtain a class licence, applicants must file the required materials for registration with the CITC.  The required materials include (but may not be limited to): the application form; the licence fee; a bank guarantee; an approved valid copy of the Commercial Registration certificate from the Commercial Registry; and an approved copy of the authorized signatory’s official ID card.  The CITC is required to provide reasons for a refusal to accept a registration for a class licence to the unsuccessful applicant upon request.

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