Tanzania – Authorizations in the Converged Licensing Framework

This Practice Note provides information about the types of authorizations in the Tanzanian Converged Licensing Framework (CLF).  It also provides some recent information about the number of authorizations issued by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) under the CLF.

The CLF, which was introduced in Tanzania in 2005, features four main categories of authorizations: Network Facility Licence (NF); Network Service Licence (NS); Application Service Licence (AS); and Content Service Licence (CS).  A copy of each form of licence can be accessed through the links below.  The application form for these licences is also linked below.

The NS Licence authorizes its holder to install, own, control, and provide access to electronic communications facilities to other licensed operators on a commercial basis.  The “electronic communications facilities” covered by the NS Licence includes facilities such as fixed links, radio communications transmitters, satellite stations, submarine cables, fibre and copper cables, towers, switches, etc..

The NS Licence authorizes licensees to operate and to maintain public electronic communications networks with various technologies that involve intelligent network platform signalling control, traffic distribution switching translation and quality of services control.  NS Licensees may use technologies such as CDMA, GSM, WCDMA, WLL, and ASDL.  The types of services that an NS Licensee may provide include, for example, mobile services, fixed lines services, bandwidth services and broadcasting distribution services.

The provision of electronic communications services to end users requires an AS Licence.  AS Licensees may provide services to end users through the establishment and operation of private facilities and networks or through the procurement and resale of services obtained from licensed FS and/or NS service providers.  AS Licensees may provide services such as Internet access, virtual mobile services, payphone services, fixed services, and mobile services, in addition to other ICT services to end users.

CS Licensees are authorized to provide content services to end users such as satellite broadcasting, broadcasting terrestrial free to air TV, terrestrial radio broadcasting, subscription TV services, as well as other broadcasting services.  Like AS Licensees, holders of a CS Licence may use their own facilities and networks to provide content services or they may procure and resell the services of other licensed FS and/or NS service providers.

The four authorization categories in the CLF are further divided into four geographic market segments.  The four market segment sub-categories are:

            --International market segment: Licensees are authorized to provide services from within Tanzania to the international market.

            --National market segment: Licensees are authorized to provide services nationwide. 

            --Regional market segment: Licensees are authorized to provide services in an administrative region.

            --District market segment: Licensees are authorized to provide services in an administrative district.

There are three broad types of authorizations in the CLF: individual authorizations, class licences, and exempt licences.   Individual authorizations include authorizations for services that have a major economic and social impact in Tanzania and that therefore trigger higher regulatory obligations.  These authorizations are issued through competitive processes at present.  Most NF, NS, and CS Licences are individual authorizations.

Class Licences are authorizations for services that have lesser economic and social significance.  Class Licences may be issued unconditionally.  AS Licences are Class Licences.  Exempt licences are authorizations that only require registration with the TCRA.

Applicants for authorizations in the CLF must indicate what category of authorization and what market segment sub-category of authorization they are seeking in their applications.  Application fees, initial licensing fees, and annual royalty fees differ, based on both the category and market segment sub-category of authorization.  Moreover, the term of authorization and the type of authorization vary depending on the authorization’s category and sub-category.  For further details, see “Tanzania – Schedule of Licence Categories and Fees”; a link to this document is set out below.

As of February 2008, there were 140 licensed operators in the country.  This includes 11 NF licensees operating at the national level, 48 AS licensees; and 70 CS licensees operating in the 26 regions of Tanzania.   

The division of authorizations into service categories and market segmentations appears to have facilitated entry into the ICT sector in Tanzania, particularly for smaller operators.  Application fees are significantly lower for authorizations in smaller geographic market segments.  For example, the application fee for an NF Licence to serve the international market segment is US 10,000 compared with a fee of US 1,000 to serve a regional market segment and US 50 to serve a district market segment. 

Initial licensing fees for district and regional market segments are also significant lower than the fees for international and national market segments.  For example, The NS initial licensing fee for the district market segment is US 1,000 and, for the regional market segment, approximately US 23,100.  By contrast, the NS initial licensing fee for the national level market segment is US 600,000, while the fee for the international market segment is US 300,000.     

In terms of service categories, AS Licence applicants are subject to the lowest application fees and initial licensing fees.  Indeed, there is a large variance between the fees imposed on AS Licence applicants and the fees imposed on NF, NS, and CS Licence applicants.  NF, NS, and CS Licence applicants are subject to application fees as much as 100x higher than the fees applicable to AS Licence applicants.  Moreover, the initial licensing fees imposed on NF, NS, and CS Licence applicants are up to 600x higher than the fees applicable to AS Licence applicants.  It is also easier to obtain AS Licences, as these Licences fall within the category of a class licence whereas most NF, NS, and CS Licences are Individual Authorizations.

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