Ofta eyes class licence for services resellers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2006, 12:00am

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) has proposed creating a class licence for telecommunications services resellers that do not own a network in a new regime covering all fixed, mobile and emerging telecommunications services such as internet telephony.

The latest proposal followed the first consultation in October 2004, when the watchdog suggested regulating only resellers that offer prepaid telecommunications services and those associated with a telecommunications licencee with a dominant market position.

The Ofta has wanted to regulate only prepaid services resellers, such as resellers of international direct dialing calling cards, as there had been cases where these resellers would abscond with customers' money without delivering any services.

Yesterday, it said it would propose introducing a single class licence that also covered contract telecommunications services providers and resellers associated with a non-dominant licencee in a bid to provide more regulatory certainty in the industry.

'The result will be a simple, light-handed, transparent and flexible licensing regime well suited and adaptable to the offer of telecommunications services in the ever-changing telecommunications market,' the Ofta wrote in a document.

It also proposed waiving any fees for the new licence.

To protect consumer rights, the licencees will be required to comply with the industry's codes of practice and the Ofta will have the power to investigate and impose sanctions against those in breach of the requirements.

An Ofta spokeswoman yesterday said PCCW Mobile, the telecommunications incumbent's 3G mobile arm, was a reseller of its 79 per cent-owned subsidiary, Sunday Communications.

The mobile operator is expected to be licensed because PCCW does not have a 3G licence itself and it was only its acquisition of Sunday last year that allowed it to offer 3G mobile services now.