On 11 April 2012 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted new "Rules for the provision of telecommunication services" (the "Telecom Rules"), which replace existing legislation dating back to 2005 and discipline telephone (both mobile and landline), radio, broadcasting, television and telegraphic services.
The Telecom Rules lay down the legal, economic and organisational basis for the telecommunication sector in Ukraine and determine the relationship among market players, (such as communication enterprises, associations, institutions and organisations), public bodies/regulators and consumers.
The new Telecom Rules, unlike the previous ones, more specifically focus on the relationship between the operators of telecom services and the consumers. The most significant changes introduced include:
- The establishment of tariff units for calculating the volume of services rendered. Thus, in relation to voice services, tariff units (depending on the operator's tariff plan) must be either seconds or minutes; with regard to data transmission services, tariff units must be either kilobytes or megabytes;
- The introduction of uniform requirements (such as mandatory terms of contract, covering the key rights and obligations of the parties) across all telecommunication services, irrespective of their type and/or delivery mode;
- The abolition of the distinction between essential and supplemental telecommunication services;
- A commitment to the protection of consumers' rights, through the imposition of obligations and responsibilities on the telecom operators providing telecommunication services to consumers;
- A restriction on the operators' ability to change tariff plans unilaterally. In particular, operators must specify the exact period during which the tariffs will remain unchanged and, upon the expiry of such period, notify each customer of any intended changes to the tariff plan; operators must then give consumers the option to accept or refuse the new tariff, as well as the continued provision of the telecom service(s), which should not be rendered by the operator unless and until the consumer has provided his/her consent to the new tariff;
- The introduction of the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communication and Informatisation, which is now the body in charge of monitoring the quality of the telecommunication services rendered by operators;
The Telecom Rules came into effect on 23 April 2012, upon their promulgation.
Further reading: Resolution No 295 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Full text of the Telecom Rules (in Ukrainian) available at: http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/295-2012-%D0%BF
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The original publication date for this article was 27/06/2012.