Companies, which intend to provide services within the scope of electronic communication, are authorized by Information and Communication Technologies Agency ("ICTA"). This authorization is stipulated under the Authorization Regulation Regarding Electronic Communication Sector ("Authorization Regulation") which is based on Electronic Communication Law No. 5809.

According to the press release published by ICTA, most of the companies declare zero tax amounts and do not provide services, even though they are authorized by ICTA. ICTA also states that some companies are not located at their headquarters and that they do not fulfil their obligations to their customers, that there are approximately 650 companies which are currently authorized and that most of those companies are not providing services for years.

ICTA, based on the foregoing reasons, made the following amendments on the Authorization Regulation in order to protect the rights of the consumers:

  1. For authorization, the companies shall have a certain amount of capital. With this amendment, the companies will be prevented from pulling out from the market and providing low quality service to their members, or from failing to comply with their responsibilities towards the state institutions due to economic weakness.
  2. Before giving authorization, the companies shall be examined at their headquarters in order to confirm whether they comply with the conditions or not.
  3. The authorized companies will establish call centers in order for consumers to convey their problems.
  4. The companies which provide communication services and work in line with the regulations will be supported. This amendment is made for incentive purposes.
  5. The authorizations of the companies which do not comply with the regulations will be cancelled.

The Regulation Concerning the Amendment on the Authorization Regulation Regarding Electronic Communication Sector is published on the Official Gazette on June 11th, 2016 and entered into force at the same date.

Board Decisions of ICTA

In parallel with the Authorization Regulation, ICTA held two board decisions on March 31st, 2016 and June 10th, 2016.

  1. Some significant amendments made to notification form and application form regarding the right of use. The scope of the information and the documents requested from the companies is expanded. The companies which are authorized with unlimited right of use are obliged to submit the aforementioned documents before October 11th, 2016, whereas the companies which provide common use radio services are obliged to submit them before December 30th, 2016.

    The authorizations of the companies which do not submit those documents will be cancelled per se.
  2. The companies which currently provide GMPCS Mobile Telephone Services, infrastructure services, virtual mobile network services, Internet services, guidance services and satellite communication services shall establish the technical infrastructure in order to meet the requirements set out under several laws, including the Law No. 5651, until September 19th, 2016.

The companies which will be newly authorized on these services should establish the aforementioned technical infrastructure in two months following the date of authorization.

The authorizations of the companies which do not establish this technical infrastructure will be cancelled.

Regulation on Calling Line Identification

Regulation on Calling Line Identification which enters into force at the same time with The Regulation Concerning the Amendment on the Authorization Regulation Regarding Electronic Communication Sector also includes significant provisions which aim to reduce the number of consumer complaints.

  1. With this regulation trademark, name or slogan of a third party cannot be used as an SMS title. The messages which the sender cannot be identified (such as SMS with the title of "insurance", "bank", "cargo") cannot be sent. SMS messages shall only be sent with their own names, titles or trademarks of the senders.
  2. According to the press release of ICTA, one of the biggest issues regarding unauthorized commercial electronic messages is the determination of the company sending the message. With this new regulation, a code will be added to the end of the messages in order to identify the company. Accordingly, the fines will be imposed more effectively by the authorized authorities.
  3. The companies have 6 months to comply with this regulation.

The foregoing amendments aim at protecting the rights of the consumers and separating the authorized companies which are active from the non-active ones.

This article was first published in Legal Insights Quarterly by ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law in September 2016. A link to the full Legal Insight Quarterly may be found here.

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