WHEREAS the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is, pursuant to Telecommunication Regulation Law No. 10 of 2003, the only national authority competent to regulate the telecommunications sector and grant licenses and permits to companies or corporations in the Arab Republic of Egypt (A.R.E.) in compliance with the most advanced technological means, and in a way that guarantees the satisfaction of the needs of the users at the most affordable prices, based on free and fair competition among service providers in a transparent and non-discriminatory basis and in a manner that protects the users’ rights;
WHEREAS the NTRA intends to fulfill its objectives set forth in the Telecommunication Regulation Law No. 10 of 2003, especially those related to consumer rights protection, with the aim of boosting and fair competition between companies licensed to provide same services, setting a balance between their interests and the rights of their consumers.
Whereas, the NTRA issued the General Rules and Conditions for Consumers’ Rights Protection and owing to the huge advancements and developments of various telecom technologies and services provided to the public;
Therefore, the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has decided to update, develop and issue the General Rules for Consumers’ Rights Protection so that they could be included in internet service contracts entered by ISPs as follows:
- The NTRA: means the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) established as per the provisions of the Telecom Regulation Law No. 10 of 2003.
- Service Provider: means the company licensed by the NTRA to provide internet services in Egypt.
- The subscriber: means a natural or legal person that entered into a contract with the service provider and benefits from the service and is legally liable for contracting.
- The user: means any natural or legal person using or benefiting from the internet services.
- Force Majeure: means any event, condition, incidence or a number of incidences that could not be overcome nor foreseen. Events of force majeure are events beyond the control of the Licensor and Licensee and cause or result in the non-performance of their obligations set forth in the license granted to the service provider or the gross hindrance of their execution. These events of force majeure include but not limited to: wars, civil unrest, nuclear radiation, floods and torrents).
Firstly: General Rules for the Protection of the Rights of The Users of Internet Services in Egypt:
Without prejudice to the provisions of the Telecom Law No. 10 of 2003 on the regulation of telecommunications and licenses issued by the NTRA to companies operating in Egypt and licensed to provide internet services in Egypt, the decisions issued by the NTRA on the protection of users’ rights are considered an integral part of these rules and are complementary to them.
The subscribers will enter into contracts with the licensed service providers, either directly or through the authorized distributors, according to the form previously approved and adopted by the NTRA, accompanied with a statement detailing the subscriber's personal data and the basic terms and conditions of the service provided.
The licensed companies shall submit a proposal of a service provision contract form that includes all the terms and conditions set forth in these “General Rules and Conditions” to the NTRA for checking, review and approval. The NTRA should give it back to them with remarks and observations, if any, or notify the licensed company that the form is invalid and unapproved to be re-examined by it.
In the event that NTRA does not accept the proposed service provision contract form, it shall notify the licensed company in writing of detailed reasons for non-acceptance so that it may review these reasons and give it back thereto in accordance with NTRA's opinion and remarks.
In case the licensed companies intend to make amendments to a contract form previously approved by NTRA, they should refer it to NTRA to obtain its prior written approval of such amendments as per the same procedures pursued in the above-mentioned clauses.
The companies are obligated not to reserve a line for the customer except after obtaining the latter’s written consent or through a recorded voice call with him provided that the subscriber's call is from the same line number which he intends to subscribe to or via an e-request to be submitted online to the official website of the service provider and registered in the company’s database or by a call from the customer’s mobile phone. In all cases, the customer's personal ID and national number should be registered.
The licensed companies are obligated to create a database that includes the data of all subscribers. It should be continuously updated and kept in the company's database. The customers’ transactions made with the company should be kept by the company for at least one calendar year. All data should be put at the disposal of NTRA or its authorized representative at any time to review, have access to and take any data deemed necessary by the NTRA. This will take place within the framework of the legal rules and laws enforceable in Egypt.
The terms and conditions of the contract entered between the company and the subscribers should be divided into three sections:
- General provisions.
- The company's obligations.
- The subscriber’s obligations.
The company shall publish a copy of the service provision contract approved by the NTRA on the home page of its official website in a way easily accessible to the user.
In the event that any of the licensed ISPs violates the rules and regulations issued by the NTRA or fails to comply with the terms and conditions of service provision contract, the list of penalties issued by the NTRA will be imposed on the violating company.
Secondly: the rules and conditions that must be met in contracts concluded between =licensed ISPs and subscribers:
The companies are obligated to provide a copy of the contract to the customer in the Arabic language. It should include all the agreed-upon terms and conditions, and must be written in a clear font so that the user can read the contract easily (for example, the fomnt used should be Simplified Arabic - font size: 10 or Traditional Arabic - font size: 12).
The subscriber with whom the contract is entered must be over 18 years of age to be eligible to subscribe to consumer services.
The contract is personal in nature and the service may not be transferred or re-sold to third parties without obtaining the prior approval of the licensed company in a way that does not contradict with Telecom Regulation Law No. 10 of 2003.
The type of service(s) to be provided and mentioned in the service contract should be detrmined, with the specifications, charges and payment methods in a way that does not contradict with the license issued to the company by the NTRA
The term of the contract and any renewable term(s) should be mentioned clearly with the cases in which the con.
The terms of payment approved by the NTRA, should be mentioned including the administrative expenses, taxes and any other charges.
The licensed companies’ commitment to issue a detailed invoice in case the subscriber intends to issue such invoice for the service or services that can be invoiced according to the type of service. This invoice should include the details of the service charges in terms of value, the service duration and the payment allowance period. The invoice may be issued as a hard or e-copy at no cost.
The procedures for notifying the customer upon the commencement of the service provision, provided that the notification states “the service start date" via e-mail at the e-mail address specified by the "subscriber". In addition, he should be notified by any other means such as, by sending him an SMS on his mobile phone or by fax or telephone call.
A clause should be included in the contract, obligating the company to refund the amount paid by the customer upon entering a contract therewith in case the company fails to install the line within two weeks in a maximum in case there are causes the company is liable for and four weeks in case the causes are beyond the company’s control.
The rights and obligations of the subscriber and the licensed company should be determined in case of violation of the contract concluded between them or in the event of termination of the contract before the expiry of its term or abolition of contract.
A clause should be included obligating the company, in case of the subscriber’s failure to pay any amounts due to him, to send the latter a notice to pay the due payments. Such notice should be served with an acknowledgement of receipt or through any other means such as a text message (SMS) proving that the subscriber was informed that the service will be disconnected from the line in dispute. It should state that in case of failure to pay the payable amounts within one week from the date of notice, the company will be entitled to discontinue the service on line with the procedures provided for in the contract.
In case of cancellation of the service at the customer’s request during the contract term, the company shall cancel the service at his request within five working days in a maximum from the date of submittal of the request to the company after settling the financial obligations with the company without any additional expenses.
The procedures to be taken should be mentioned in the contract, with the required fees in case the service is suspended at the customer’s request.
The procedures and remedies that should be taken in case the service is interrupted or discontinued as a result of malfunctions or network maintenance should be stated clearly. The licensed company should determine the period required for troubleshooting the malfunction.
The cases in which the client will be compensated in case the malfunction continues for a period longer than that specified by the company in the contract and approved by the NTRA. This does not include the malfunctions resulting from the company licensed to provide the infrastructure in accordance with the Subscribers Compensation Regulation approved by the NTRA.
A clause should be included in the contract obligating the licensed company to compensate the clients affected by the interruption of service resulting from a collective malfunction in case it is due to causes the licensed company is liable for. In such case, the customer should be exempted from paying the subscription fees for the period of service interruption or as determined by the NTRA and the licensed companies without prejudice to the emergency conditions, force majeure and the standards setr forth in the license granted to the company by the NTRA.
The licensed companies are obligated to provide all services licensed by the NTRA at a level of performance that conforms to the internationally-recognized standards and paramters and the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It should also adhere to the specifications, standards and verification mechanisms and parameters issued by the NTRA related to the quality of service as stipulated in the license in addition to any updates or developments made by the NTRA. The company shall submit periodic reports proving its abidance by such parameters and determinants.
The licensed companies are obligated to have trained personnel to receive the users’ inquiries and complaints received by the NTRA and respond to them as soon as possible, as determined by the NTRA and pursuant to the regulations issued in this regard. They should also establish a system that reduces the frequency of complaints related to the provison and quality of services.
A clause should be included in the contract obligating the licensed company not to modify the monthly subscription except after obtaining the NTRA’s prior written approval. The customer should be notified before the commencement of the new accounting period in case the agreed-upon tariff is increased.
The methods of complaints or disputes resolution should be determined in the contract. It should mention the customer’s right to seek recourse to the NTRA in case the dispute is not resolved.
A clause should be included in the contract stating the maintenance systems of the licensed company as it is obligated to provide a customer service system that receives and resolves customer’s complaints round-the-clock seven days a week.
A special number should be assigned to receive customers’ complaints, not to mention the NTRA’s numbers assigned to receive their complaints in case the licensed company fails to respond to any of them. This should be mentioned as follows "In case the complaint or problem cannot be resolved, kindly call NTRA on (155) and the toll-free number 08003330333".
The licensed companies shall maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the service-related information and documents they receive, whatever they are, and not to disclose them to third except at the request of the judicial authorities, and as per the provisons of law and license issued by the NTRA thereto.
The contract should indicate that it is its approved by the NTRA.