Within context of the NTRA keenness to support and enhance the Telecom sector and to protect the consumers’ rights, The NTRA has set new regulations for the promotional offers of the ADSL services.
The new regulations aim at the following:
• Guaranteeing companies obtain NTRA approval prior to announcing or launching promotional campaigns regarding ADSL services.
• Reducing complaints filed to the NTRA regarding ADSL promotional offers.
• Guaranteeing transparency of agreements with companies, whether approvals or rejections and with regard to imposing penalties on violators.
• Safeguarding consumers' rights with regards to ADSL service promotions
• Setting an organizational framework that fulfills rules of free competition and prevents dumping
The NTRA has agreed to permit all companies licensed to provide ADSL services to present promotional offers in light of the following terms and regulations:
First: General Regulations
1. Promotional offers must be presented within a clearly defined timeline.
2. Promotional offers must be at price rates lower than service rates set by the NTRA.
3. Promotional offers must not affect the quality of ADSL service or jeopardize consumers' rights.
4. Promotional offers must not violate rules of free competition.
5. Companies can present a maximum of five (5) promotional packages per year, valid for a maximum total of 30 days per year.
6. Promotional offers must be presented in accordance with terms and regulations outlined in the second clause.
7. Promotional offers pertaining to any commodities other than ADSL are excluded from the timeline outlined in the second clause, given the NTRA will respond to the company's request via registered mail within two months from receiving the application. If the NTRA does not respond to the company application within the described period, this automatically connotes its approval of the offers, and the NTRA reserves the right not to include these offers within the maximum of five promotion packages totaling 30 days per year, according to the NTRA's judgment.
8. The following promotion packages are excluded from the regulations and procedures outlined in the second clause, and are not included within the maximum of five promotion packages totaling 30 days per year, provided companies abide by the following rules:
a) Granting subscribers a maximum of one month free subscription in case of prepaid annual subscription.
b) Presenting lottery offers in accordance with the following rules:
1) Informing the NTRA with lottery details in advance and before announcing the package.
2) Organizing the lottery no more than twice per year.
3) Selecting a maximum of three (3) winners per lottery.
9. The NTRA's approval of any promotional packages does not exempt companies from obtaining all legal and administrative approvals necessary to present the service from remaining concerned agencies.
10. Promotional packages must be presented directly by licensed companies or via their distributors in accordance with contracts or agreements corroborating their affiliation. In all cases, the company is held liable before the NTRA and/or users.
11. In case that licensed companies present any promotional offers via authorized distributors, the following must be followed:
a) Signing contracts with company distributors according to a unified model authorized and approved by the NTRA.
b) Periodically notifying the NTRA with the list of company distributors and any introduced amendments upon the list.
c) Contracts signed with distributors must not violate terms and regulations in effect.
d) Contracts signed with users must be issued and endorsed by the provided companies.
Second: Rules and procedures governing promotional packages:
Companies licensed to provide ADSL services must obtain the necessary written approval from the NTRA prior to presenting their promotional offers, and must abide by the following:
1. The company must submit a written application addressed to the head of the NTRA or the person he/ she authorizes, expressing its desire to launch a promotional offer, including all details of the proposed package.
2. The application must be addressed to the NTRA during official working dates and hours at its headquarters at the Smart Village.
3. The application must be sent to the NTRA seven (7) working days prior to the date selected by the company to announce the launch of the packages.
4. The application must include all details regarding the promotional packages including their start and termination dates.
The NTRA will respond to the company application within three working days from the date of receipt via registered mail, and the application is automatically approved if a response is not received from the NTRA during this period.
In all cases, the company must abide by the details of the offer presented to and endorsed by the NTRA, and in the event the package is altered a new approval is necessary from the NTRA prior to amending or adjusting the promotional package.
Third: Correcting Violations:
In the event any given company violates any of the above regulations, it must undertake the following:
1. Enact the NTRA's decision to halt the faulty promotional offer within 48 hours from the date of its notification with the suspension decision.
2. Publicizing the suspension using identical means and space allocated to the faulty promotion, along with any corrections in accordance with rules stipulated by the NTRA. In all cases, violating companies must commit themselves to correcting committed violations.
Fourth: Punishments and Penalties
In the event any of the aforementioned regulations is breached, penalties stipulated by the NTRA will be imposed upon the violators.
These regulations set by the NTRA aim at safeguarding free competition and consumers’ rights. In accordance with article #27 of Telecom Law #10/2003 the board of the NTRA retains the right to approve the operation or provision of communications services within a clearly defined period at rates lower than standard, as the board also reserves the right to revoke its approval in the event competition codes or service quality are violated.