Ecuador strengthens telecoms ministry, regulator powers with decree

5 Jan 2016

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has initiated by executive decree the ‘General Regulation of the Organic Telecommunications Law’ (28 December 2015), which confirms and strengthens the functions, powers and responsibilities of the sector’s policy-making and regulatory bodies which were originally established under the Organic Telecommunications Law in February 2015. Telesemana reports that under Executive Decree No. 864, the latest document defines the powers of the Ministry of Telecommunications & Information Society (Mintel) as the governing body issuing regulations and overseeing their implementation via the Agency for Regulation & Control of Telecommunications (Arcotel), alongside developing and approving plans for universal telecoms services, ‘Information Society’ and all other telecoms services. For its part, Arcotel grants all operating licences for the provision of telecoms services and the usage of spectrum. The conditions and deadlines for the award of frequencies are determined under the ‘Regulations for Granting Authorisation Certificates’, whilst the text also issues provisions on underground networks, competition regulation, rights of telecoms users and the establishment of a regime of sanctions in case of rule infringements.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Arcotel officially took over regulation of the telecoms sector on 4 March 2015, assuming the combined functions of the former regulatory authority Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel or National Telecoms Council) and that body’s former sister policy administrator, Secretaria Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Senatel or National Secretariat of Telecoms), as well as duties including spectrum monitoring/enforcement, type approval and statistical analysis which were previously allocated to Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Supertel or Suptel). Earlier, President Correa established Mintel via a decree of August 2009 to assume top-level policy-making responsibility in the sector, and the ministry took over ownership of incumbent telco Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) in January 2010.