The telecommunications sector in the State of Qatar is regulated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The country's primary service provider Ooredoo is a state-owned company that is also responsible for building much of the country's telecom infrastructure. The private company Vodafone also operates within Qatar under the Telecommunications Law.
The Telecommunications Law applies to all persons, corporations, government entities and public authorities. However, it does not apply to broadcasters, the content of Internet Protocol telecommunications, the Armed Forces and Ministry of the Interior, or security bodies, which are subject to other laws.
There are three classes of telecom licenses in Qatar:
- Radio Spectrum
It is illegal to engage in public telecom without a license.
The primary objectives of Qatar's Telecom Law include:
- Ensure the telecom sector meets international rules and regulations.
- Facilitate the consolidation of national, social and economic development.
- Encourage competition and advanced information technology.
- Safeguard customer benefits by addressing anti-competition practices through fair, standard, non-discriminatory and transparent licensing systems.
You can also check Law No. 17 of 2017 Amending the Telecommunications Law Promulgated by Law No. 34 of 2006.
Telecom offences and their attendant penalties are found in Chapter 16 of the Telecom Law. Offences outlined include:
- Deliberate destruction of telecom infrastructure.
- Use of telecom facilities without pay.
- Penetration of security measures or wiretapping into telecom services that are not meant for public use.
- Damage on the operation of any telecom network.
- Use of telecom network for purposes of irritating or offending any person.
- Import or manufacturing of telecom equipment for the purpose of marketing it.
- Possession, installation or operation of any unauthorized radio telecom equipment.
- Divulgence of information about a telecom institution leading to unfair competition.
Penalties for these and other offences range in imprisonment and monetary fine.
The Executive Regulation of the Telecommunications Law of Qatar No. (1) of 2009 forbids service providers from charging customers for services other than what is outlined in customer orders, agreed service terms or other written customer directions.
Bills issued by service providers must be:
- In easy and simple format.
- Issued at least once every three months (free of charge).
- In paper form, or electronic form if the customer consents to it.
- Providing accurate information in terms of the services provided, amounts owed, incurred tariffs, lengths or calls or other measures of usage.
The law mandates telecom companies to take all necessary measures to protect the confidentiality of customer communications and information. However, as it is necessary and exceptional case, it does not prohibit competent government entities from accessing this information.
You can also check the Decree Law No. 14 of 2011 Amending Certain Provisions of Law No. 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection as well as consumer's complaint process at the Communications Regulatory Authority, in case local telecommunications companies have not resolved your complaints.