The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is regulated by Law no. 2 of the Emirate of Dubai, also known as the Electronic Transaction and Commerce Law. At the national level, the Federal Law no. 3, also known as the Telecom Law, is the main legal framework in the ICT sector. The main regulatory body in the telecommunication sector in the UAE is the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) which has an office in Dubai, therefore facilitating the incorporation procedure for ICT companies in the Emirate. The Telecommunication Regulation Authority supports telecommunication companies in Dubai by providing them the appropriate infrastructure and licensing options.
With a vast knowledge in the business incorporation field, our Dubai company formation agents can help foreign investors who want to set up telecom businesses in this Emirate.
The Telecom Law of Dubai
The main law which provides for the activities conducted by companies in the UAE is the Telecommunications Act which provides for a broad specter of services that can be provided. The law covers services related to the transmission, broadcasting, switching or receiving of information via one ore more of the following telecommunications means:
- wired and wireless voice systems;
- radio and TV broadcasting systems;
- other visual and sound systems.
The law also provides for the services related to the installation, maintenance, repair or replacement of devices used for broadcasting services.
In 2018, the Dubai Telecommunications Regulatory Authority also issued new regulations which provide for the Internet of Things (IoT) as a measure of encouraging the development of companies in the telecom field.
It is useful to know that only companies registered under the Company Law can apply for telecom licenses in Dubai, as such permits not available for individuals.
Our company registration consultants in Dubai can help foreign investors who want to set up telecom companies and obtain specific licenses in accordance with their objectives.
How to register a company in the telecom sector in Dubai
As mentioned above, only legal entities are allowed to apply for telecom licenses in Dubai, therefore the company incorporation procedure is mandatory before applying for such a business permit. If for mainland companies a local partner is required, it is good to know that foreign investors can also set up telecom companies in Dubai free zones. In these special economic areas, there is no need for a sponsor.
No matter the type of company one wants to open, here are the main steps to complete:
- the reservation of the company name with the Department of Economic Development in Dubai;
- drafting and notarizing the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association which must have as object of activity telecommunications services;
- submit the documents with the Trade Registrar in Dubai or the chosen free zone authority;
- registration with the tax authorities in Dubai and obtaining the VAT number as required by the new regulations;
- applying for the specific telecom license with the Dubai Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
It should be noted that no matter if the telecom company operates in mainland Dubai or one of the free zones, the license is obtained with the TRA.
What are the main licensing options for telecom companies in Dubai?
Telecom licenses are divided into two categories: individual and class licenses. These are further divided into sub-categories. Individual licenses are issued for services that require little resources of spectrum and numbers and are usually issued for small companies. Class licenses are usually issued to Dubai companies serving large categories of public. The advantage of class telecom licenses is that they require less supervision from the TRA.
Investors opening companies in the telecom sector in Dubai may apply for one of the following licenses:
- broadcasting TV license,
- broadcasting radio license,
- publishing license.
After the company incorporation procedure has been completed, an application for the telecom license must be submitted. Our company formation agents in Dubai may assist you with the incorporation procedure.
You can rely on us for assistance in opening a telecom company in Dubai.
You can also find out from the video below how to set up a telecom business in Dubai:
The radio spectrum authorization for Dubai telecom companies
All telecom companies providing ICT services must obtain a radio spectrum license from the Telecommunication Regulation Authority which will allow the telecom operator to use certain radio frequencies and wireless equipment, according to certain terms and conditions. All telecom licenses in Dubai are issued by the Ministry of Communications based on the TRA application.
Dubai companies may also apply for temporary licenses with a 90-days validity period for experimental or research purposes. Otherwise, the radio spectrum license has a one-year validity period. All licensing applications are subject to a non-refundable fee.
Specifically, companies applying for a radio spectrum license in Dubai may provide the following services:
- public land mobile radio services,
- paging services,
- point-to-point or fixed services,
- wireless and broadband internet services,
- wireless local area networks,
- aeronautical and maritime radio services,
- satellite services.
The most sought destination for telecommunication services providers is Dubai Internet City Free Zone in which foreign investors will benefit from numerous advantages upon the registration of a company.
Documents required to obtain a telecom license in Dubai
The following documents need to be filed with the Dubai Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in order to obtain a telecom license:
- proof of meeting the eligibility criteria (in Dubai, only UAE citizens are allowed to register such companies in partnership with foreign investors);
- certified copies of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association;
- information about the shareholding structure of the company;
- information about the management of the company, including relevant experience in the telecom field;
- information about the type of networks to be operated and services to be provided;
- information about the spectrum or numbers to be requested;
- a presentation of the benefits to the UAE economy and proof of payment of the licensing fee.
Our company formation representatives in Dubai can help with the preparation of the documents to be filed for meeting the licensing requirements when opening a telecom company.
Why start a telecom business in Dubai?
Ever since its establishment in 2003, the TRA has worked towards the development of a modern telecommunication infrastructure which culminated with the creation of the Dubai Smart City Initiative, which promotes e-government services.
According to the TRA, in 2019:
- 32% of the UAE population was represented by young persons aged 25 to 34 which generated an increase in the profits of telecom companies;
- the country relies on 2,13 million fixed-line services subscribers;
- also, there more than 17 million mobile services subscribers in the UAE;
- the number of internet subscribers reached 1,1 million in 2019.
For details about licensing requirements for telecom companies, please contact our Dubai company registration agents.