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Research by Country/Region January 20, 2018  
Venezuela: Broadband Fixed Wireless Access

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A. CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICY GOVERNING ACCESS TO THE WORLDWIDE FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS band (3.4 to 3.7 GHz), LMDS (28-31 GHz), AND UNLICENSED BANDS

Broadband fixed wireless (BFW) services have been in use in Venezuela for a number of years and are being used as the backbone for other telecom services, for pay-tv, and for domestic and international data and voice transmission. Most are based on microwave and VSAT and use almost exclusively U.S.-made equipment. There are several U.S carriers such as Global 1, Sprint, and MCI, but BFW services are also being used as in-company telecom facilities to transmit, for instance, sales reports. A prime example is an oil company, which uses VSAT facilities at each of its many service stations to transmit internal memos to their headquarters.

B. DEMAND OR NEED FOR BROADBAND FIXED WIRELESS SERVICES

The popularity of BFW service began with a tremendous upswing in economic activity in the late 1980's for which the national telephone company, before its privatization, was not prepared and was unable to cope with. The telephone company was subsequently sold to a U.S. firm. At the same time (1990) cell phone companies appeared and now there are two U.S.-owned companies and one in Italian. The VSAT carrier is Panamsat but Intelsat is also being used as satellite carrier.

C. LICENSING

The government saw the need for regulations, therefore it created the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) by decree, in 1991. Conatel assigns frequency bands, authorizes and certifies any type of transmitting equipment for commercial or company use, regulates rates and tariffs, and licenses radio, TV and all other public service telecommunications facilities.

Conatel's regulations state that any transmissions facility, no matter the band, requires a license for its
operation. the equipment to be used must also be licensed. This license covers items such as power transmission, antenna configuration, the type of service, in addition to the frequencies. The equipment, if a new design, must be authorized for use by Conatel. There are no restrictions against foreign ownership except for radio and TV stations where foreign ownership is limited to 19.9%. Most BFW facilities used for data transmission abroad are owned by foreign or mixed companies. Many local companies, such as banks, utilize microwave transmissions for data transfers. While the local telephone company, now
owned by a u.s. company, has improved the reliability of its systems, there continue to be breakdowns. large local companies often prefer their own systems for data transmissions for which Conatel licenses are reportedly being given rather easily.

E. INTERCONNECTION TARIFFS

Interconnection of systems is subject to Conatel licensing and the fees, while negotiable, require Conatel
approval. The fee schedules for all Conatel actions reportedly are complicated and rather depend on the case. In addition to the initial transmission and operating licenses, there are yearly fees for the use of the spectrum and gain--these depend on the technical, operating and volume details of each case. Generally speaking, there are no BFW-specific regulations or policies.

I. CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES, AND IMPORT DUTIES

The import duties on any equipment used for broadband service is 15% for antennas and 5% for transmitters and receivers. all imports duties are on the cif value of shipment. Added to this there must be a 1% customs handling fee and a 16% value added tax. There are no import licenses or any other hindrances against imports of such equipment. The majority of broadband equipment is of U.S. origin although there is growing Japanese participation in this market. Venezuelan companies have made some inroads into
the antenna market.

RESPONSE INFORMATION

This response was prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Commercial Service in Caracas, Venezuela, in June 2003. For further clarification please contact:

Marianna Hines
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, Caracas
Marianna.Hines @mail.doc.gov

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