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Lebanon - Premium SMS, Short Code Requirements

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The regulations in Lebanon caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, that includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate ServicesShort Codes, WAP Billing and Operator Billing.


Regulator

ministry-information-logo.jpg           Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications

The Government of Lebanon has adopted a telecommunications policy that aims to transform the telecommunications sector in Lebanon from a state-owned fixed monopoly to a competitive market, open to private participation. 

[source]

 

Axw1P.pngRepublic of Lebanon Telecommunications Regulatory Authority 

Issuing appropriate regulations forms a major pillar of the TRA’s legal mandate to organize and develop the telecommunications market in Lebanon to promote fair competition and ensure a healthy environment. All TRA regulations are issued after a public consultation process. 

[source]

 

Carriers

alfa.jpg Alfa

Alfa is the brand name of the Lebanese mobile network managed by "Orascom Telecom Holding" (OTH) since February 2009. Alfa capitalizes on Orascom Telecom wide experience and expertise in the telecom field in order to deliver a global and professional solution for the GSM sector in Lebanon. Alfa has over 1.4 million subscribers.

[source]

 

MTC-lebanon.gifMTC 

Zain Group is a mobile telecommunications company founded in 1983 in Kuwait as MTC or Mobile Telecommunications Company, and was later rebranded to Zain in 2007. Zain has commercial presence in 7 countries across Africa and the Middle East with about 37.6 million customers as of March 31, 2011. It employs 6000 people.

[source]

 

Market Statistics 

Summary

Lebanon’s telecom's market holds a unique position in the Middle East given the level of government involvement. While most incumbents in the region are government owned, within Lebanon government ownership extends to the country’s two mobile operators. Privatisation seems unlikely for some time given the telecom's sector is a significant generator of government revenue. However this same structure has fostered a lack of political will to make the changes necessary to free up the market in order for it to reach its potential. Consequently, despite a higher GDP per capita, Lebanon languishes well behind neighbouring Jordan in ITC development, with the inevitable consequences of lower economic and social outcomes than would otherwise be the case.

[source]

 

Geography
Area: Total: 10,400 sq km Land: 10,230 sq km Water: 170 sq km
Cities: BEIRUT (capital) 1.909 million (2009)
Terrain: Narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows

 

People
Nationality: Noun: Lebanese (singular and plural) Adjective: Lebanese
Population: 4,143,101 (July 2011 est.)
Annual population growth rate: 0.244% (2011 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Flag: flag_lebanon.gif

 

Government
Type: Republic
Independence: 22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Constitution: 23 May 1926
Branches: Chief of state: President Michel SULAYMAN; head of government: Prime Minister Najib MIQATI, Deputy Prime Minister Samir MOQBIL; cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly
Political parties: 14 March Coalition: Democratic Left; Democratic Renewal Movement; Future Movement Bloc; Kataeb Party; Lebanese Forces; Tripoli Independent Bloc; 8 March Coalition: Development and Resistance Bloc; Free Patriotic Movement; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc; Nasserite Popular Movement; Popular Bloc; Syrian Ba'th Party; Syrian Social Nationalist Party; Tashnaq; Independent: Democratic Gathering Bloc; Metn Bloc
Suffrage: 21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education; excludes military personnel

Economy
Nominal GDP: $59.37 billion (2010 est.)
GDP per capita: $14,400 (2010 est.)
Annual GDP growth rate: 7.5% (2010 est.)
Natural resources: Limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Agriculture: Citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Industry: Banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Trade: Export - Syria 26.8%, UAE 13.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, Turkey 5.2%, Qatar 4.1%, Switzerland 4% (2010) Import - US 10.4%, Syria 10.3%, Italy 7.6%, China 7.5%, France 6.9%, Ukraine 5.5%, Germany 5.3% (2010)

[source]

 

Market Growth

General region↓ Total number of Internet users (thousands)↓ Internet Users per 100 inhab.↓ Total population (thousands)↓ GDP per capita↓ GDP total (thousands)↓ Mobile subscibers per 100 inhab.↓ Total number of mobile subscribers (thousands)↓
Middle East 950 23.7 4,224 $15557 $61581000 36.1 1370
[source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source]

 

Currency

The Lebanese pound (sign: £ or L£; Arabic: lira; French: livre; ISO 4217: LBP) is the currency unit of Lebanon. It is divided into 100piastres but inflation has eliminated the subdivisions.

10000 LBP in £GBP

10000 LBP in $USD

10000 LBP in €EUR

 

Approval Process

As part of the application process for a short code, you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF).

 

Promotional Guidelines

As per section 9 of Obligations Concerning Tariff Communication and the Advertising and Promotion of Value Added Services in the Code of Conduct:

The Value Added Service Provider shall ensure that users are informed in a transparent and clear manner of the price of the Service before use of the said Service and prior to incurring any Premium Charges. In relation to audio services, the Value Added Service Provider shall provide, for each call, at the beginning of the vocal communication and before the commencement of the use of the audio service, a statement setting out the tariff of that call including initial charges, joining fees, recurring charges and frequency of recurring charges. This tariff announcement must commence within a maximum period of ten (10) seconds from the start of the call and must allow the user to terminate the call without incurring any Premium Charges.

Value Added Service Provider must also ensure that in the case of all Value Added Services and their promotion:

  • Call tariffs are clearly stated in all promotions; 
  • Any initial charges, joining fees, recurring charges and frequency of recurring charges are clearly stated in all promotions; 
  • Prices are noted in the form of numbers with the currency clearly stated; 
  • Prices are noted per minute (or any other prevailing and approved time based unit) for time based/charged services and the minimum charge if any or the total maximum cost to the Consumer; 
  • In relation to competition, the price per minute is accompanied in all promotions by the notification of the maximum duration of the call; 
  • Written and textual tariff information must be legible, prominent, horizontal and presented in a way that does not require close scrutiny;
  • Spoken tariff information must be easily audible, discernible and easily understood; 
  • In the case of advertisements transmitted on television, on websites, or in other audio-visual-format, the tariff information must be spoken or visually displayed; 
  • The price per minute/call must be displayed whenever a Premium Rate Number is displayed; 
  • Calls made to the customer care of a Service Provider to obtain information or instructional messages, necessary to obtain access to a service, must be made available free of charge to a consumer; 
  • Voting/competition services which are likely to be repeated or rebroadcast after the voting/competition is closed must clearly state that this is the case and that the voting/entry mechanism is not open to use by consumers or must clearly state the opening and closing date and time of the competition or vote. 

Within the context of written/visual-format advertising medium (press, brochure, web site, banner, flash SMS, etc.), the Value Added Service Provider shall ensure that the tariff is written in a character size perfectly clear and legible and should always appear under or next to the number for the service. No other text or illustration appearing on the written advertising medium must be inserted between the tariff and the number.

Within the context of televised/ audio-visual-format communication, the Premium Rate number must appear visually and clearly on the advertising message screen. The tariff must also appear in a character size perfectly clear and legible and should always be under or next to the Premium Rate number for the service. No other mention, text or illustration appearing on the screen must separate the tariff from the number. Moreover, if the number is read out during the advertising message, the tariff must also always be read out immediately after the number by using the same voice, the same tone and the same rhythm as that used for the number, and without any disruption, sound or musical background. 

Within the context of radio/ audio promotions, the tariff must be pronounced immediately after the number, with the same voice, the same tonality, and the same rhythm of reading and without any disturbing sound or musical background. Irrespective of the length of the advertisement or promotion and regardless of its nature, the Value Added Service Provider shall ensure at minimum, that every advertisement or promotion:

  • Avoids the risk of confusion between itself and the Service Provider, where they are different; 
  • Communicates explicitly the tariff of the service; 
  • States the service content type and brand in a precise way; 

and

  • Discloses its company identity. 

Value Added Service Provider must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that advertising and promotional material do not reach those for whom it, or the service which it promotes, is likely to be regarded by them as being offensive or harmful. Value Added Service Provider must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that their services are not promoted in an inappropriate way. 

 

As per section 16 of Contact Information for Value Added Service Providers in the Code of Conduct:

A Value Added Service Provider shall maintain a local customer service hotline for its services (including premium rate services) and shall respond to all enquires, complaints and disputes lodged by any person to the local
customer service hotline as promptly as possible. It is noted that originating calls to the hotline can be charged up to normal rates. A Value Added Service Provider may, in addition to the local customer service hotline, provide other means for end users to reach them, such as via e-mail or fax.

A Value Added Service Provider, where it is a separate legal entity from the Service Provider, it shall provide the Service Provider with its local customer service hotline, e-mail and/or fax so as to enable the Service Provider to
direct end users to these modes of contact.

 

As per section 13 of Advisory Services in the Code of Conduct:

Value Added Services providing advice must be conveyed in a responsible manner. They should include clearly, in the service advertisement or at the beginning of the communication, at least a warning to the users emphasizing that the services only provides general information and the service user should not act upon advice which needs individual interpretation without first consulting a qualified practitioner.

These services should indicate the identity of the specialist or specialists who bear the responsibility of the given advice, their experience and professional qualifications. All Value Added Service Providers shall ensure that the information provided complies with the Laws of the Republic of Lebanon.

 

As per section 14 of Banning Service Intended for Under Age Persons in the Code of Conduct:

Value Added Service Providers shall not offer nor advertise Premium Rate services for Under Age Persons.

Services for Under Age Persons are services which, either wholly or in part, are aimed at or meant to be particularly attractive to Under Age Persons.

 

Messages Flow Requirements

As per section 7 of Service Contents in the Code of Conduct:

Value Added Services must not contain anything that is in breach of the laws of the Republic of Lebanon, nor omit anything required by the laws. Services, advertising and promotional material must not facilitate or encourage anything that is in any way unlawful. The Value Added Service Provider, where it is a different legal entity from the Service Provider through which the service is delivered, shall avoid the risk of confusion between itself and the Service Provider in the given service or between itself and other Service Providers. The use of the Service Provider’s logos and brands must be first approved in writing by their owner. In the case of audio services, the Value Added Service Provider’s name must be clearly mentioned in the service welcome vocal message as well as in any promotional or advertising material. In particular, the Value Added Service Provider shall not provide or promote services that are or contain:

  • Violent or pornographic messages; 
  • Messages susceptible, by their nature, to debase, degrade or demean or undermine the respect for human dignity, and for the protection of children and teenagers;
  • Messages encouraging the commission of crimes or offences or inciting to the consumption of banned substances;
  • Messages encouraging discrimination, hatred or violence; 
  • Messages spreading immoral advertisements of meeting between persons; 
  • Messages that may clash with religious or political convictions or question the respect for religious and political pluralism in Lebanon; 
  • Messages that are not appropriate for persons under age, unless preceded by a warning message in the service announcement; 
  • Messages that induce or promote disharmony or discrimination on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, race, national origin, religion, age or disability; 
  • Messages that result in any unreasonable invasion of privacy; 
  • Messages that induce fear or anxiety; 
  • Messages that seek to take unfair advantage of any characteristic or circumstance which may make Consumers vulnerable or otherwise encourage Consumers to make calls which are in quantum or duration considered unreasonable or excessive; 

or

  • Messages that mislead, or are likely to mislead in any way. 

 

The Value Added Service Provider shall refrain from imposing any type of provision onto its customers whereby they are obliged to agree to receive advertising messages in order to take advantage of or use services offered by this Value Added Service Provider.

 

Service Types

As per section 12 of Games, Lotteries and Gambling in the Code of Conduct:

The Value Added Service Provider and/or any Service Provider, wishing to provide over a Public Telecommunications Network, a service related to games, lotteries, gambling and/or other similar games, should prior to providing such service obtain the required permit in this respect in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

The application for this permit is filed with the Directorate of the National Lottery in Beirut in accordance with the Ministry of Finance Decision Number 373/1 dated March 19, 2009. The permit is granted by decision of the Minister of Finance upon the recommendation of the National Lottery Commission.

All games and gambling concerning an event or game occurring inside the Lebanese Territories through all kind of telecommunication means and upon which one or more winners are selected, shall be considered games and lotteries for the purpose of this code.

  • The Service Provider prior to allowing any Value Added Service Provider to offer its services related to games, lotteries, gambles and other similar games over its network, must verify that the Value Added Service Provider has duly obtained a decision signed by the Minister of Finance granting the above mentioned permit. Furthermore the Service Provider must collect from the Value Added Service Providers the following game description: 

- The nature and rules of the game, the date and hour of the game start, the date and hour of the game end;
- The prizes value as well as the precise rules of the winners' choices;
- The precise dates, hours and places of the winners' selection; and
- An exhaustive explanatory leaflet about the proposed used advertising mediums.

  • The Service Provider must make available to the Authority, upon the Authority’s request, the game description mentioned here above, a copy of the permit and/or any other related information or documents that the Authority may request from time to time. 

The Advertising and Promotion (notably referred to under Article 9 of this Code of Practice) for Games, Lotteries and Gambles must clearly set out in their materials:

  • The cost per minute and the likely playing time, or the full cost of participation; 
  • Details of how the competition operates and an indication of any tiebreakers; 
  • Any key terms and conditions, including any restriction on the number of entries or prizes which may be won;
  • An adequate description of prizes and other items offered to all or a substantial majority of participants, including the number of major prizes and details of any restriction on their availability or use; and 
  • Where a prize consists wholly or in part of vouchers, the promotional material must specifically and prominently state the value of a single voucher as well as any total value.

 

Billing Types

We operate on Mobile Originated (MO) billed line on dedicated lines in the Lebanon. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.

 

Available Tariffs

The  current available tariff in Lebanon is US $0.30, US $0.50, US $0.90, US $5. 

For a more up to date list of tariffs please ask your Account Manager for a Lebanon Premium SMS Rate Card.

 

Shortcodes and Keywords

On our dedicated code in Lebanon, we operate on a 4 digit shortcode for each carrier. Adult content is not available, difficult to get approval.

 

Frequency and Amounts

There is currently no set limit at the time of writing in Lebanon. Your CCF will be evaluated to ensure your service is delivering value for money and is honest and fair.

  

Tax

The current Lebanon rate of tax is available via Wikipedia. The out-payments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher outpayment than is shown.

 

Dedicated Codes 

Dedicated codes are available with a 2 - 5 week lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in Lebanon via the txtNation Gateway. 

 

Lebanon has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations:

  • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services
  • Operator Billing (Direct-to-bill)
  • WAP Billing
  • MSISDN Pass-through 

Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in Lebanon include:

  • HLR Lookup
  • Bulk SMS 

Note: This page is updated as frequently as possible when we are informed from the regulators or mobile operators in Lebanon of a change or update in regulations. There may be a latest version of Premium SMS, Mobile Payments or Short Code Regulations in Lebanon. Please contact your account manager for more information.

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