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Finland - Premium SMS, Short Code Regulations

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The regulations in Finland caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, this includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate Services and Short Codes.

Regulator

Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) is the regulator for Finland.

FICORA published its first market review in June 2006. During the last five years the market reviews have reached a stabilised position as a reliable source of information. Political decision-makers, companies operating in the industry, consultants, researchers and investment bankers all use these reviews. This annual report published each spring is especially important, since it provides a comprehensive picture of the previous year's development.

The biannual report, which comes out each autumn, is also an interesting information source. In addition to market indicators it gives information on telecom sector investment developments. The amount of supervisory information collected and produced by FICORA is large, and also the two other annual market reviews have always contained interesting subjects. The only criticism arising from customer surveys has been FICORA's annual report publishing method: both electronic and printed versions have been available. This "problem" has now been solved, since the annual report is no longer available in hard copy. FICORA focuses on developing the ease of use of the electronic market review versions. FICORA also aims to provide the most important market indicators available not only on FICORA's own web pages but also on other electronic services, such as the findikaattori.fi website.

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Carriers

logo-elisa_2x.png                 dna_layout_set_logo.png                   telia_logo_2016.png

txtNation network names:

Elisa (Oy Radiolinja Ab*) - Network name in txtNations system: ELISA-FI

DNA Finland (Finnish 2G) - Network name in txtNations system: DNA-FI

Teliasonera - Network name in txtNations system: SONERA-FI

 

Market Statistics

Summary

In 2009, the Finnish mobile market expanded by 12.9%. This is particularly impressive because it is barely less than the 13.1% growth observed for 2008. At the end of 2009, we find mobile penetration at 146.9%, which is pretty high for Western Europe. In fact, with penetration and growth still as high as they are, it suggests that Finland is following a different growth and maturity trajectory than some of the larger Western European markets such as Germany and the UK, and may well have growth momentum to reach a 200% penetration rate. BMI is forecasting the penetration rate to reach 197.1% by the end of 2014. Part of the fuel for this continuing growth is the prepaid growth drive that the operators have remained focused on from 2008 into 2009.

Geography
Area: 338,144 sq. km. (130,558 sq. miles); about the size of New England, New Jersey, and New York combined.
Cities: Capital - Helsinki (pop. 564,521). 
Terrain: Low but hilly, more than 70% forested; 188,000 lakes and 179,584 islands, 98,050 of which are in the lakes.
Climate: Northern temperate.

People
Nationality: Noun - Finn(s). Adjective - Finnish.
Population (December 2008): 5.32 million.
Population growth rate (2007): 0.4%.
Languages: Finnish 90.9%, Swedish 5.4% (both official); small Lapp - (0.03%) and Russian-speaking (0.8%) minorities.

Flag: 

Government
Type: Constitutional republic.
Constitution: July 17, 1919; March 2000.
Independence: December 6, 1917.
Branches: Executive - resident (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of State (cabinet). Legislative - unicameral parliament. Judicial - Supreme Court, regional appellate courts, local courts.
Subdivisions: Six provinces, provincial self-rule for the Aland Islands.
Political parties: Social Democratic Party, Center Party, National Coalition (Conservative) Party, Leftist Alliance, Swedish People's Party, Green League, Christian Democrats, True Finns.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy (2009)
GDP: $238.4 billion (EUR 170.9 billion).
GDP growth rate: - 7.8%.
Per capita income: $44,668 (EUR 32,025).
Inflation rate: 0.0% (2009); 0.1% (February 2010).
Natural resources: Forests, minerals (copper, zinc, iron), farmland.
Agriculture: forestry, fishing and hunting (2.9% of GDP): Products - meat (pork and beef), grain (wheat, rye, barley, oats), dairy products, potatoes, rapeseed. 
Industry (31.6% of GDP): Types - metal (including electronics and electrical equipment) and engineering, forest products, chemicals, shipbuilding, foodstuffs, textiles.
Trade: Exports - $62.6 billion. Major markets - EU 55.6%, Russia 9%, U.S. 7.8%, China 4.1%. Imports - $60.3 billion. Major suppliers - EU 56.4%, Russia 16.2%, China 7.9%, U.S. 3.4%.

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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 subscribers per 100 inhab.↓ Total number of mobile subscribers (thousands)↓  

 

Europe 4480.9 83.9 5,338 31,824.7 171135000 144.2 7700  
  [source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source] [source]  
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Currency

The Euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the currency of Finland. It is normally abbreviated with the euro sign €, or alternatively EUR. EUR must be used when conveying the price to users. It is divided into 100 cents. 

€EUR in £GBP

€EUR in $USD

Further Information

For a detailed summary of the communications market in Finland please see http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/library/communications_reports/annualreports/15th/index_en.htm for more information.

 

Approval Process

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

 

Promotional Guidelines

Please remember to review the market rules and regulations before running a service in Finland.

Section 2 of General Rules in the Regulations Document:

The services and marketing of contents should not be contrary to the law and should not encourage unlawful actions. The service provider is responsible for the content of the services and the liabilities and obligations connected with them, as well as for their technical quality. The services must be user-friendly and well-defined and the bill from the services should not be made unnecessarily higher.

The service provider is responsible for ensuring that the offered service matches the right service group. In Premium SMS Services the service provider applies for a number from the Finnish Regulatory Authority in a matching service group. In Premium rate numbers the number is taken in to use with a contract between the service provider and the operator. In the agreement the operator and the service provider confirm together into which service group the service belongs.

Section 3 of General Rules in the Regulations Document:

The network operator can with a reference to a decision from the Committee to remove from the network a service which go against these norms or move the service in to another service group, if the service provider does not correct the faults concerned within a certain time. In cases where the service breaks the law or displays illegal characteristics, it can be removed without delay.

Company information regarding the service provider must be given to a third party upon request. The network operator with whom the service provider has an agreement can provide the authorities, the Finnish Self-regulatory Committee (MAPEL) and consumers with contact information on the service provider if requested.

Section 4 of General Rules in the Regulations Document:

All advertising must follow good taste and follow general moral comprehension of the society.

Advertising must not give to the consumer the impression that he/she will get a greater amount or variety of information than is really provided by the service concerned.

Advertising of the service must not be offensive in a sexual manner.

Section 5 through to 7 of General Rules in the Regulations Document:

It is forbidden in advertising to exploit the credulity or inexperience of children and young people, nor may advertising put their obedience to the test. Advertising which is directed towards children and young people, or which may influence them, must not contain anything, either textual or pictorial, which could possibly cause mental, moral or physical harm. 

Price of the service including taxes must be presented in all advertising clearly, closely located by the service number and it must be easily readable. If the service has a minimum price, it must be stated.

The price must be clearly understandable from the advertisement. The marking must be big enough, so it can be read without a possibility to be mistaken.

When advertising a premium number the first four digits of advertised service numbers must be written together and be separated by a space from the other digits in the number.

  • For example: 0200 1234567 or 0200 1234567.

Section 8 through to 9 of General Rules in the Regulations Document:

Information regarding Service Provider:

  • The advertisement must always show the name of the service provider and the necessary contact information. Name of the service provider is the name of the company which registered in the trade register or otherwise registered trade name. Abbreviations are not allowed. The service provider must inform the Committee all the names which are to be used in advertising.
  • The address must be so complete that it makes distribution of post possible without guessing or special knowledge. The address must include postal code and address. Postal address can be unambiguous and generally known abbreviation.
  • Contact information for customer service of the service provider must be included in all advertisement.
If the service is billed separately from the telecommunication bill, this must be announced at the beginning of the service.
 
Section 12 of Classification of Services in the Regulations Document

Press releases from companies and public corporations and inexpensive services provided by the authorities are classified as general services. The commercial sale of information belongs in group II (see Service Types).

Also, the sale of information relating to entertainment or recreation (sport, for example) is classified as an advice and ordering service, and is placed in group II.4, when its purpose is to provide factual information and not tips, predictions or simply amusement.

Section 14 of Classification of Services in the Regulations Document:

The sale of space for personal advertising and announcements, such as in personal and dating columns, for example, does not belong to the advice and ordering group but is placed in the entertainment and adult-entertainment groups, depending on the nature of the marketing of that particular service. The concept of advertising space also includes electronic media, e.g. phone dating and contact services.

Pricing can be done freely and is defined by the service provider.

 

Message Flow Requirements 

We do not have specific message flow approvals on our Finland lines that you must adhere to. Providing you are adhering to the regulations set by the regulator, that is all that is required.

 

Section 21 through to 26 of Pricing, Billing and Maximum Duration in the Regulations Document:

If the tariff changes during a service, the consumer must be separately informed of the new price.

The service price per call should be reasonable from the point of view of the consumer, otherwise the service is classified as belonging to the advice and ordering services group.

If the invoicing is done in some other way than by telecommunication billing, the price and the method of billing must be announced right at the beginning of the service.

 

Duration of the service in premium rate call services:

  • The longest allowed call duration in the service groups III and IV is 30 minutes, unless the service is continued by an active proceeding by the user. 

Diallers:

  • Service provider must make sure that the user knows the price of the service and other matters regarding the service.

  • The dialler cannot connect to the net without active proceedings by the user. The dialer cannot form itself as a primary internet connection.

  • Price announcement cannot be located in the terms and conditions.

  • The service must be a walled garden. General internet cannot be used with a dialer.

  • Dialler services use premium rate numbers to connect to the Internet.

     

Adult Entertainment Services:

  • When the service is located into Adult entertainment service group (IV) and the service includes interaction between the user and service, the service provider must educate workers to observe users who are minors. In these situations the service must be ended immediately.

Section 27 of Pricing, Billing and Maximum Duration in the Regulations Document: 

Double Opt-in:

Before the beginning of the actual subscription and any billing the end-user must receive and answer to a SMS including following information in exactly following form in Finnish:

  • Confirm entertainment subscription. X Price € / kk. Lopetus: STOP Message number 17XXX. Internet: www.xcompany.com.Vastaa OK, if you want to order service. Keep this message.

The subscription can start only after the end-user has confirmed it by sending ”OK”by SMS. If the service cumulates billing (For example quiz-services) the following form must be used:

  • VVahvista entertainment subscription. Price for at least X € / kk. Lopetus: Post STOP number 17XXX.Internet: www.xcompany.com.Vastaa OK, if you want to order service. Keep this message.
  • The subscription can start only after the end-user has confirmed it by sending ”OK” by SMS.

Section 18 of Classification of Services in the Regulations Document:

Opinion regarding classifying services into service groups:

  • The service provider has the right to ask for an opinion from the committee about into which service group a service must be located. The committee must give the opinion urgently.
  • An opinion can also be asked from the ombudsman. The Committee is bound to the opinion taken into account material presented to the committee. The committee is not bound to the opinion of the ombudsman. The Board is not bound to call the agent's opinion. The Board's opinion does not appeal.

 Section 20 of Pricing, Billing and Maximum Duration in the Regulations Document:

Services billed based on time:

  • When the service costs at least 2 Euros per minute in service groups I and II and when the service costs at least 1 euro per minute, a separate price announcement must be given in the beginning of the service. The price announcement can only cost normal tariff when technically possible.
  • If the price of the service rises by more than 50 % within 6 months time, the price announcement must be given for 3 months time from the date when the price was risen. This regulation is in force in all service groups.

Event based tariffs in call services:

  • In all service groups a separate price announcement must be given when the price of the service is minimum 2 Euros.

Premium rate SMS services:

  • In all service groups when the price of the service is at least 5 Euros a separate price announcement must be given to the user. Price announcement in premium SMS services can be given with following ways:

- by asking for a special confirm message from the user (so called double opt-in).

- by including the price of the service into ordering message (for example. TICKET 5 E).

- by sending a receipt immediately after the ordering message. The receipt must include: name of the service provider, name of the service and price.

Premium rate WAP services:

  • In all service groups, when ordering a billed service, the price must be shown in close vicinity of the link which causes the billing ticket. The price announcement must be shown on the same screen, where the payment occurs.
 
Ordering of the service:
The Subscriber orders the service with a SMS message, on the Internet or via WAP. 
The Service Provider sends to the subscriber a free message where the following information is provided:
  • Name of the service.
  • Confirmation that the service is a subscription service.
  • Length of the subscription period (for example. per day, week or month) or if there is no subscription period, information about how often messages will be sent.
  • Price of the service (The price must be stated per month including normal use of service) and that the service will be charged on the operators bill.
  • How to stop the service.
  • Contact information of the service provider (email and telephone number) Chargeable service can begin.
Section 26 of Subscription services in the Regulations Document:
 
Information during the subscription:
The Service Provider must send to the subscriber free reminder message 24 hours prior to the new subscription period, which gives following information:
  • Name of the Service.
  • How to stop the service. 
The price of the service cannot change during subscription period. If the price of the service rises between subscription periods, the service provider must inform all customers about the price change. The subscriber must confirm separately the change of price. Information and possibility to stop the service must be provided to the subscriber. The SMS short code of the service must be visible in all the messages or in the sender field sent to the subscriber. When sending messages to the service provider, the service provider must use the same SMS short code from which the subscription was made. If there are several subscriptions on simultaneously, all information in this paragraph must be sent separately. 
 
Ending the service:
  • The Subscriber can always end the subscription period by sending STOP to the SMS short code.
  • It must be possible to end the subscription by sending STOP to the same SMS short code from where the subscription was made and from where the messages come to the subscriber. 
  • When the subscriber has sent the STOP message, service provider is not allowed to send more billable messages to the subscriber. When marketing new services the service provider must take in to consideration the special rules regarding electronic direct marketing. 
  • If a subscription service is provided in a shared SMS short code it can be stopped with a special stop command. The general STOP command must always work.

 

Service Types

On our shared codes in Finland you can do such services as Microbilling, Competitions, Voting, Info Messages and In-App billing (IAB). 

Section 10 of Classification of Service of the Regulations Document:

Value added services will be classified into service groups, which are regulated in Ficora´s technical regulations, based on the content of the service. The classification of the services is based on the actual content of the service. Service groups are as follows:

Services for the public good:

Services for the public good often complement other services or operations offered by the service provider.

  • Services meant for companies and business enterprises.
  • Timetables and information.
  • Advice and ordering services at inexpensive rates. A service can be seen as inexpensive:

- Single drop charge, where price is below €2,00 per call.
- Time based charge, where price is below 80 cents per minute.
- Combined charge, where single drop charge is maximum €1.60 and time based charge is below 80 cents per minute so that maximum price for a four minute call is €3.20. 

Advice and ordering services:

Services, which can be used for acquiring information, products or services over the phone without having to go anywhere or use some other form of communication.

II.1. Ordering services

II.2. Personal expert services

II.3. Marketing campaigns

II.4. Information services

II.5. Sale of advertising space

II.6. Market surveys and Gallup poll

ll.7 Charity

Entertainment services:

Services intended for recreational use and services linked to entertainment and fund-raising campaigns.

III.1. Chatlines (those which cannot be classified in regard to their contents as erotic contact services)

III.2. Entertainment-oriented expert services

III.3. Competitions and other games

III.4. Marketing campaigns

III.5. Voting

III..6 Other entertainment services

Adult Entertainment:

IV.1 Adult Entertainment services

Section 11 through to 31 of Classification of Service in Regulations Document:

Expert and Consulting Services:

  • Consulting and expert services directed towards companies, but with content which is also clearly of use to private persons, belong to group II.2; services directed to companies only belong to group I.1.
  • Expert services in which the expertise concerned is unproven or not generally acknowledged, belong to group III.2. However, expert services of this kind which are related to sex belong to group IV.2.
  • The above-mentioned requirement on expertise also covers so-called crisis and help lines.
  • Gaming tips given by an expert belong to group III.2.
  • Weather forecasts given by a meteorologist belong to group II.4. Other prediction services are placed in the entertainment groups.

Section 13 of Classification of Service in the Regulations Document:

Ordering services belong mainly to the advice and ordering services group with the following exceptions:

  • Ordering services for Adult Entertainment are classified as group IV.
  • Ordering service-type marketing campaigns which can be considered as being aimed at children too are placed in the entertainment group (III.4.).

Section 15 through to 17 of Classification of Service in the Regulations Document:

- Gallup polls organised by authorities, public corporations and market research companies belong to the advice and consulting services group (II.6).

- Mass voting, independent of the character of the Gallup poll, is classified as entertainment (III.5).

Chat Services:

  • It is forbidden to use any professional speakers on lines classified as belonging to the entertainment group, since communication must be solely between the users of the service. The services in this group must not have any erotic content neither may they be advertised as having such.
  • Chat lines other than those fulfilling the conditions mentioned above belong to the Adult Entertainment group.

Spiritual services:

  • Spiritual services, except for ordering services, are placed in the entertainment group.

 

Billing Types

We operate on Limited Charge (LC) Mobile Terminated (MT) billed line on dedicated lines in Finland. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.

MSISDN pass through / MSISDN forwarding (MSISDN Billing / WAP Billing) is available in Finland and is available on all major networks: Telia and Elisa. MSISDN pass through / MSISDN forwarding is the term used to describe where a user is visiting a WAP or web page from their mobile handset, the carrier passes the MSISDN through in the headers. Having identified the MSISDN of the user, after informing and them agreeing to the price, you can deliver a billed message. See forum entry "MSISDN Billing, WAP Billing, MSISDN Forwarding" for more information regarding MSISDN Forwarding.

  

Short code and Keywords

For our shared and dedicated short codes in Finland, we operate on a 5 digit short code for each carrier. The full short code is provided on application. Adult content is possible with the activation of an adult short code.

 

Tax

The current Finnish 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 6 - 8 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 Finland via the txtNation Gateway.

 

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

  • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services.
Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in Finland include:
  • HLR Lookup.
  • Bulk SMS.
You can find regulatory information in Finnish about setting services via http://www.mapel.fi and is also available in English, which can be found at the bottom of the page. 
 

See also the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority FICORA at http://www.ficora.fi/en/index.html. You can find regulatory information about setting services via http://www.mapel.fi available in English via: http://www.mapel.fi/set_of_norms_in_english/

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