CHAPTER 302
TANZANIA COMMUNICATIONS ACT

[PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION]

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   Section

Title

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS

   1.   Short title and application.

   2.   Interpretation.

PART II
ESTABLISHMENT, FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE TANZANIA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

   3.   Establishment of the Commission.

   4.   Constitution of the Commission.

   5.   Functions and duties of the Commission.

   6.   Obligations of the Commission.

   7.   Role of Minister.

   8.   The Secretariat.

PART III
POWER TO LICENSE AND REGULATE POSTAL SERVICES AND TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

   9.   Power to issue licence and regulate telecommunication systems.

   10.   Commission to manage and assign the national radio frequency spectrum.

   11.   Attorney-General to be party to the suit.

   12.   Offences.

   13.   Deposit before conviction.

   14.   Licence to be issued unconditionally or subject to conditions.

   15.   Designation of public telecommunication licensee.

   16.   Power to issue licence and to regulate provision of postal services.

   17.   Licences to be issued unconditionally or subject to conditions.

   18.   Designation of postal public licensee.

   19.   Application and grant of licence.

   20.   Application for licence to be in writing.

   21.   Discretion to grant or refuse licence.

   22.   Modifications of licence conditions.

   23.   Suspension or cancellation of licence.

PART IV
APPROVAL OF TELECOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT TO BE CONNECTED TO PUBLIC NETWORK

   24.   Commission to approve equipment.

   25.   Power to make regulations.

PART V
MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL POWER

   26.   Power to enter upon and to survey land.

   27.   Power to erect, maintain telephone lines on any property.

   28.   Removal of telephone lines erected on any property.

   29.   Power to enter and to prevent accidents.

   30.   Powers in relation to electricity undertakers.

   31.   Structures likely to interfere with telecommunications services.

PART VI
POSTAGE STAMPS AND POSTAL CHARGES

   32.   Provision of postage stamps.

   33.   Postage stamps to be used for prepayment and power to make rules.

   34.   Exemption from postal charges.

   35.   Power to make rules as to transmission by post of postal articles.

   36.   Transmission by post of anything injurious, prohibited.

   37.   Transmission by post of anything indecent, prohibited.

   38.   Commission to make rules dealing with prohibited articles.

   39.   Obligation of licensee to inform the Commission.

   40.   Disposal of postal articles detained under this Act.

   41.   Application of sections 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40.

   42.   Power to make rules as to disposal of undelivered postal articles.

   43.   Power to provide for postal financial services and to make rules thereon.

   44.   Special powers in emergency or in the national or public interest.

PART VII
FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

   45.   Funds and resources of the Commission.

   46.   Budget of Commission.

   47.   Accounts and audit.

PART VIII
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES IN RELATION TO POSTAL SERVICES

   48.   Penalty for contravention of sections 17 and 18.

   49.   Penalty for contravention of sections 36 and 37.

   50.   Penalty for defiling or injuring letter boxes.

   51.   Penalty for affixing without authority anything to, or disfiguring, a post office.

   52.   Penalty for unlawfully detaining mails or opening mail bags.

   53.   Penalty for willfully retaining postal articles or mail bags.

   54.   Penalty for unlawfully diverting letters.

   55.   Penalty for unlawfully disclosing contents of postal articles.

   56.   Penalty for making fictitious stamps.

   57.   Prohibition of false notice as to reception of letters.

   58.   Offences by officers, employee or agent of a public postal licensee.

   59.   Penalty for breach of licence.

   60.   Offences by body corporate.

   61.   General penalty.

   62.   Penalty for abetting, or attempting to commit offences.

   63.   Resident Magistrate's Court to have full jurisdiction.

   64.   Power of Director-General to compound certain offences.

PART IX
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES IN RELATION TO TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES

   65.   Unlawful operation of telecommunication system.

   66.   Prohibitions in respect of radiocommunication and telecommunication equipment.

   67.   Penalty for unlicensed radio station.

   68.   Exemptions from sections 65, 66 and 67.

   69.   Powers of search and seizure.

   70.   Using unlawful telecommunication system or service.

   71.   Obstruction of public telecommunication or postal licensees.

   72.   International damage to installation or plant used for telecommunications.

   73.   Offences by officer, employee or agent of public telecommunication licensees.

   74.   Fraudulent use of telecommunication system.

   75.   Prohibition of unauthorised international call back communication.

   76.   Sending false message.

   77.   Fraudulent retention of messages.

   78.   Protection of installation or plant used by public telecommunication or postal licensee.

   79.   Prohibition of false notice relating to public telecommunication installation or plant.

   80.   Charging for use of services provided by public telecommunication and postal licensees.

   81.   Compensation for damage to public telecommunication or postal licensee's installation or plant.

   82.   Compensation for damage caused to public telecommunication or postal installation or plant.

   83.   Penalty for removing any mark denoting used device for telephone purposes.

   84.   Failure to disconnect equipment not approved under section 24.

SCHEDULES

CHAPTER 302
THE TANZANIA COMMUNICATIONS ACT

An Act to establish the Tanzania Communications Commission to be responsible for the regulation of postal and telecommunications services in the United Republic of Tanzania and to provide for the designation of public postal and telecommunications licensees and for related matters.

[1st January, 1992]
[G.N. No. 28 of 1993]

Acts Nos.
18 of 1993
2 of 1996
15 of 2001

PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS (ss 1-2)

1.   Short title and application

   (1) This Act may be cited as the Tanzania Communications Act.

   (2) This Act shall apply to Tanzania Zanzibar as well as to Mainland Tanzania.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires–

   "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Commission and includes any temporary Chairman of the Commission;

   "Commission" means the Tanzania Communications Commission established by section 3;

   "Commissioner" means a person appointed under this Act to be a member of the Commission;

   "Director-General" means the Director-General of the Commission appointed under section 8(2);

   "entitled person" means a person who is a citizen of the United Republic, or an authority or body incorporated by or under any law in the United Republic, and for the purposes of this Act, includes the government;

   "equipment" includes any appliance, apparatus or accessory used or intended to be used for telecommunication or postal purposes;

   "Hertzian or radio waves" means electromagnetic waves of frequencies not exceeding 1,000 terahertz propagated in space without any artificial guide;

   "installation or plant used for posts" includes all buildings, lands, structures, machinery, equipment, boxes and receptacles used or intended for use in connection with the transmission of postal articles by post;

   "installation or plant used for telecommunications" includes all buildings, lands, structures, machinery, equipment, cables, poles and lines used or intended for use in connection with telecommunications;

   "letter" includes any communication in the nature of current and personal correspondence and includes postcard;

   "licence" means licence issued under the provisions of this Act;

   "licensee" means any person licensed under the provisions of this Act;

   "mail bag" means any bag, container, envelope or covering in which postal articles are conveyed;

   "message" means any sign, signal, writing, image, sound, intelligence or information of any nature transmitted by telecommunication;

   "Minister" means Minister responsible for communications;

   "parcel" means a postal article which is posted at a post office as a parcel or is received at a post office by parcel post;

   "post" means any system for the collection, despatch, conveyance, handling and delivery of postal articles by or through a public postal licensee;

   "post office" means any building, house, room, vehicle or place where postal articles are received, delivered, sorted, made up or despatched;

   "postage" means the fee chargeable for the transmission by post of postal articles;

   "postage stamp" means any label or stamp for denoting any postage or other sum payable in respect of a postal article, and including any adhesive postage stamp or stamp printed, impressed or otherwise indicated on a postal article, whether the postage stamp is issued under this Act or by the government of any other country;

   "postal article" means any article or thing transmissible by post but does not include such article or thing as the Minister may prescribe to be not transmissible by post;

   "postal service" means any service by post;

   "postal successor corporation" means the Tanzania Posts Corporation established by the Tanzania Posts Corporation Act *;

   "postal undertaking" means all the lands, buildings, and other property, movable or immovable, vested in the Minister immediately before the transfer date for the postal purposes of the Minister and all assets, powers, rights, interest, privileges, debts, liabilities and obligations connected therewith;

   "postcard" means a card recognised as a postcard in accordance with the terms of the Convention regulating the affairs of the Universal Postal Union;

   "posting box" includes any pillar box and wall box and any other box or receptacle provided by or under the authority of a public postal licensee for the purpose of receiving postal articles for transmission by, or under the authority of, a public postal licensee;

   "public postal licensee" means a person designated by the Commission under section 18;

   "public postal licensee's installation or plant" means any installation or plant used for post belonging to or used by a public postal licensee;

   "public telecommunication licensee" means a person designated by the Commission under section 15;

   "public telecommunication licensee's installation or plant" means any installation or plant used for telecommunications belonging to or used by a public telecommunication licensee;

   "public telecommunication network" means a telecommunication installation or plant for use by the public;

   "radiocommunication" means any telecommunication by means of Hertzian or radio waves;

   "radiocommunication service" means any service for radiocommunications;

   "radiocommunication system" means any system used or intended to be used for radiocommunication;

   "shares" in relation to a company, includes shares, debentures, bonds and other securities of the company, whether or not constituting a charge on the assets of the company;

   "subsidiary" has the same meaning as in the Companies Act *;

   "telecommunication line" means a wire or cable used for telecommunications with any casing, coating, tube or pipe enclosing the same and any appliance and apparatus connected therewith for the purpose of fixing or insulating the same;

   "telecommunication service" means any service for telecommunication;

   "telecommunication system" means any system used or intended to be used for telecommunications;

   "telecommunications" means a transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electro-magnetic system whether or not such signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or other processes by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;

   "telecommunications successor company" means a company established by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Incorporation Act *;

   "user" means any person or body of persons who uses or operates a radio communication channel or frequency or runs telecommunication systems or services referred to in the provisions of this Act;

   "vessel" includes any ship, boat, air-cushioned vehicle or floating rig or platform used in any form or operations at sea or any other description of vessel.

   (2) For the purpose of this Act–

   (a)   the delivery of the postal article shall be delivered if–

      (i)   it is delivered into the letter box of the addressee or by leaving it at the house or office of the addressee, or with the addressee, or with his employee, or agent, or other person authorised to receive it and, where the addressee is a guest or is resident at a hotel, hostel or lodging or of a similar nature, if it is left with the proprietor or manager thereof or with his agent; or

      (ii)   it is deposited into a posting box or handed over to an employee or agent of a public postal licensee authorised to receive it;

   (b)   a postal article shall be in the course of transmission by post from the time of its being delivered to the postal public licensee to the time of its being delivered to the addressee, or its being returned to the sender or otherwise disposed of under this Act.

PART II
ESTABLISHMENT, FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE TANZANIA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (ss 3-8)

3.   Establishment of the Commission

   (1) There is established a Commission to be known as the Tanzania Communications Commission.

   (2) The Commission shall be a body corporate and shall–

   (a)   have perpetual succession and a common seal;

   (b)   in its corporate name, be capable of suing and being sued;

   (c)   be capable of purchasing and otherwise acquiring or alienating any movable or immovable property;

   (d)   have power to exercise and perform such other power and functions as are conferred by or under this Act.

4.   Constitution of the Commission

   (1) The Commission shall consist of–

   (a)   a Chairman who shall be appointed by the President; and

   (b)   not less than four nor more than six other members who shall be appointed by the Minister.

   (2) The provisions of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect as to the tenure of office and the termination of the appointment of members of the Commission, as well as to the proceedings of the Commission and other matters in relation to the Commission.

   (3) The Minister may by notice published in the Gazette amend, vary or alter any of the provisions of the First Schedule to this Act.

5.   Functions and duties of the Commission

   (1) The functions of the Commission shall be–

   (a)   to ensure that there are provided throughout the United Republic good and sufficient domestic and international telecommunications (except broadcasting and television) and postal services and such other services on such terms as the Commission may think expedient;

   (b)   without prejucide to the generality of paragraph (a) to ensure that any person by whom any telecommunication or postal services fall to be provided is able to provide these services at rates consistent with efficient and continuous service and necessity for maintaining independent financial viability;

   (c)   to promote the development of telecommunication and postal systems and services in accordance with practicable recognised international standard practices and public demand;

   (d)   to exercise licensing and regulatory functions in respect of telecommunication and postal systems and services in the United Republic, including the establishment of standards and codes relating to equipment attached to telecommunication and radiocommunication systems;

   (e)   to exercise licensing and regulatory functions in respect of allocation and use of satellite orbits and radio frequency spectrum in the United Republic for all purposes, including establishment of standards and codes relating to any matter in connection therewith;

   (f)   to regulate the fixing of rates of postage and other fees or sums to be charged in respect of postal articles sent under this Act;

   (g)   to regulate the fees and commissions on postal financial services;

   (h)   to regulate the performance of postal financial services on behalf of government and non-government agencies;

   (i)   to regulate the issuance of postage stamps including definitive, commemorative and special issues of postage stamps and any other philatelic items;

   (j)   to ensure that the terms and conditions stated in a licence granted under sections 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are complied with;

   (k)   to promote competition in providing for telecommunication and postal services;

   (l)   to secure that reasonable demands for telecommunication and postal services are satisfied;

   (m)   to regulate telecommunications tariff rates with a view to eliminate unfair business practices among operators;

   (n)   to promote and encourage the expansion of telecommunication and postal services with a view to the economic development of the United Republic;

   (o)   to further the advancement of technology relating to the telecommunication and postal systems and services;

   (p)   to act internationally as national body representative of the United Republic in respect of telecommunication and postal matters;

   (q)   to advise the government on all telecommunication and postal matters and on matters pertaining to the Commission generally.

   (2) In discharging the functions and duties imposed on it by subsection (1), the Commission shall have regard to–

   (a)   efficiency and economy;

   (b)   satisfying reasonable demands for telecommunication and postal services;

   (c)   fostering the development and expansion of telecommunication and postal services in the United Republic in collaboration with other countries and international organisations;

   (d)   maintaining effective competition between persons engaged in the provision of telecommunication and postal system and services;

   (e)   enabling persons providing telecommunication and postal systems and services in the United Republic to compete effectively in the provision of such systems and services;

   (f)   the promotion of measures for the safety of life through telecommunications;

   (g)   the provision of the telecommunication and postal service at rates consistent with efficient service and necessity for maintaining independent financial viability;

   (h)   improvements in the effective and efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum;

   (i)   the promotion of research and development in the field of telecommunication and postal systems and services;

   (j)   collaboration with educational institutions for the promotion of technical education in the fields of telecommunication systems and services.

   (3) Without prejudice to the generality of the functions specified in subsections (1) and (2), the Commission shall have power to do all such acts and things as may appear to it to be necessary, advantageous or convenient for the efficient discharge of its functions and may in particular exercise all or any of the powers specified in the Second Schedule.

6.   Obligations of the Commission

   (1) The Commission shall in the performance of its functions have regard to–

   (a)   any general policies of the government notified to it by the Minister under section 7;

   (b)   any general or specific direction given by the Minister under section 7;

   (c)   any obligations under any convention to which the United Republic is a party.

   (2) The Commission shall in the performance of its functions establish and maintain a system of co-ordination, co-operation and consultation with the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission and any other body within or outside the United Republic which has similar or related functions.

7.   Role of Minister

   (1) It shall be the duty of the Minister to–

   (a)   determine government policies for telecommunications and postal sectors;

   (b)   co-ordinate the telecommunications and postal sector industries both within and outside the United Republic.

   (2) The Minister shall notify the Commission of general policies of the government that are to apply in relation to the Commission and to ensure that the policies are carried out.

   (3)(a) The Minister may after consultation with the Commission give directions to the Commission in relation to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers, in regard to–

   (i)   conditions to be included in the licences to be granted to applicants;

   (ii)   general guidelines for determination of tariffs by respective operators;

   (iii)   determination of technical standards about network matters;

   (iv)   guidelines for performing its functions or exercise of its powers relating to the issuing, varying or cancelling of licences;

   (v)   any other general policy matter within the powers of the Commission;

   (b)    Any direction given by the Minister to the Commission in accordance with this subsection shall be in writing and published in the Gazette.

8.   The Secretariat

   (1) There is established a Secretariat of the Commission which shall subject to this Act be the executive, technical and administrative organ of the Commission.

   (2) The Secretariat shall be headed by a Director-General who shall be appointed by the President and shall hold office on such terms and conditions, and for such period not less than five years, as may be specified in the instrument of his appointment and shall be eligible for reappointment.

   (3) The Director-General shall be responsible to the Commission for the proper administration and management of the functions and affairs of the Commission in accordance with the policy laid down by the Commission.

   (4) If the Director-General is temporarily absent from the United Republic or temporarily incapacitated by reason of illness or for any other reason temporarily unable to perform his duties, a person may be appointed by the Commission to act in the place of the Director-General during any such period of absence from duty.

   (5) The Commission may, from time to time appoint and employ on such terms and conditions as the Commission may determine such other officers and employees as may be necessary for the effective performance of its functions.

PART III
POWER TO LICENSE AND REGULATE POSTAL SERVICES AND TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS (ss 9-23)

9.   Power to issue licence and regulate telecommunication systems

   (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act the Commission shall have the power of licensing and regulating telecommunication systems and services in the United Republic.

   (2) The power conferred on the Commission by subsection (1) shall–

   (a)   include the right to issue licences and to regulate the establishment, installation, use, working, maintenance, development, construction, promotion, hiring and selling of telecommunication systems and services; and

   (b)   extend to every vessel or aircraft registered in the United Republic and to every other vessel, aircraft and any vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not, in the United Republic.

   (3) The power conferred under this section shall not be infringed by–

   (a)   the running by any person solely for his own use or solely for the purpose of his business (but not for providing any telecommunication service to another person) or telecommunication line system in which all the equipment comprised therein is situated–

      (i)   on a single set of premises in a single occupation; or

      (ii)   in a vessel, aircraft or vehicle or in two or more vessels, aircraft or vehicles mechanically coupled together; or

   (b)   the operation of the telecommunication system–

      (i)   in the course of their duties by the officers and men of the armed forces, the police and national security of the United Republic; or

      (ii)   by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation or any other person in the provision of any broadcasting and television services under the Broadcasting Services Act *.

10.   Commission to manage and assign the national radio frequency spectrum

   (1) The Commission shall maintain control over all radiocommunication channels and frequencies and provide for the use of such channels and frequencies by persons for limited periods of time by issuing licences under such conditions as shall be determined by the Commission.

   (2) The Commission may, consistent with public interest, convenience and necessity, make regulations–

   (a)   governing harmful interference to other communications;

   (b)   establishing minimum performance standards of electronic appliances,

in regard to manufacture, import, sale, shipment and use of such devices or appliances.

   (3) The Commission shall set aside separate radio frequency spectrum for use and management by the central government, the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission and those to be allocated and managed by the Commission for commercial, local governments, authorities, non-governmental institutions and other uses, and shall maintain a register in respect of all operators to whom radio frequency spectra have been allocated.

   (4) The Commission shall–

   (a)   classify radio stations, prescribe the nature of service to be rendered by each station, assign bands of frequencies to each class of stations and assign frequencies to each and the time during which it may operate;

   (b)   make regulations to–

      (i)   prevent interference between stations and to carry out the requirements under this Act;

      (ii)   require stations to maintain such records of communications or signals as the Commission may deem necessary;

      (iii)   require stations to submit to the Commission such reports as the Commission may require.

   (5) The Commission shall have authority to inspect all radio installations associated with stations required to be licensed under this Act, to ascertain whether they conform to the requirements of the regulations in regard to construction, installation and operation.

   (6) With effect from the effective date, and notwithstanding the provisions of any written law, compact, concession, contract, deed, deed of settlement, licence, memorandum of understanding or any other kind of agreement or provision providing to the contrary, the Commission shall, in the maintenance of its control over radio communication channels and frequencies, have power, subject to this Act, to allocate, reallocate, assign, reassign, issue, reissue, redistribute, retrieve, suspend, cancel, or otherwise modify the distribution amongst users or licensees of any radio communication channels or frequencies.

   (7) The Commission may exercise the powers conferred by subsection (6) only if–

   (a)   as a result of any investigations or inquiry carried out by it or by any other public authority; or

   (b)   in the ordinary course of performing its functions, under this Act, pursuant to subsection (10),

the Commission is of the view that it is necessary or desirable in the public interest that it exercises such powers in relation to any user or licensee of any radio communication channel or frequency.

This section of the article is only available for our subscribers. Please click here to subscribe to a subscription plan to view this part of the article.