Electronic communications

More and more new and innovative business models reach the electronic communication market and the demand for mobile data communication and additional frequency resources continues to grow.

Compared to other economic sectors, electronic communication is developing very fast all over the world. Mobile devices are becoming more and more common and as a consequence, the importance of mobile data communication is growing – by the end of the third quarter of 2014, there were 390,000 users of mobile data communication in Estonia.

In the near future, we can expect toughening competition among communication operators in the sphere of data communication services, characterised by high speeds, as it is possible to communicate both video and audio materials as data communication packages. The integration of services and development of services to meet specific needs of customer groups is becoming more and more important. Electronic communication also plays a big role in other economic sectors as information, its electronic processing and communication have become a strategic resource, just like natural resources, labour and financial capital.


Goals of the area

The goals of electronic communication that are set for the coming years aim at the establishment of free and secure common market, matching the information society requirements.

These goals are also set in the Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia.

  • By 2020, data communication services with the minimum speed of 30 Mbit/s will be available to all the inhabitants of Estonia.
  • 60% of users of direct Internet connection can access data communication with the minimum speed of 100 Mbit/s in six years.
  • By 2020, Estonia is among the five countries of the world that will enjoy the highest level of Internet freedom.



Entering the electronic communication market

Radio frequencies
Radio frequencies represent a limited natural resources, characterised by increasing demand in the information society. The management of radio frequencies is used to ensure the purposeful, objective and transparent management of radio frequencies and efficient use of the frequencies available, which will be determined by the Estonian Radio Frequency Allocation Plan. The frequency permit that is required to use the radio frequencies will be granted by the Technical Regulatory Authority.

  • Numeration
    Numeration will be required to provide electronic communication services and the surveillance over this sphere will be organised in accordance with the Numerating Plan of Estonia. The plan will set out the requirements for the numbers, short codes, identification codes and prefixes, required for the provision of electronic communication services. The numeration permit required to use the numeration will be granted by the Technical Regulatory Authority.
  • Access to electronic communication networks and interconnection
    When electronic communications undertaking lacks the network infrastructure required for the provision of electronic communication services to final customers, access to communication network will be used, as a general rule.

    Interconnection represents a special form for the access to electronic communication networks, involving the technical and logical connection of networks by a method that will allow for the provision of services to final customers of interconnected electronic communication networks.
  • Provision of electronic communication services
    Provision of electronic communication services to final customers will take place under a communication service contract. The undertaking will be required to offer the consumer an opportunity to conclude the electronic communication contract for a period of one year. The initial minimum term of a fixed term contract concluded with consumers must not exceed two years.

    Undertakings that wish to provide electronic communication services must be registered in the Commercial register and submit a written notice to the Technical Regulatory Authority before commencing with business.

International organisations

Conférence Européenne des Administrations des Postes et des Télécommunications (CEPT)

Conférence Européenne des Administrations des Postes et des Télécommunications or CEPT for short is an organisation that joins currently 48 member states.

The members of CEPT can be administrations of those postal and telecommunication administrations of European countries that are the members of the Universal Postal Union, or UPU for short, or International Telecommunication Union, or ITU for short.

Conférence Européenne des Administrations des Postes et des Télécommunications (CEPT) »

Goals of CEPT:
  • Strengthening the relations between member states to promote co-operation in the area of European postal and electronic communication
  • Development of common positions for priorities and development of the European postal and electronic communication sector
  • Representation of the interests of the sector at global level, including at the Universal Postal Union and International Telecommunication Union
  • Harmonisation of the use of radio broadcasting frequencies in Europe

CEPT and Estonia

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has been a member of CEPT since August 1993. The Republic of Estonia is represented at CEPT by the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Estonian Technical Regulatory Authority and the Estonian Competition Authority.

Organisation of the work of CEPT

CEPT is run by an assembly that comes together twice a year. Two committees operate at CEPT:
  • Electronic Communications Committee, or ECC for short
  • Comité européen des régulateurs postaux, or CERP for short

The committees are involved in harmonisation, working in working groups and project teams.

European Communications Office and Telecommunications Standards Institute

The managing board and committees of CEPT are advised and assisted by the European Communications Office (ECO), which is a centre of specialist knowledge on postal and electronic communications.

European Communications Office (ECO) »

In 1988, CEPT established the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI), that covers all the activities, related to the standardisation of the sector of telecommunications.

European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) »

International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO)

The International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation aims at ensuring total global access to high-quality telecommunication services by means of communication satellites belonging to Intelsat Ltd.

International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) »

In 2001, ITSO was divided into two units: ITSO and Intelsat Ltd. Until then, ITSO was known under the name of INTELSAT.

Goals of the ITSO:

  • Development of international telecommunication services and ensure their availability in every country and territory
  • Conduct of surveillance over the activities of Intelsat Ltd., mostly involved in the operation of satellite systems, and that the ITSO transferred its satellite system to, complete with orbital positions

ITSO and Estonia

The Republic of Estonia has been a member of the ITSO since 10 April 2007 and Estonia is represented at the ITSO by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

Organisation of work at the ITSO

ITSO is headquartered in Washington D.C. and run by an Assembly of Parties that currently consists of 148 member states. Meetings take place at least once per every two years.

The decisions of the organisation will be adopted by majority vote, with every member state having one vote.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

The International Telecommunication Union is an international organisation working at the United Nations, its members being the governments and private sector representatives of 192 countries.

Regulators, network operators, manufacturers of equipment and devices, hardware and software developers, local standardisation organisations and financial institutions are involved in the activities of the ITU.

The International Telecommunication Union co-ordinates the global development of telecommunication, use of networks and services, gives recommendations for the implementation of uniform standards and assists developing countries in the area of electronic communication.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) »

The ITU pursues the following goals:

  • Extending the international co-operation with the purpose of improving electronic communication

  • Offering assistance to developing countries in the area of telecommunication and facilitates the pooling of resources for the improved availability of telecommunication services

  • Contribution to improving the efficiency of telecommunication services and their availability all over the world

  • Promotion of telecommunication services for the purpose of extending peace-orientated relations

The ITU and Estonia

Estonia has been a member of the ITU since 24 April 1992 and Estonia is represented at the ITU by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Technical Regulatory Authority and the Estonian Competition Authority.

Organisation of work at the ITU

Every four years, the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU will take place to elect the leaders, agree upon further areas of interest and specify the foundation documents.

The operating areas of the ITU are divided into three categories, which are co-ordinated, respectively:

  • The Radio Communications Bureau
  • The Telecommunications Standardisation Bureau
  • The Telecommunications Development Bureau

The work done by the bureaus is supported by research groups that consist of experts and develop recommendations, mostly of a technical nature. All the recommendations given by the ITU are voluntary; however, most countries observe these recommendations. This will ensure the compatibility of both equipment and services, which will help in using the products of different manufacturers without making any additional expenses.


Last updated: 29 June 2020