What is the Universal Service?
The Universal Service is a safety net to ensure that at least a set of specified minimum services are available to all end-users. The Universal Service should be available at an affordable price to consumers where a risk of social exclusion may prevent citizens from full social and economic participation in society.
The universal services in Malta are specified by the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), and include the following:
- Access at a fixed location, including functional internet access
If you are moving to Malta and would like a fixed telephone line service and/or internet access, you can contact a telecommunications company to help you have the services and they will guide you according to your needs.
A charge may be applicable if the service provider needs to visit your premises to install the services you requested to subscribe to. Charges could also be applicable if you decide to transfer the service to new premises and an installation is required. If you are moving to a household and wish to keep the services currently installed in those premises, you would be required to submit a change of ownership request, in which case a minimal administrative fee could be applicable. ‘If you are subscribed to a fixed telephony service or to a bundle of services which includes a fixed telephony service and wish to switch provider and retain the same fixed telephony number, you must visit one of the retail outlets of the new service provider and complete a porting form and subscribe to a new service package of your choice. During this process, the existing subscription with your previous service provider will be terminated.
Alternatively, in case you wish to simply terminate a fixed internet service or a fixed telephony service, you must inform your current service provider and submit a request for termination of services. Be aware that early termination fees could be applicable if you are terminating a service before the expiry of a contract. More information, is available on MCA’s website at https://www.mca.org.mt/consumer/faqs. In case you have an issue with the service provider and cannot reach an amicable solution to solve the problem, you can open a complaint with the MCA on the following link https://www.mca.org.mt/consumer/help.
In case that no telecommunications companies are in a position to provide a connection at a fixed location and/or internet connection, the designated service provider is required to provide such services.
- Directory Enquiry Services and Directories
If you would like your details to be included as part of an online comprehensive telephone directory, you can simply contact your telephone service provider in Malta with your request. In this case, you will be asked to provide your consent in line with data protection rules. The details will then be made available to other service providers who provide directory services.
The universal service provider is also required to provide an online comprehensive directory service, including also directory mobile app to facilitate end-users look-up numbers registered with all local service providers.
- Public Pay Telephones
The designated service provider is required to make available a number of public payphones which are located in each locality of the Maltese islands (including Gozo). A prepaid telephone card is required to use the service which enables both local and international call. These cards can be purchased from any retail outlet of the universal service provider or authorised resellers.
- Specific Measures for Disabled Users
Specific services are being offered by the designated operator to facilitate the use of telecommunication services by people with special needs including the elderly. These services include:
- One call per week, free of charge, to a directory enquiry service available to visually impaired persons; and
- A service allowing easy access to emergency or assistance service available to elderly or people with special needs, referred to as ‘Telecare’ service. A special telephone set is provided to such subscribers. The service includes an alarm function that once activated, either by means of a large button on the telephone set, or by means of a portable pendant, automatically dials a Control Centre.
Users may wish to also consult FITA’s website (The Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility) for information about any services offered by this Foundation to assist disabled individuals in the selection, acquisition, or use of assistive technology.
- Reduced Tariff Options
Vulnerable users on low income or with special social needs are eligible to benefit from a reduced fixed line rental. A number of criteria established by the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity are required to be met in order to benefit from this assistance. The designated undertaking is required to provide this service.
- Ensuring Users can Control Expenditure
The universal service provider offers facilities which allows end-users to monitor and control their costs related to fixed telephony services and avoid any unwanted disconnection of services. These facilities include:
- A free of charge selective call barring for outgoing calls to mobile, international and premium rate services; and
- Pre-payment services which allows control on the costs of their phone bill up-front.
The designated Universal service provider in Malta for the provision of all the above mentioned services is currently GO plc. You can get in touch with GO plc by dialling +35680072121 or visiting its website for further information https://www.go.com.mt.
If you wish further detailed information on the Universal Service components mentioned above kindly contact MCA offices on +35621336840 or send enquires on https://www.mca.org.mt/contact.
Last Updated on 06/05/2020