Few people realize that mobile operators, cable TV and TV program providers may also be in the business of providing payment transaction services, however, if they meet certain conditions, like limited network entities, they do not have to apply the provisions of the Payment Services Act, the so-called Mobile Network Operator entities.
Mobile Network Operator entities – definition
According to Art. 6(12) of the Payment Services Law, its provisions do not apply to payment transactions carried out by a telecommunications entrepreneur, made on the occasion of the provision of telecommunications services by it, to an end user, which are added to the charges for such services. The indicated payment transactions can only apply to two cases:
- purchase of digital content or voice services, regardless of the device used to purchase or use the digital content;
- in the context of public collections or for the purchase of tickets (traffic, parking, and tickets of admission to artistic, entertainment or sports events) made by means of or with the use of an electronic device.
The exemption from the application of the Law by telecommunications entities (the so-called telecommunications exception) is also limited by the fulfillment of the two conditions listed below:
- The value of a single transaction does not exceed the equivalent of 50 euros;
- the total value of transactions involving a single user does not exceed the equivalent of 300 euros per month (including when services are prepaid).
The equivalent of amounts expressed in euros in the Polish currency is calculated according to the average exchange rate of the National Bank of Poland, in effect on October 31 of the previous year.
What are the payment services of Mobile Network Operator entities?
Payment transactions that are excluded from the application of the Payment Services Law (in accordance with the PSD2 Directive) relate to goods or services, of small value, delivered through a telecommunications or IT device, in which the telecommunications operator brings additional value in the form of digital content or voice services in addition to acting as an intermediary.
Such goods and services include:
- premium SMS services;
- entertainment services (chat rooms, movies, music and downloadable games);
- Information services (weather, news, sports, stock market information);
- audience services (e.g., voting, contests and live reactions);
- Electronic tickets (transportation, entertainment, parking services, admission to facilities);
- selling ringtones for telephones;
- Charitable donations.
Payment transactions refer to the listed goods and services for which the telecommunications operator charges most often in the form of micropayments or shows on the general ICT bill. According to the regulations, the value of a payment transaction must not exceed a certain threshold, so as to reduce the potential risk of use by customers.
Register of Mobile Network Operator entities
Any telecommunications services entity that also conducts business using payment transactions for the sale of digital content, voice services, public collections or tickets shall submit to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), by March 31 of the following year after the end of the fiscal year, a notification with a description of the services offered. The notification must include a financial audit opinion confirming that the business complies with the limits set by the Payment Services Law.
On the basis of the notification, the FSC shall, within 30 days, make an entry in the maintained Payment Services Register as “an entity conducting activities as defined in Article 6(12) of the Payment Services Law (Mobile Network Operator).”
If the entity’s activities do not meet the requirements for the limits specified in the law, the FSC shall issue a decision to deny the entity’s entry in the register.
In such a situation, the entity is obliged to bring its payment services business into compliance with the requirement of the Law within 3 months from the date of delivery of the decision, or apply for a license to establish a National Payment Institution or Small Payment Institution within this period.
Mobile Network Operator entities in the Register of Payment Services
In Poland, as of March 25, 2023, 8 entities meeting the criteria of Mobile Network Operator entities have been registered.
|Entry number||Name of the entity||Activity||Date of registration|
|MNO5/2019||P 4 Limited Liability Company||PLAY network operator||2019-05-28|
|MNO6/2019||T-Mobile Poland Joint Stock Company||T-MOBILE network operator||2019-06-10|
|MNO2/2019||VikingCo Poland limited liability company||MOBILE VIKINGS network operator||2019-05-02|
|MNO4/2019||UPC Poland Limited liability company||Internet and television provider UPC||2019-05-23|
|MNO1/2019||Canal+ Polska Spółka Akcyjna||Provider of television channels and digital platform CANAL+.||2019-04-29|
|MNO3/2019||Polkomtel limited liability company||PLUS network operator||2019-05-06|
|MNO7/2019||Orange Polska Spółka Akcyjna||ORANGE network operator||2019-06-26|
|MNO8/2020||ASTA-NET Joint Stock Company||Internet and television provider ASTA-NET||2020-04-08|
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