How do I know if I need a PRS licence?

Section 12 of the Act of 2010 states that it is an offence to provide a specified premium rate service (“PRS”) without a licence and all parties involved in the provision of a PRS are required to be licensed.

To avoid any doubt, please ensure that you are aware of whether you qualify as a PRS provider and what constitutes a specified PRS from the definitions below:

What is a PRS Provider?

In accordance with the Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act, 2010, a premium rate service provider means a person who does any, or all, of the following for gain:

  1. provides the contents of a premium rate service,
  2. exercises editorial control over the contents of a premium rate service,
  3. packages together the contents of a premium rate service for the purpose of facilitating its provision,
  4. makes available a facility as part of a premium rate service,
  5. transfers a premium rate service from a content provider to one or more electronic communications networks, or
  6. provides the electronic communications service over which a premium rate service is provided, or provides the electronic communications network over which a premium rate service is transmitted.

What is a Specified PRS?

In accordance with the Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act, 2010, a specified premium rate service is a premium rate service, other than a service which is accessed only via an international call, whereby:

  • the service is accessed by a premium rate number (with a 15XX access code) and the price payable by the end user for each call* exceeds 25 cent** (inclusive of value added tax); or
  • the service is accessed other than by means of a premium rate number and the price payable by the end user for each call exceeds 25 cent (inclusive of value added tax) for each call; or
  • the service is :
  1. a chatline service;
  2. a sexual entertainment service;
  3. a children’s service;
  4. a subscription service or
  5. operated by internet dialler software.

* Call means any communication (whether voice, data, text or otherwise) which passes through an electronic communications network, whether initiated by an end user or initiated by or facilitated by a premium rate service provider, and a “caller” shall be construed accordingly. 

**The 25 cent threshold is based on Eircom’s charge from a standard Eircom fixed line.

There are certain exemptions in place for a premium rate service provider who provides:

  • a premium rate service which comprises directory enquiry services and relevant value added services that are provided using the number range 118XX; or
  • on-demand audiovisual media services, are exempted from acquiring a licence as the two services listed above are not classified as specified premium rate services.

Please also read the Communications Regulation (Licensing of Premium Rate Services) Regulations 2012 for further information as they contain the conditions attached to a licence.