FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Communications Division is responsible for regulating and enforcing compliance with conditions and obligations imposed on local electronic communications providers. We also monitor the state of competition within the local markets and issue regular guidance and advice for consumers both on our website and via our various social media outlets. This ensures that you, the consumer, can make informed choices about the services you choose to purchase, and we make every effort to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights in respect of these services.
Simply send us an email with your query to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist. You may also contact us via telephone on (+350) 20074636 and ask to speak to a member of the Communications Division. Alternatively, you may also write to us by post at the following address:
Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
2nd Floor, Eurotowers 4
1 Europort Road
2. COMPLAINTS & DISPUTES
All service providers must have a code of practice for the handling of complaints and disputes. This code of practice must be offered to you free of charge and must also be available on your service provider's website. Amongst other things, the code of practice should explain exactly how you can lodge a complaint with your provider and more importantly, what process they will follow in order to deal with your complaint.
In addition to this, you should also take the following steps:
- Where possible, lodge a complaint in writing, explaining your problem clearly and specifying how you expect the service provider to resolve your complaint.
- State your name and relevant contact details.
- Support your case with copies of any relevant documentation. Remember you should always retain the original copies of any correspondence or official documentation such as contracts and bills.
- Identify the service providers representative/s you are dealing with, including date and time of your interactions.
- Always keep a copy of any written communications you have exchanged with the service provider.
- Ask for action within a reasonable period.
The extent of the action the GRA can take in relation to your complaint or dispute depends on the nature of the complaint/dispute and the GRA’s relevant legal powers. If the complaint/dispute involves issues that are regulated under the Communications Act 2006 or its subsidiary regulations, then the GRA may intervene. In instances where the GRA is unable to intervene directly, the GRA may be able to suggest alternative courses of action by referring you to the appropriate body.
To put it simply, a complaint often refers to an expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance, relating to your own personal experiences with one or more of the services provided by your service provider. Complaints may relate to billing matters, contract issues and even unwarranted disconnection of your services.
A dispute is essentially an unresolved complaint, whereby the complainant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint and both parties require a third party to step in and resolve the dispute.
The GRA can handle complaints received from consumers of electronic communications services and provides a quick and simple way for consumers to raise genuine concerns about the communications industry or their own personal grievances. All you must do is complete and submit the GRA’s complaint form which can be found on our website https://www.gra.gi/communications/consumers/consumer-complaints-and-disputes. You will then simply be asked to provide all the relevant information so that we may consider your complaint.
In some instances, you may be requested to contact your service provider first to deal with your complaint.
For the GRA to assess your dispute, you must have first raised it with your service provider and finalised their dispute resolution procedures. If you are not happy and feel that your matter remains unresolved, you may raise the dispute with the GRA by completing and submitting the GRA’s dispute resolution form which can be found on our website https://www.gra.gi/communications/consumers/consumer-complaints-and-disputes.
You may also refer to the GRA’s Consumer Disputes procedures which explains the process the GRA will follow in order to resolve your dispute.
Yes, both the GRA’s complaints form and dispute resolution request form may be downloaded from our website and completed offline. You may then submit the relevant form by email, post or in person to the following address:
Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
2nd Floor, Eurotowers 4
1 Europort Road
You may contact the GRA’s Communications Division via telephone on (+350) 20074636, or by email at email@example.com and explain your issue. We will then provide relevant guidance and advice on the matter.
The GRA is tasked with the management of the Gibraltar Numbering Plan and our role is to balance the need to conserve this national resource whilst ensuring that there is always an adequate supply of numbers to support the demand of both new and existing customers and service providers.
The GRA’s tasks include:
- Assigning numbers;
- Ensuring that numbers are used in accordance with the rules and procedures set out in the GRA’s Notice on Numbering Conventions and;
- Monitoring number utilisation and implementing number changes as and when required.
For further information, please click on the link below:
4. NUMBER PORTABILITY
Number Portability enables you to retain your existing fixed or mobile number when switching to another local service provider.
You can transfer your existing fixed or mobile number to another service provider at any time by following these steps:
- Check your existing contract for any possible early termination fees and settle outstanding balances.
- Contact the new service provider you wish to change to in order to start the porting process.
- Do not terminate your fixed or mobile service with your existing provider before contacting another provider. This will be done by your new service provider.
- Give your new service provider your fixed or mobile number and any other additional information as requested and they will handle the rest on your behalf as part of the porting process.
Once the “agreement” to port is in place, the request should be processed within one business day.
It is important that you contact and inform your new service provider of any issues that you encounter during the porting process. Your new service provider is responsible to ensure that the porting process is completed and that any issues that may arise during the process are resolved.
5. PREMIUM RATE NUMBERS
Premium rate numbers are telephone numbers used to offer value added services and usually allow access to weather and sailing information, horoscopes and voting for competitions etc. Subscribers are often charged at higher than usual rates.
What are the premium rate numbers in Gibraltar and how do I know whether a number is a premium number or not?
In order to help you identify a premium rate number you should consider the following points:
- Premium rate numbers may be shorter than local telephone numbers, for example any four digit number such as “8602” etc.
- Premium rate numbers can also take the form of any 8 digit local number such as, “200XXXXX” etc.
- Look out for the applicable tariff charge as this information is made public when the specific premium service is advertised or referred to; and
- Contact your service provider for information on specific premium numbers.
Wi-Fi is the radio signal sent from a wireless router to a nearby device, which translates the signal into data you can see and use. The device transmits a radio signal back to the router, which connects to the Internet by wire or fibre.
A Wi-Fi network is simply an Internet connection that’s shared with multiple devices in a home or business via a wireless router. The router is connected directly to your internet modem and acts as a hub to broadcast the internet signal to all your Wi-Fi enabled devices. This gives you flexibility to stay connected to the internet as long as you’re within your network coverage area.
7. MOBILE DATA
Unlike Wi-Fi which is limited to your network coverage area, mobile data allows you to gain wireless access to the Internet, when not connected to Wi-Fi. Essentially, mobile data is Internet content delivered to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets over a wireless mobile connection which allows you to read emails, browse the Internet, share photos online, stream movies, or use social networking sites, to name a few.
You need to have a data enabled mobile device in order to enjoy data services and a mobile subscription with a service provider that offers data services. If you have mobile data services enabled on your mobile phone, you can use the Internet on your phone even when Wi-Fi is not readily available. Many mobile telephony packages available on the market offer a pre-determined amount of data as part of the subscription plan. Some service providers also offer you the possibility of purchasing additional data bundles, over and above the allocated data allowance.
The amount of mobile data that you will need will depend very much on how often you intend to use your data services. For example, if you use the Internet on your mobile phone to watch videos and download large files, you will consume more data than if you use the Internet to read your emails or to browse websites – remember that usage when on a Wi-Fi network does not count as part of your data plan so if you think you are going to be using a lot of data try and log on to a Wi-Fi network first. Understanding your monthly data usage will help you choose the right mobile data plan for you.
With increased smartphone usage comes increased mobile data traffic, therefore in the first instance you should try and familiarise yourself with your chosen mobile plan and be aware of how much data that includes.
If you are a mobile plan subscriber, you should receive notifications when you reach certain limits, after which your data usage will be barred until additional data is purchased, or the threshold is extended. Always check with your provider which notifications will be sent to you and how.
We know it can sometimes be difficult to appreciate how much data is consumed in megabytes or gigabytes as they are not as tangible as traditional voice minutes or SMS messages.
There are data monitoring applications for both Android and Apple smartphones which provide valuable insight into how you can control or make better use of your mobile data. Your mobile operator may even have procedures which enable you to check your data usage.
3G stands for ‘Third Generation Network’, similarly, 4G stands for ‘Fourth Generation Network’. Both 3G and 4G mobile networks enable you to access mobile data, however the speed of the Internet connection is the main differential factor between the two networks. 4G networks provide higher Internet speeds when compared to a 3G network. Due to the higher speeds offered by a 4G network, you are more likely to engage in increased online activity, which directly impacts the amount of mobile data consumed. Similarly, 5G networks allow for even faster upload and download speeds.
What does all of this mean for you as a consumer? Well, it means that greater amounts of information can transfer between devices faster than ever before which should allow you to experience faster Internet speeds. 5G mobile networks are capable of supporting many more devices such as cars, home appliances or smart traffic metering.
There are various measures you can take to avoid unnecessary data consumption and the following are some examples:
- Make sure you turn off the mobile data facility on your phone. Even if you are not using the Internet, certain applications (or “apps”) may continue working in the background and consequently consume your mobile data allowance.
- Alternatively, if you do not want to turn off your mobile data, you can restrict the background consumption of data (as some mobile apps consume data even when you are not using them) by individually selecting which applications may or may not use your mobile data. We suggest you review your mobile settings accordingly.
- Connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot/network whenever this is possible. Today, many public establishments offer free Wi-Fi facilities which will usually allow you to use unlimited data.
- Avoid using your mobile phone as a personal hotspot whilst using mobile data (unless necessary) as other wireless devices can connect and consume data from your mobile data package.
- Review the settings of your social media accounts. Facebook, for example, has a feature which automatically plays videos that feature on your timeline. This will result in a considerably higher amount of mobile data consumption. You can stop this by changing your Facebook settings to run such videos only when connected to Wi-Fi or to not play videos automatically.
Yes, you can use the Internet on your mobile phone when travelling. When you are abroad there are certain mechanisms which help you to prevent any data bill shocks. For further information look at the section on Roaming found below.
International roaming is a service that allows you to use your current mobile service with your local service provider when abroad. Since your mobile service provider does not provide its services outside Gibraltar, it has agreements with foreign mobile service providers allowing you to make and receive voice calls, send and receive SMS’s, and use other services such as data services, whilst you are travelling abroad.
Before travelling abroad, it is very important that you contact your mobile service provider and check:
- how much you will be charged when using your phone in the destination country, including voice calls, SMS and data usage rates for internet access.
- which foreign service provider best fits your needs and offers the cheapest roaming rates, and how to manually choose your preferred foreign service provider when travelling outside of Gibraltar.
When travelling within any EU country, you should be charged the same as if you were using your mobile phone at home, often referred to as “roam like at home” (RLAH). Essentially, when roaming within the EU your domestic rates should apply.
However, with Gibraltar’s departure from the EU, surcharge-free roaming for customers of Gibraltar mobile network providers is no longer guaranteed. Some operators are now applying additional surcharges for roaming and so you should contact your mobile service provider and check the applicable rates before you travel.
The “roam like at home” (RLAH) measures do not apply in countries outside the EU, therefore international roaming costs in some countries can be very expensive especially in relation to mobile data usage. Therefore, we suggest you check with your mobile service provider how much you will be charged for making and/or receiving calls, SMS’s and data usage when you plan to travel outside the EU.
Yes, when you first arrive in any foreign country you will automatically receive a welcome notification (usually by SMS) which includes basic personalised roaming charges that apply when making and receiving calls, sending SMS’s and data usage.
You should also receive an additional text message each time you change mobile network provider.
Out of bundle data usage whilst roaming is capped at a default limit of £42, however you can change this limit to a financial value of your choice or request to remove it altogether so that you are not capped at all when using data abroad (not recommended as foreign data charges may be high in certain destinations). This is referred to as whitelisting.
Data usage whilst roaming (other than within the EEA) is not included in data bundles or monthly allowances.
Accidental roaming happens because your mobile phone may automatically log onto a different service provider’s network even when you are within your local service provider’s mobile coverage area. In Gibraltar’s case, you may start roaming on a network belonging to a service provider from a neighbouring country such as Spain or Morocco.
In order to avoid this, you should regularly check the network selected on your mobile phone to avoid accidental roaming which could result in higher service charges. We recommend that you manually select your local network on your mobile phone’s menu as opposed to setting network selection to “automatic” as an extra precaution.
For further information, please refer to the GRA’s guidance on Roaming.
9. THE INTERNET
With such a vast range of broadband packages to choose from, it is important that you first establish what type of web user you are. To help you make an informed decision, we have matched the type of broadband products that would be most suitable to different web users.
- Users who log on to the internet to access their emails and browse the web
If you intend to use the internet just to check your emails and browse websites, it is advisable to choose an entry-level broadband service, in order to avoid paying for super-fast speeds that you may not need. This may be an internet speed ranging between 20Mbps and 100Mbps. Additionally, it is also important that you seek advice from your service provider when choosing an internet package.
- Users engaging in activities such as video streaming and online gaming
If you regularly stream videos, download large files or are a big enthusiast of online gaming, you will probably require an internet package which has fast speeds that support this kind of activity. The same applies to households in which a number of different persons are likely to access the internet regularly and simultaneously on multiple devices. In this instance, an ideal internet package may be one that offers downloads speeds of 500Mbps or more.
- Business Users
Depending on the type of business you run, you may wish to subscribe to one of the packages exclusively designed by service providers for business users. These packages would normally include additional features such as 24 hour support, strict service level agreements and multiple fixed line numbers which may be necessary for the type of business you operate. Additionally, service providers would also be able to propose tailor-made solutions to fit the needs of your business.
The download speed indicates how fast you can retrieve data from the internet, such as when reading an email, streaming a video or downloading a file. On the other hand, upload speeds indicate how fast you send data from your device to the internet and other devices, such as when sending files via email, using video-chat, publishing pictures on social media etc. Some connections are designed to download data much faster than they upload, since this activity is more common and frequent than the uploading activity. However, many service providers now also offer symmetric broadband services whereby both download and upload speeds are the same. Download activity is measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB).
10. SUBSCRIBING TO AN ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE
In order to check what services you can subscribe to, you should talk to the service provider concerned and/or visit their website for further information. These may include fixed and mobile telephony and broadband services, amongst other services. Depending on your service provider, these services may either be sold separately or as part of a bundle.
Please note that some services may be subject to a minimum contract period, for example 12 months, so make sure you check this with your chosen service provider before subscribing.
Before selecting a service provider, it is important to consider what is most important to you, whether it is the cost, quality, speed, contract duration or the associated customer services to name a few. You should also consider your particular usage patterns, for instance, how often you use the service and remember to shop around and compare the offers available before committing.
When you subscribe to an electronic communications service, make sure you:
- Always keep a copy of your contract, receipts, invoices and any formal communications exchanged with your service provider. If you conclude your contract online, print or save a copy;
- Ensure that the services that are provided conform to the description and meet the specifications set out in your contract; and
- When communicating with the service provider, take note of who you speak to, record the date, time and the main outcome of your communication as this may be useful in the event that a complaint or dispute arises.
Please refer to the GRA’s tips on Contract Information and the key items to look out for. This can be found in the guidance section of the GRA’s website. Additionally, you should also take note of the following:
- Read all the terms and conditions attached to the service you are considering subscribing to.
- Contact your service provider’s customer care representative if you do not understand any part of the contract or terms and conditions.
11. TERMINATION OF SERVICE
- Follow the disconnection procedure as specified in your contract. If you are not in possession of your contract, you can contact your service provider to enquire about the disconnection procedure.
- Ensure that any outstanding bills are settled.
- Ensure that any broadband routers or terminal equipment located at your home are handed back to the service provider upon termination if this is required.
If I decide to terminate my contract before the initial term has expired, will I be charged an early termination fee?
Contracts which establish a minimum contractual period are normally subject to an early termination fee. You should review your contract or enquire with your service provider to verify whether this is applicable in your case.
12. NON-PAYMENT OF BILLS
What happens if I fail to pay all or part of my bill in respect of my chosen electronic communications service?
Your service provider may take measures to enforce payment or disconnection in accordance with their requirements under Condition 9 of Notice C08/21 which is a set of conditions applicable to all local service providers.
However, these measures shall:
- be proportionate and not unduly discriminatory;
- give due warning to you, the subscriber, beforehand of any consequent service interruption or disconnection; and
- except in cases of fraud, persistent late payment or non-payment, confine any service interruption to the service concerned, as far as technically feasible.
13. MODIFICATIONS TO TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Yes, service providers can change the terms and conditions of your contract. In doing so, service providers must inform you one (1) month prior to the implementation of the said changes, in writing.
If my service provider proposes changes to my contract, do I have the right to terminate the service if I am longer happy with it?
Yes, if you disagree with these changes, you have the right to withdraw from the contract without incurring any penalties.
14. ACCESS TO BILLS
You will receive a standard bill if you are subscribed to an electronic communications service such as telephony and broadband. As a minimum a standard bill should include information on the types of services or bundles you are subscribed to, and total dues for a defined billing period.
As a subscriber of electronic communications services such as broadband or fixed or mobile telephony, you can request an itemised bill which should provide you with additional levels of detail such as, but not limited to, the duration of the services charged (usage times) as well as the telephone number of the called party. This service will either be provided to you free of charge of for a reasonable fee.
Please note that if you are a pre-paid subscriber of electronic communications services, you will not receive a bill.
Yes, however every service provider may adopt different mechanisms on how subscribers can access their bills electronically. Some service providers have an online system or portal where you can log onto with your personalised username and password and access your bills. Please contact your service provider for further information.
If you do not have an internet connection, your provider will usually send your bill via mail. Please contact your service provider for further information.