International Telecom Providers: Failure to Obtain a Section 214 License May Result in Enormous Forfeitures

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

214 licenseThe Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently sent a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (the “Notice”) to PTT Phone Cards, Inc. d/b/a Star Pinless (“PTT”), proposing penalties of close to $500,000.00 for, among other things, PTT’s alleged failure to obtain International 214 authority before providing international telecommunications services.

The Importance of Obtaining a Section 214 License

As we have reported, all providers of telecommunications services (regardless of whether they are domestic or international carriers) that supply international outbound services to the general public from the United States to any foreign destination must obtain an International Section 214 license from the FCC before offering or providing such services.

While there are a number of benefits associated with obtaining this license, as the recent Notice demonstrates, the potential penalties are significant for failure to secure 214 approval.

FCC Proposes Enormous Forfeitures for Failure to Obtain Section 214 License

Following a year and a half long investigation, the FCC proposed penalties totaling $493,327.00 against PTT for “apparent” and continuing “violations.”  PTT, one of the largest companies in the prepaid calling card business, has sold its calling card products and services both online and in physical locations, such as grocery and convenience stores.  Among other alleged violations, the FCC accused PTT of willfully and repeatedly failing to: (i) obtain Section 214 approval; (ii) report certain revenues on FCC Form 499-A; and (iii) pay required regulatory fees in connection with its annual reports required to be submitted to the FCC.

In the Notice, the FCC indicated that PTT was providing international telecommunications services for over three years without applying for Section 214 authority – and only applied for such authority after the FCC alerted it to its investigation.   The FCC found PTT liable to pay a “forfeiture” of $100,000.00 for its willful or repeated failure to obtain a Section 214 license before providing international telecommunications services.  The FCC further found PTT liable for failing to timely file annual reporting worksheets in connection with FCC Form 499-A in the amount of $150,000.00 ($50,000.00 for each year at issue).  The remaining penalties/forfeitures were for other purported violations by PTT, which the FCC coined an utter “disregard of virtually all of its regulatory obligations for over three years.”

Bottom Line: Get Licensed

The Notice should serve as a warning to all providers of telecommunications services that supply outbound services to the general public from the United States to any foreign destination.  We routinely file 214 license applications and similar state Public Service Commission telecom applications on behalf of our clients.  As demonstrated by the PTT case, the time and expense involved in this process is relatively nominal compared with the potential forfeitures for failing to obtain licensure.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or if you require FCC or state telecom licensing representation, please e-mail us at, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal or tax advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal or tax advice from an attorney or tax advisor.  Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

Attorney Advertising

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

Schedule a Call
In The Know

Trending Topics

New York Sweepstakes Law blog- Klein Moynihan Turco

New York Sweepstakes Law: Are You Compliant?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In general, a lottery exists when entrants pay for the chance to win a prize. States alone reserve the right to administer lotteries. Businesses can eliminate one element of what would otherwise be an illegal lottery, in order to transform it into a legal promotional game. If the requirement to

TCPA surveys

An Ad or not an Ad: NY Weighs in on TCPA Surveys

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Another day, another court decision that refines constitutes a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) unsolicited fax advertisement. A Manhattan-based federal court recently issued a decision that removes faxed invitations to participate in a survey from the TCPA definition of advertisement. In drawing this distinction for TCPA surveys, the Court held

NY sports gambling law- Klein Moynihan Turco

Agreement Reached to Enact NY Sports Gambling Law

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed to a budget deal that will bring mobile sports betting to the State through a unique NY sports gambling law.  Upon the Governor’s signature, NY sports gambling is primed to become the nation’s largest market. However, New York

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In September of 2020, the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) reviewed the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based social media influencers to determine whether content was being properly flagged as advertising in accordance with applicable social media influencer laws. This past March, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”)

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin