Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

FCC Streamlines and Overhauls its Foreign Ownership Review

Download Options

Released: April 18, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).



April 18, 2013
Neil Grace: (202) 418-0506

FCC Streamlines and Overhauls its Foreign Ownership Review

Under 310(b) of the Communications Act

Reduces Barriers to Investment in U.S. Companies with Common Carrier Wireless Licenses

Washington, D.C. – As part of its ongoing regulatory reform efforts, the Federal Communications
Commission today streamlined its policies and procedures for reviewing foreign ownership of U.S.
companies with common carrier wireless licenses and certain aeronautical radio licenses under sections
310(b)(3) and 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act. Commission staff estimates these reforms will lower
the number of section 310(b) petitions for declaratory ruling filed with the Commission annually by up to 70
percent. The changes will also reduce dramatically the number of hours that applicants and licensees spend
in preparing and submitting required filings, while ensuring the Commission continues to receive the
information it needs to fulfill its public interest obligations under section 310(b) of the Act.
The reforms outlined in the Foreign Ownership Second Report and Order will reduce regulatory costs and
burdens and provide greater transparency and predictability in foreign ownership filing requirements and the
review process. Significantly, today’s action will facilitate investment in wireless networks – a critical
component of the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure – while continuing to protect important
interests related to national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, and trade policy.
Under the new rules and policies outlined in the Foreign Ownership Second Report and Order, the
Commission will, among other things:
Eliminate the distinction between foreign investment from WTO Member countries and non-WTO
Member countries;
Streamline the review of foreign investment by (1) requiring that petitioners identify only those
foreign investors that would hold equity and/or voting interests of greater than five percent, and in
certain situations greater than ten percent; (2) allowing petitioners to request specific approval for
any named foreign investor (even those holding interests below these amounts) to increase its equity
and/or voting interest at some future time; and (3) permitting petitioners, under section 310(b)(4), to
request specific approval for any named foreign investor that proposes to acquire a controlling
interest to increase the interest to 100 percent at some future time;
Issue new declaratory rulings with a 100 percent aggregate allowance for unnamed and future
foreign investors, provided that the licensee obtains approval before any foreign investor acquires an
interest greater than five percent (or ten percent in certain situations);
Allow the licensee’s “subsidiaries and affiliates” to rely on the licensee’s foreign ownership ruling
rather than having to file a new petition for declaratory ruling, if the foreign ownership of the
licensee and the subsidiary or affiliate are in compliance with the terms of the licensee’s ruling and

Commission’s rules;
Allow licensees to introduce new foreign-organized entities into the approved vertical ownership
chain in certain cases without prior approval, provided that the new foreign-organized entity is under
100 percent common ownership and control with a previously-approved foreign investor; and
Eliminate the practice of issuing service- and geographic specific rulings, and instead permit a
licensee with a foreign ownership ruling to add new services and new geographic service areas
without filing a new petition for declaratory ruling.
Action by the Commission April 18, 2013, by Second Report and Order (FCC 13-50). Chairman
Genachowski, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai. Separate statements issued by Chairman
Genachowski,Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai. Commissioner McDowell not participating.
Docket No.: IB Docket No. 11-133
– FCC –
For further information, contact Neil Grace, Office of Media Relations at (202) 418-0506; (202) 418-0431
(TTY); email:
For more news and information about the FCC please visit:

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.