Telecoms & VAT: network management services

The objective of network management services is to maximise the productivity and efficiency of a telecoms network.  The five key areas include:

  • Configuration management
  • Performance management
  • Default management
  • Security management
  • Accounting management

An example of a network management service could be “call and call-back” services.  If network management services are treated as ancillary to the provision of telecoms services then the VAT treatment falls within the Telecoms Directive.  However, because network management services can be provided separately from telecoms services it is not so clear-cut that they are in fact “ancillary” services. 

The fact that network management protocols are based on the transmission of data and the evaluation of the reactions of the system appear to indicate that NMS are within the definition of the Telecoms Directive which includes services relating to the the transmission, emission, or reception of signals, writing, images and sounds or information of any nature.  A good NMS ensures the most efficient use of telecoms capacity.

However, not all EU member states regard network management services as telecoms services for VAT purposes.  Some states treat NMS as “advisory” services.  In other countries they will be considered as advisory or telecoms services depending upon whether they are regarded as ancillary to a telecoms service in which case they will be labelled as telecoms services.