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Telecom certification

Do you need a certificate of authority?

  1. Do you provide local or long distance telephone service to Minnesota customers? 
    See Minnesota Statutes 237.16 and 237.74: “No person shall provide telephone service in Minnesota without first obtaining a determination that the person possesses the technical, managerial, and financial resources to provide the proposed telephone services...” Note: the above statutes do not limit “telephone service” to voice service only, and can include data. 
  2. Do you purchase the local or long distance service of another licensed carrier, and “resell” that service to customers? 
    “Resellers” are required to obtain a certificate of authority. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has found that a company that does not own any telephone equipment but has acquired control over customers receiving telephone service must obtain a certificate of authority. For example, a business that labeled itself as a “management company” offering “discounts” off AT&T long distance service was a carrier that needed its own certificate of authority. The business was in control of the rates, and terms and conditions of service for its customers. The fact that the business labeled itself a “management company” did not preclude the Commission from looking at the substance of the company’s business operations to determine whether, in fact, it was a “reseller.” Docket No. P3094/NA-92-534, Commission Order Issued March 23, 1994
  3. Have you acquired a company that is a provider of telephone services? 
    If so, you will need to receive approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the acquisition. See Minnesota Statute 237.23: “It shall be unlawful for any telephone company, corporation, person, partnership, or association subject to the provisions of this chapter to purchase or acquire the property, capital stock, bonds, securities, or other obligations, or the franchises, rights, privileges, and immunities of any telephone company doing business within the state without firs t obtaining the consent of the commission thereto...”

If one of the above applies to you, it is likely that you need a certificate of authority from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.


All telecommunications carriers, telephone companies and service resellers must file an application with the Department of Commerce for a “certificate of authority” to do business in Minnesota. Initial applications must be accompanied by a $570 filing fee. 

All telecommunications providers must pay an annual assessment based on gross state revenues.

In addition to federal, state and municipal taxes, telecommunications carriers that provide local service are required to assess and collect fees for 911, Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP), and Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM). Visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website for more information.

Ongoing Filing Instructions

Certified telecommunication carriers may decide to change or end operations in Minnesota. Download filing instructions (.pdf) for some of the most common filings required.

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