Universal and non-universal postal services

Universal Postal Service

The universal postal service includes both domestic and cross-border services and comprises the following:

  • the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of postal items up to 2 kg;
  • the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of postal parcels provided at single piece tariff up to 10 kg;
  • the delivery of postal parcels provided at single piece tariff coming from other Member States and weighing up to 20 kg;
  • the services for registered items and insured items.

Non-addressed items are not considered to be postal items. Companies delivering unaddressed publicity for instance are consequently not subject to the postal regulation.

Non-universal postal services

Addressed items that do not fall within the weight limits of the universal service (2 kg for letters, direct mail, newspapers and periodicals – 10 kg for postal parcels and 20 kg for parcels coming from other Member States) are considered to be non-universal postal items.

Since the entry into force of the Act of 26 January 2018 on postal services, the delivery of bulk parcels is excluded from the universal service.

Regardless of the weight of the items, postal services and value-added postal items, such as the express services are also excluded from the universal service.

Designation of the universal service provider

bpost has been initially designated by law as universal service provider until 31 December 2018. bpost will then continue to provide the universal service on the basis of a management contract concluded with the State for a period of five years, i.e. until 31 December 2023.

This means that bpost is obliged to provide the universal postal service on the entire territory at a defined quality and a reasonable price.

Other companies may also provide universal postal services albeit that for the provision of a service of items of correspondence – registered or not – within the universal service a licence has to be obtained beforehand from BIPT.