Ofcom announces strategic review of UK telecoms market

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“Strategic Review of Digital Communications” will look at competition, investment & innovation in broadband and mobile space

Ofcom will hold its second strategic review of the UK telecoms sector 10 years after the conclusion of the first, the regulator has announced.

The first Strategic Review of Digital Communications took place between 2003 and 2005 and led to the introduction of rules dictating competitor access to BT’s infrastructure.

Ofcom has announced plans to hold a follow-up review in 2015 that will look at competition, investment, innovation and product accessibility across mobile, fixed line and broadband.

The regulator has highlighted three main areas which it anticipates to be central to the review: incentives for private sector investment; competition; and identifying scope for deregulation.

Ofcom’s acting chief executive Steve Unger said: “We have seen huge changes in the phone and broadband markets since our last major review a decade ago. Only five years ago, hardly any of us had used a tablet computer, high-definition streaming or 4G mobile broadband.

“The boundaries between landline, mobile and broadband services continue to blur, and people are enjoying faster services on a growing range of devices.

“Our new review will mean Ofcom’s rules continue to meet the needs of consumers and businesses by supporting competition and investment for years to come.”

The first phase of the review will see Ofcom contact stakeholders across the UK telecoms space to discuss current and future market factors and current regulatory approaches. This will lead to a discussion document which the regulator said will be published in the summer.

Ofcom expects to outline initially conclusions from the review by the end of the year and says this review will be carried out independently from its three year review of individual telecoms sectors.

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