Ofcom announces Strategic Review of UK telecommunications sector
Ofcom today set out the terms and timing of its forthcoming
Strategic Review of the UK telecommunications sector. The Review,
which will begin in January 2004 and will run to the end of the year,
will be the first comprehensive assessment of the sector for 13
The Review will explore:
- The importance of telecommunications to the UK economy, and the
extent to which the sector benefits from competition, including the
fixed, mobile, narrowband and broadband markets.
- The extent to which competition and/or regulation has delivered
the goals of lower prices, higher quality of service and wider choice
for service providers and consumers.
- UK consumers' perspectives on those markets, including the value
they place on different products and services. The Review will
examine this in the context of the experience of consumers in other
countries. It will also seek comparisons with the range of products
and services offered to UK consumers by companies in sectors other
- Investment and innovation trends in the industry and the
significance of emerging technologies as a driver of new
opportunities for service providers and consumers.
- The scope for effective competition at all levels in the
telecommunications markets and the extent to which that competition
is likely to be sustainable in the foreseeable future. The project
team leading this Review will report directly to Ofcom Chief
Executive Stephen Carter.
Stephen Carter said: "The arrival of the new converged
communications regulator, 19 years after the privatisation of BT and
the creation of Oftel, presents a unique opportunity to look afresh
at these important and dynamic markets."
The outcomes from this wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis
will inform Ofcom's future approach to the telecommunications sector.
This will include the creation of a new strategic regulatory
framework. This framework will set out opportunities to withdraw from
regulation, wherever appropriate, as well as identifying areas where
regulation is effective and should be retained, or applied in a
The Strategic Review will build on the work of the outgoing
telecommunications regulator, Oftel. It will be completed in time to
inform an assessment of the new EU market review framework as
implementation of this is completed across Europe. The Review will
consist of three phases:
- Phase 1 - Assessment and prospects in the telecommunications
sector. This phase will explore the extent of competition in key
markets, the effectiveness of regulation, investment and innovation
trends and the prospects for the sector in the future.
- Phase 2 - Options for Ofcom's strategic approach to
telecommunications regulation, including identifying options to
withdraw from regulation and alternative approaches to regulation.
- Phase 3 - Ofcom's strategic regulatory framework. This third and
final phase will set out the key challenges to competition in the
sector and Ofcom's response to those challenges. It will include
details of Ofcom's regulatory approach to the sector in future,
together with a plan for the implementation of any changes required.
Whilst the Review is underway - but prior to its completion -
Ofcom will maintain continuity of telecommunications regulation by
taking forward the evolution of policy inherited from Oftel. However,
should any major strategic issues arise in the next few months, they
would be considered in the context of the ongoing Strategic Review.
A detailed summary of the Review can be found at www.ofcom.org.uk
Notes for Editors and CSEs
Ofcom will be the UK's new communications industry regulator with
wide-ranging responsibilities across the UK's communications markets
when it assumes its powers on 29 December 2003.
Ofcom will inherit the duties of the five existing regulators it
will replace - the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent
Television Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the
An independent regulatory body, Ofcom will also fulfil the
additional duties enacted in the provisions laid down in the
Communications Act 2003.
For further details please visit www.ofcom.org.uk
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
ots Original Text Service: Ofcom
Ofcom Media Office (+44) (0) 20 7981 3033