UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that it has decided to open investigations into mobile network operators (MNOs) Hutchison 3G UK (Three) and Vodafone UK to assess their compliance with the EU Open Internet Access Regulation 2015. According to Ofcom, its investigation into Three will examine the cellco’s practices of: restricting tethering; imposing restrictions on the devices in which a SIM can be used; and traffic management practices such as ‘throttling’ or intentionally slowing down particular categories of traffic. Meanwhile, in relation to Vodafone the watchdog will examine: traffic management practices relating to ‘Vodafone Passes’; and the transparency of exceptions to zero rating within the ‘Vodafone Passes’ products.
Ofcom has opened the investigations as part of its own-initiative enforcement programme into fixed and mobile ISP traffic management measures, and other practices covered by the EU Open Internet Access Regulation. In response to the development, ISPreview cited a spokesperson for Three UK as saying that the operator will be ‘working closely with Ofcom to understand their concerns,’ while Vodafone UK issued a statement saying it was ‘very disappointed with Ofcom’s decision to target Vodafone Passes’. The regulator has said too that it will continue to review the information gathered from other fixed and mobile ISPs under this programme, and expects to publish a further update on both investigations and any other relevant work under the programme in June 2018.