Ofcom launches wholesale voice market consultation

14 Aug 2020

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on its proposed regulation of the wholesale markets for call services for the period April 2021 to March 2026. Noting that ‘the way people speak to each other on the phone has been changing significantly over time’, and highlighting the fact that the public switched telephone network is ‘coming to end of its life’, the watchdog said that its proposals aimed to ‘reflect the changes occurring in these markets’.

Included among Ofcom’s key proposals are: the deregulation of the wholesale market for landline call origination; the continuation of it setting caps on the charges for terminating landline and mobile calls; a gradual move of the focus of regulation from traditional to more modern interconnection; a requirement for BT to offer interconnection with its IP network for all landline calls at the regulated termination rate from April 2025 onwards; a continued imposition of mobile termination rates (MTRs) on calls to 070 numbers; and a requirement that, for calls originated from abroad, UK providers charge no more than the equivalent rates charged by international counterparties where those are higher than the UK regulated cap.

Responses to the consultation have been invited by a deadline of 8 October 2020, and beyond that Ofcom has said it aims to publish a statement setting out its final decisions ‘before the new regulation will take effect in April 2021’.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Ofcom