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Ofcom’s strategic review of its approach to markets that deliver mobile services

The UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has published a Terms of Reference document, setting out how it will approach its strategic review of the UK’s mobile market.  

In its Plan of Work for 2021/22, Ofcom announced its plans to develop a strategy for its approach to the mobile sector, highlighting the importance of the communications services to the UK’s citizens and businesses.  

Ofcom has announced that it is launching a review in recognition of the importance of mobile, and the need for innovation and ongoing investment in new technologies to keep pace with growing demand—particularly taking into account the significant changes that are taking place within the existing mobile sector (as well as outside it). These changes include: 

  • A growing demand for high-quality mobile connectivity 
  • Changing customer behaviour 
  • Changes to the mobile business model 
  • Impact of these changes on MNO revenues  

It’s noted that this strategic review is a concerted effort by Ofcom to take a more holistic approach to the regulation of mobile, as seen in its regulation of UK’s wholesale telecoms markets in March 2021.  


To ensure that the UK’s mobile services effectively serve and enhance consumers’ lives in the next decade, the scope of the review will include exploration of these key questions:  

  • What will good outcomes for people and businesses look like in five to 10 years’ time? 
  • What impact are changes across the mobile value chain having on the market? 
  • To what extent is the market likely to deliver good outcomes for people and businesses? 

Timescales and approach 

The review will have at least two main phases. The first phase will focus on evidence gathering and understanding people’s and businesses’ use of mobile connectivity, the impact that changes to the mobile value chain are having on the market and the extent to which the market is likely to deliver good outcomes. The second phase will draw initial conclusions and set out any next steps.  

Ofcom anticipates concluding the first phase of the review with the publication of a discussion paper inviting stakeholder views in Q3 2021/22, and the second phase in Q1 2022/23. 

View the Terms of Reference document here

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techUK's Communications Infrastructure Programme brings together government, the regulator, telecom companies and its stakeholders around four themes; shared infrastructure, security and resilience, unlicensed spectrum and our 5G ecosystem. We do so to lower the cost to the sector of deployment, ensure confidence in networks, spur innovation and unlock value for all parties in 5G. This is delivered through a mix of thought leadership, multilateral engagement and ecosystem building.

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