Ofcom has today set the annual licence fees that mobile operators will pay for 900 and 1800 MHZ spectrum, from 31 January 2019.
The operators use these spectrum bands to provide mobile voice and data services, using a mix of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies.
In June, Ofcom published a consultation on the proposed licence fees that should apply for these spectrum bands. Following consideration of the responses, they have concluded that the appropriate ALFs for these bands (expressed in April 2018 prices) are:
- 1.093m per MHz of 900 MHz spectrum; and
- £0.805m per MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum
Ofcom are also consulting on the level of annual licence fees that should apply for the 40 MHz of spectrum in the 3.4 GHz band, and 80 MHz in the 3.6 GHz band, that are licensed to UK Broadband, which is owned by Hutchison 3G UK Limited.
Ofcom have proposed that the fees for both 3.4 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum would be £0.358m per MHz. The consultation runs until 11 February 2019.
Today PSA are publishing their final statement on their DQ review which sets out two new special conditions on pricing transparency at onward call connection and IVR promotions on inactive geographic numbers. The statement and responses to the consultation can be found at this link. Their notice can be found here.
HM Treasury have issued their consultation for PSD2 implementation into UK law and most of the representations that we have made to them on behalf of Network Operators and their Intermediaries since January 2016 are reflected in the consultation questions. See https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementation-of-the-revised-eu-payment-services-directive-psdii
AIME are running two workshops for this next week in London.
The workshop with network operator members is to walk through the impact of the proposed regulation on network operators and to discuss our response to their consultation. Networks affected will be those companies who are providing a payment service to their customers as part of a suite of services that includes telecoms. A payment services is simplistically defined as taking a payment from a network customer for a service supplied by a merchant who is not the network.
The purpose of the workshop is to advise what our response will be to Treasury, to summarise our discussion with FCA and to ensure if any individual responses are being made that we align views to steer government as much as possible to reduce or eliminate the cost to the Telecoms industry of this updated financial regulation.
The Network Operator workshop is on 21st February at PSA’s premises, commencing at 14:30 to 16:30 and will also include MobileUK and PSA representatives.
The Intermediaries workshop is on the 22nd February 10.00 – 12.00 at the same location. The workshop will then be used to formulate AIME’s response on behalf of membership and guide members in their responses to Treasury if they so wish. The workshops will focus on the potential impact on Fixed Line and Mobile Operators and the potential impact on Intermediaries.
AIME will issue a discussion paper and draft Treasury response ahead of the meeting.
Please let Andrea know if you are able to attend the workshops and which one you would like to attend. Spaces to both of these workshops are limited to 20 and we kindly request that no more than 2 representatives from each member company attend to allow space for everyone.
AIME is involved in a number of ongoing regulatory consultations and the workflow that derives from the regulators output. Below is a short summary of each consultation and how we plan to focus our attention during January 2017.
If you would like any further information please access the regulatory consultation section of the AIME website or contact Rory if you would like to discuss any of the points below.
- Project 30 – A PSA initiative working on how their organisation can evolve to better support the Premium Rate industry whilst still protecting the consumer.
AIME has provided input from members to this consultation which closed in October. Suggestions from AIME included greater alignment with other regulators, particularly the ASA and Trading Standards. The PSA responded at the end of 2016 and AIME is currently reviewing their feedback ready for discussion at our quarterly meeting in January.
We will provide members with a summary of PSA’s feedback during January. We will also update members on this development at the AIME General Meeting on 7th February.
- Special Conditions – The PSA have been looking into specific areas of the premium rate industry where there have been high levels of consumer complaints.
AIME has provided input from members to this consultation which closed in October. The PSA published two new special conditions in November 2016 for January implementation. AIME believed that a number of errors were made in the creation of the Special Conditions and this has been communicated to members and to PSA.
One of the main concerns is that the Special Conditions left room for unscrupulous providers to circumvent the rules while adding additional friction for compliant providers, did not address the issue of consumers failing to use the STOP command for subscription services, did not address the issues caused by some “glamour services” as they are not defined as adult entertainment and removed an existing piece of technology based on an unidentified “security issue”.
The proposed special condition for online Adult Services undermined the MNO Age Verification Access Control facilities in place since 2003 and also implied that 15 years olds could access 18+ material.
AIME intends to raise serious concerns about quality of the Special Conditions during the PSA quarterly meeting.
- Project Slimline – A mobile network initiative.
Payforit version 6 has now been published and it allows for a principles based payment facility for lower risk services and companies in exchange for greater monitoring of services and consumer complaints known as Key Performance Indicators plus kept the standard payment scheme for normal risk services. AIME worked with the MNOs to assist with the adaptations needed to cater for the Special Conditions bearing in mind the limited timetable and will continue the discussions to enable a more consumer friendly payment flow to be developed for the services affected by Special Conditions and to resolve some detailed technical issues.
We plan to consult with Members at the Charge to Mobile Working Group on the implementation of Payforit 6.1
- PSD2 – UK Government consultation for Payment Services Directive 2
The Treasury consultation on PSD2 was due to be published in November 2016 but has now been postponed until February. This causes concern as there is less than a year before implementation and capital expenditure to enable compliance has been on hold pending Treasury’s review off the lower cost proposals made in conjunction with Mobile UK. AIME’s concerns over a strict interpretation of PSD2 Telecom exemption are as follows:
- The “Telecom Exemption” is for consumer spend on third party services up to €300 in any month. While PSD2 does not request a “hard stop” on consumer spend (approx 0.4% of consumer exceed €300), to do so would create a disproportionate capital expenditure and to ignore it would cause a regulatory breach. We have proposed a financial licensing regime once the overspending consumer proportion is much higher.
- PSD2 should allow for the Telecom exemption to flow through the value chain. There is a definition issue that we have identified that needs resolution to ensure this is the case.
Our other concerns will be detailed at the AIME GM.
We will be addressing the lack of consultation and the financial impact of the proposals to the Treasury Ministers and DCMS.
- PSA Budget for 2017/18- consultation is in progress.
As the headline proposal is to reduce expenditure by 5% (AIME successfully lobbied for a £500k reduction last year). We do not have any major concerns in this area and will support their proposals. Operationally, there are some areas for further reductions and we continue to be disappointed in historical technology investments, but the proposed reduction in the face of increasing consumer issues shows that we have achieved our objectives.
PhonepayPlus have issued changes to the 13th Code. For full details of the changes please read these on the PPP site on the link below:
AIME will be issuing an email directly to Members regarding the 13th Code later today.