Premium rate regulation extended across the value chain from 1 September 2011


News item topics are like buses – nothing happens for weeks or months, then everything happens at once. Following yesterday’s publication of the Phonepayplus annual plan and a market study, today Ofcom approved Phonepayplus’ 12th edition of its Code of Practice, which will become effective from 1 September 2011.

For those not familiar with UK premium rate regulation, Phonepayplus is a slightly odd organisation. At a very top level it regulates the content and marketing of premium rate services. It started life in the 1980s as a self-regulatory organisation (ICSTIS) which was only given statutory backing in 2003. When operating as a self-regulatory body it could only operate through network operator applied sanctions – in essence withholding of money or ceasing service provision. Over time Phonepayplus has increasingly applied regulation directly, and one of the key changes from September is to continue that trend by directly applying the new Code to those providing or marketing premium rate services, whilst extending existing network operator due diligence requirements (which in theory should already pass down the value through contractual mechanisms) directly to various intermediaries not currently directly covered.

The new Code will also extend the scope of registration requirements, streamline certain investigation and sanction processes, and require PRS service providers to have effective complaints procedures and take measures to minimise ‘bill shock’.

About Rob Bratby

Telecommunications, media and technology lawyer advising companies across Europe and Asia
This entry was posted in Fixed, Mobile, Payment, Regulatory action, Telecoms, UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Premium rate regulation extended across the value chain from 1 September 2011

  1. harry says:

    PPP are at it again. Whilst industry believe that regulation should be clear and it should use all of its powers to remove so called scammers. PPP itself is a scammer. Its history is flawed and its current fine mechanism is liable to internal abuse.

    The PPP SCAM – the fines it collects are used to fund its business £4m pa. It therefore has a vested interest in keeping scammers. Half its budget is reliant on finning companies the other half is from operators. Without scammers they would be out of business. Record fines have been given – most probably well deserved but im sure thats not the case in all instances. I guess its christmas and they want to through a lavish party as they have fined in excess of £2.7m this year alone – whereas ofcom for the whole of the telecommunication industry fined £200k

    My point is the fine should go back to government or the consumer. Not a bunch regulators who think they can do no wrong & cannot be scrutinised.

  2. Pingback: How do you solve a premium rate number problem like Indonesia’s? | Watching the Connectives

  3. Pingback: Ofcom publishes statutory backing for new PhonepayPlus rules | Watching the Connectives

  4. Rob Bratby says:

    On 11 May 2011 Ofcom commenced a consultation on the amendments that would be needed to the PRS condition to mirror PPP’s revised Code. See: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/prs-2011/summary/prs-2011.pdf

    • Alex Lake says:

      Goodness, the industry won’t know what’s hit it when this kicks in. My experience is that PPP have major problems that will probably result in more babies being thrown out than bathwater. Their unique blend of aggression, ignorance and power is a very dangerous cocktail. I wonder if Ofcom are just looking to get “bad cop” to remove the sense of overly light regulation that seems to be laid at their door?

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