HomeInsightsGovernment publishes new guidance note on how telecoms businesses will be impacted by the end of the transition period

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The UK electronic communications regulatory framework is currently mainly contained within the Communications Act 2003, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, which implements the EU Common Regulatory Framework.

A new electronic communications Directive, the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), was adopted by the EU in December 2018. EU countries have until 21 December 2020 to apply the new Directive to their national law. The Government intends to implement the EECC during the transitional period because the transposition deadline of 21 December 2020 is before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

To ensure that the telecoms regulatory framework remains operable if there is no deal, secondary legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 was made in February 2019 (the Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019) to bring the necessary corrections to the UK electronic communications regulatory framework into force on 1 January 2021.

The Government says that it does not expect significant impacts on how businesses operate under the telecoms regulatory framework and how consumers of telecoms services are protected after 1 January 2021. This is because EU-derived rules applicable to communication providers, and governing the way Ofcom regulates telecoms markets are implemented in UK law, will be corrected by secondary legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. The rules on spectrum allocation and assignment would similarly be corrected so that the way Ofcom carries out these functions would be essentially unchanged.

UK telecom operators will continue to be able to provide cross-border telecoms services and operate within the EU, under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). To read the guidance note in full, click here.