The terms on which Thomson obtains data from BT's Operator Services Information System (OSIS) database

08 November 2011

Complainant : Thomson Directories Limited ("Thomson")
Complaint against: British Telecommunications plc ("BT")
Case opened: 14 December 2005
Case Closed: 7 November 2011
Issue: The terms on which Thomson obtains data from BT's Operator Services Information System (OSIS) database
Relevant instrument: Universal Service Condition 7 placed on BT

On 27 June 2011, the Court of Appeal allowed BT’s appeal and set aside the order of the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in effect confirming Ofcom’s determination in relation to the disputes between The Number and BT and between Conduit and BT, in particular that Universal Service Condition 7 (USC 7) is unlawful. This disposal of the case follows the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union dated 17 February 2011 on referred questions relating to the lawfulness of USC 7.

Following the end of this litigation, Ofcom requested representations from both Thomson and BT, particularly as to whether the continuation of the investigation of Thomson’s complaint should be an administrative priority for Ofcom. Having considered these representations and the administrative priority criteria set out in its draft enforcement guidelines, Ofcom has concluded that it should now close the investigation on the grounds of administrative priority. It should be noted that such decision has been reached without taking a view on the merits of any allegations.

Update note – 27 January 2009

On 24 November 2008, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) delivered its judgment in relation to the appeal lodged by The Number and Conduit against Ofcom’s determination of 10 March 2008, ordering that Ofcom re-determines the disputes in light of the CAT’s findings that Universal Service Condition 7 (“USC7”) is lawful. BT has since lodged with the CAT an application for permission to appeal the CAT’s judgment (“BT’s Application”).

Ofcom will await a decision on BT’s Application before taking any steps to re-determine the disputes. As Ofcom considers that the outcome of any appeal may have implications with regard to Thomson’s complaint, Ofcom will also await a decision on BT’s Application before proceeding with this investigation.

Lawrence Knight has now taken over as the Case Leader for this case. All queries regarding the case should be directed to Lawrence who can be contacted on 020 7981 3411 (e-mail: lawrence.knight@ofcom.org.uk)

End of update note

Update note – 30 May 2008

On 7 May 2008, The Number and Conduit jointly filed an appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) against Ofcom’s determination to resolve the disputes between The Number and BT and between Conduit and BT (please see the related items). Details of the appeal can be found on the CAT’s website at http://www.catribunal.org.uk/

The outcome of the appeal may have implications for Ofcom’s conclusions in this complaint. Ofcom therefore considers that it would be inappropriate to proceed with concluding this investigation into Thomson’s complaint while the determination is under appeal.

If there is any change to this position with regard to concluding the investigation, Ofcom will publish an update in the normal manner.

End of update note

Update note – 13 April 2007

Matthew Peake has been assigned as the case leader for this case. All queries regarding the case should be directed to Matthew who can be contacted on 020 7783 4160 (e-mail: matthew.peake@ofcom.org.uk).

End of update note

Update note – 15 February 2007

Ofcom has issued further draft determinations in relation to the disputes between The Number and BT and between Conduit and BT. Please see the related items.

Ofcom intends to consider the responses to these draft determinations before concluding the investigation into Thomson's complaint.

End of update note

Update note – 21 August 2006

Ofcom issued draft determinations in relation to the disputes between The Number and BT and between Conduit and BT on 17 August 2006. These disputes also relate to the terms on which BT supplies access to the OSIS database. Please see the related items. Ofcom intends to consider the responses to these draft determinations before concluding the investigation into Thomson's complaint.

End of update note

Thomson Directories publishes printed classified directories in the UK and pays BT for the right to access data from BT's Operator Services Information System (OSIS) database. Thomson has claimed that the rates BT charges to access this data are "excessive and not cost related" and are therefore in breach of requirements within Universal Service Condition 7.4 (USC7.4) which states that "BT shall supply [the contents of a directory information database] on terms which are fair, objective, cost oriented and not unduly discriminatory…".

Ofcom is considering Thomson's complaint.

Case Leader : Lucas Ford ( e-mail: lucas.ford@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference : CW/00874/11/05