Statement published 6 July 2017
This document sets out Ofcom’s decision to exempt commercial multi-user ‘gateway’ devices, known as COMUGs, from the licensing requirements set out in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.
A gateway is a device that uses SIM cards issued by mobile network operators (MNOs) to enable the transfer of calls from a fixed network to a mobile network. Gateways have typically been used to reduce the cost of making fixed-to-mobile calls, as calls made using these devices are treated by the recipient’s network as ‘on-net’ and thereby take advantage of lower charges / free call bundles.
The use of COMUGs is currently illegal in the UK without the grant of a licence by Ofcom. We consulted on whether it would be appropriate to make regulations exempting these devices from the requirement to obtain a licence under section 8(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. After assessing the responses received we have decided to proceed with proposals to make regulations allowing the use of COMUGs on a licence exempt basis. Comments on the draft regulations are invited by 8 August 2017.