Telecoms industry guidance

Published: 6 March 2024

Guidance and contact information on standards, specifications and other requirements for the telecoms industry.

The following procedures have been developed by BT as the current provider of Emergency Services Access call handling centres.

"Communications Providers should understand that any test call submitted to the BT 999 Call Handling Centre will be consuming resources on the live platform that BT uses to manage access to the Emergency Services.

Any Communications Provider who needs to submit Test 999 Calls should establish contact with the BT Call Handling Centre via the dedicated mailbox ( and identify their requirements.

Currently two methods exist for placing test calls to the BT 999 Call Handling Centre :

  • a single ad-hoc test call; placed by an Engineer, with an 'in-call' announcement by the Engineer to the Agent that the call is a test, and
  • multiple test call requests; submitted to a dedicated mailbox ( from large organizations, that will be scheduled to control test volume.

Scheduled call testing requests can also be provided with scripts to provide proof the call connected and to test correct call and data presentation :

  • ii digits,
  • Service Type (driven by the ii digits), and
  • Mobile location data or name and address data.

A Communications Provider will be advised on which of the above test methods will be appropriate for a CPs requirement, together with any single test call volume constraints that must be applied."

General Condition (GC) C7 of the General Conditions of Entitlement (PDF, 959.2 KB) sets out Ofcom’s regulations in relation to switching, including slamming. It is essential that providers within the scope of GC C7 are aware of and understand the full requirements set out in the regulations, seeking legal advice where necessary.

To assist providers, we have summarised some of the key switching requirements in this letter and, in particular, the rules relating to slamming, an extreme form of mis-selling.

Compliance with switching regulations: an open letter to communications providers (PDF, 209.4 KB)

In June 2021, we announced our decision to launch a new emergency video relay service in the UK. We have answered some questions you might have about how the new service will work.

There has been an increased level of interest in capital structures of certain infrastructure businesses, many of which tend to be subject to economic regulation. There are several reasons which explain this increased interest. First, in some regulated sectors, shareholders have made higher returns than assumed by regulators when setting regulated charges by making greater use of debt financing. Second, the choice of capital structure could reduce financial resilience, and we have seen a number of company failures in recent years (Monarch, Carillion).

We are seeing some regulators respond to these debates. Ofwat recently set out decisions on measures designed to ‘put the water sector back in balance’. These include a requirement on water companies with relatively high levels of debt to share with customers some of the benefits perceived to be accruing to equity investors.

The issues Ofwat’s decisions aim to address are of relevance to other regulated sectors. While in principle, capital structure choices are a matter for management, there are instances where these choices are relevant to policy-making. This brief statement sets out our views on these issues.

Financing choices of stakeholders: implications for policy (PDF, 288.7 KB) 1 November 2018

Membership to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme is mandatory for all Communication Providers, as stated within the general conditions. There are two ADR schemes: the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) and Communications Ombudsman. Providers should contact the ADR schemes and decide which one they want to be a member of.

Section 124S of the Communications Act 2003 requires providers of mobile phone services to offer bill limits to customers from 1 October 2018. To assist providers implementing this obligation, this letter sets out our understanding of how the legislation will work (PDF, 231.6 KB) in practice.

If you have any questions about implementing this obligation, please contact Tom Cherry by email on or by phoning 020 7783 4429.

From 1 October 2024, General Condition (GC) C3 will set out rules on roaming and inadvertent roaming. Providers of mobile services must ensure that customers are notified when they start roaming and provided with information about the charges that apply. They must also provide information about how to avoid inadvertent roaming in and outside of the UK, particularly in border regions. Mobile providers will also need to put measures in place to enable customers to reduce or limit their spend on roaming while in the UK e.g., treating Ireland usage as UK usage. An open letter on the new rules is available.

From April 2023, communications providers will be required to operate the new One Touch Switch (OTS) process for all residential customers who switch fixed voice and broadband services. This requirement was confirmed in Ofcom’s statement of September 2021.[1] The Notification of Transfer process will also cease to be available in April 2023.[2]

To comply with the new regulations, industry stakeholders have created a process design for OTS and have established a company, The One Touch Switching Company Limited (TOTSCo), for procurement and management of the TOTSCo Hub (the system which will enable messaging between gaining and losing providers so that customers can be switched efficiently).

TOTSCo’s website is now available and allows anyone affected by the new OTS rules to register for the latest updates on OTS implementation or as a potential TOTSCo member or Hub user. We strongly encourage all stakeholders affected to sign up.

Although the OTS regulation does not apply to the switching of business customers, TOTSCo’s updates may also be of interest to business providers as it is working with industry to consider the opportunities to use the TOTSCo Hub for simple business switching.

1 Ofcom, September 2021. Quick, easy and reliable switching (PDF, 1.8 MB): Statement and consultation. Our statement confirming changes to the General Conditions relating to the new OTS process was published in February 2022: Quick, easy and reliable switching (PDF, 660.8 KB): Statement on changes to the General Conditions.

2 Our decision to remove the Notification of Transfer process is set out in Section 5 of our September 2021 Statement.

The Guidelines set out a series of principles that should be respected by Communications Providers in the provision of Calling Line Identification Facilities and the conveyance of calling and connected line identities when End-Users make or receive a Call.

Providers of Public Electronic Communications Networks (PECNs) are required to publish the technical specifications of their customer interfaces under the terms of the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE, 99/5/EC). In agreement with operators and manufacturers working in the Network Interoperability Consultative Committee (NICC), Ofcom has produced the Guidelines for Interface Publication Issue 3.

The specifications of relevant interfaces provided by PECN Providers are available through the links below, which will take you out of the Ofcom web site.

If you have any queries regarding the contents of a Provider's specification(s), then these should be raised directly with the Provider concerned. Questions concerning Providers' publication obligations should be emailed to

Publication of Customer Interface Specifications (PDF, 51.3 KB)

The Relevant Activity Guidelines for the purposes of administrative charging (the guidelines) is intended to help those persons liable to pay administrative charges (under S38 of the Communications Act 2003) to establish their gross turnover from relevant activities for the purposes of administrative charging. The guidelines were first published as a statement with the designation pursuant to section 34 and 38 of the Communications Act 2003. The purpose of the revision to the guidelines is to provide more contemporary examples from a technological perspective.

The definition of "relevant activity" for the purposes of administrative charging
Version 2 - March 2014

Since October 2022, Ofcom has additional duties and powers under the Communications Act 2003, as amended by the Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021. In particular, Ofcom must seek to ensure that telecoms providers comply with new rules to boost the security and resilience of their networks and services against security compromises, including those caused by cyber-attacks.

Public telecoms providers must take appropriate and proportionate measures to identify and reduce the risks of security compromises occurring, as well as preparing for such events. They must also take action after a security compromise has occurred, to prevent damage and take steps to remediate or mitigate any damage. Telecoms providers can be fined if they do not comply with the new rules.

For guidance regarding how Ofcom will exercise its new functions, Ofcom has published its General policy on ensuring compliance with security duties and recast what was general guidance as guidance on resilience requirements imposed by or under sections 105A to D of the 2003 Act.

Contact the Ofcom Network Security team

For general enquiries:

For incident reports:

Ofcom asked the industry body UKWISPA (UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association) to recommend an approach that could be used by their members and by other Fixed Wireless Operators (WISPs) to report on the coverage of their networks.

As a result, this document sets out technical guidance to help WISPs when responding to Information Requests from Ofcom. This guidance has been prepared in consultation with members of UKWISPA and Ofcom. We have published this guidance on our website for full transparency to the WISPs.

The objectives of this guidance are to:

  1. help WISPs to prepare data that can be relied upon by Ofcom and the users of their collected data;
  2. provide specific guidance about the observed performance characteristics of commonly used FWA products;
  3. help WISPs to consider Quality of Experience within their coverage reports;
  4. help WISPs to calculate fixed wireless link performance in a point to multipoint network; and
  5. provide guidance on the impact of obstructions and the importance of the type of height data used when modelling coverage

As new equipment becomes available and new frequency bands become popular, this guidance may be updated and therefore the information included should only be used as a guide.

Technical guidance for Fixed Wireless Operators (WISPs) (PDF, 431.1 KB)

Ofcom publishes guidance on provisions in the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts. Please note that the applicable guidance is dependent upon the date at which a consumer contract was entered into.

Terms in consumer contracts entered into on or after 1 July 1995 and before 1 October 2015 are subject to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

Terms in consumer contracts entered into on or after 1 October 2015 are subject to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Guidance on unfair terms in contracts – For consumer contracts entered into BEFORE 1 October 2015 (PDF, 150.4 KB)

Guidance on unfair terms in contracts – For consumer contracts entered into FROM 1 October 2015 (PDF, 194.0 KB)

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