General Conditions of Entitlement

The General Conditions of Entitlement are the regulatory conditions that all providers of electronic communications networks and services must comply with if they want to provide services in the UK.

They replaced the former licensing regime which applied under the Telecommunications Act 1984 until 25 July 2003, when the EU communications regulatory framework was implemented in the UK through the Communications Act 2003.

The General Conditions are conditions which are of general application. We can impose them on all communications providers or on all providers of networks or services of a particular description. Unlike universal service conditions, “SMP” conditions (which are imposed as a result of a finding of significant market power) and access-related conditions, General Conditions cannot be imposed on specific individual providers.

See an unofficial consolidated version of the General Conditions (PDF, 1.1 MB) that came into force on 15 May 2023.

The general conditions have been amended from time to time and you can also view an archive of the previous general conditions and related guidance.

Implementation of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC)

In December 2018, the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), an EU Directive, updated the regulatory framework for electronic communications services, with an implementation date of 21 December 2020. Although the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK remained under an obligation to implement the EECC into domestic law. The UK Government made changes to the Communications Act 2003 to implement various requirements of the EECC into domestic law.

The EECC contains a package of measures designed to protect customers of electronic communications services including broadband, mobile and landline services. Ofcom has made changes to the General Conditions in order to implement the new EECC protections.

Scope of application and definitions

The General Conditions broadly fall into three main categories:

  • network functioning conditions (Part A of the General Conditions);
  • numbering and other technical conditions (Part B of the General Conditions); and
  • consumer protection conditions (Part C of the General Conditions).

At the beginning of each General Condition, its scope of application is set out by describing the category of communications providers to which the condition applies and defining that category of providers as “Regulated Providers” for the purpose of individual conditions. Some General Conditions, such as conditions A2 and B1, apply to all “Communications Providers”, whereas others apply to more limited categories of CPs, for example condition C8 applies to mobile service providers.

All the definitions used in the General Conditions are set out in a single ‘Definitions’ section at the end of the General Conditions. These include the terms “Electronic Communications Network” and “Electronic Communications Service”, which are relevant to the definition of “Communications Provider”.

Part A: Network functioning conditions

Part B: Numbering and technical conditions

Part C: Consumer protection conditions