Archived: The General Authorisation Regime


Archived information and guidance on the General Conditions of Entitlement, the regulatory rules that all communications providers must follow to operate in the UK. This information was superseded on 1 October 2018.

View information on the current General Conditions.

General Conditions of Entitlement

The former telecommunications licensing regime was replaced in 2003 by a general authorisation regime with General Conditions of Entitlement, which apply to all communications providers, and specific regulatory conditions, which apply to individual operators.

The General Conditions were first introduced in July 2003 under the Communications Act following the withdrawal and revocation of Telecommunications Act licences. These conditions are currently the main regulatory regime for communications networks and service providers in the UK and apply to all communications providers or all communications providers of a particular type.

Consolidated version of general conditions as at 28 May 2015 (including annotations) (PDF, 454.6 KB)

General Condition 22: Service migrations and Home-moves  (PDF, 97.4 KB)

General Condition 23. Sales and marketing of mobile telephony services (PDF, 27.2 KB)

On 19 September 2017, Ofcom published a statement about changes that we have decided to make to the general conditions of entitlement, in order to ensure the general conditions are up to date and reflect Ofcom’s current priorities. The revised general conditions will come into force on 1 October 2018, and the current conditions will be revoked on the same date.

Guidelines on the General Conditions

Customer Codes of Practice for handling complaints and resolving disputes

Guidance on individual General Conditions

The guidance here is complimentary to the general guidance about whom the General Conditions apply to under The General Authorisation Regime.

Update 30 July 2018

On 31 July 2018, we published a statement about further changes that we are making to the revised General Conditions (PDF, 377.6 KB).

These changes include drafting changes to a number of the revised General Conditions, and changes to General Condition C6, in order to ensure calls to the emergency services are always connected.

These changes will take effect on 1 October 2018, the same day the revised general conditions come into force.

We have also today published an unofficial consolidated version of the revised General Conditions (PDF, 1.1 MB), which will take effect on 1 October 2018, which incorporates all the changes made to the revised General Conditions since they were first set in September 2017.

Update 26 March 2018

On 26 March 2018, we published a statement about further changes that we are making to the General Conditions.

We decided to make these further changes:

  1. updating a direction which specifies which public bodies may request industry to make arrangements for the restoration of communications services in the event of disasters;
  2. a further extension of our power to withdraw telephone numbers where they are used inconsistently with the National Telephone Numbering Plan or otherwise misused; and
  3. providing guidance about the procedures for terminating contracts.

These changes will take effect on 1 October 2018, the same day the revised general conditions come into force.

Update 19 September 2017

On 19 September 2017, Ofcom published a statement about changes that we have decided to make to the general conditions of entitlement, in order to ensure the general conditions are up to date and reflect Ofcom’s current priorities. The revised general conditions will come into force on 1 October 2018, and the current conditions will be revoked on the same date.