United Kingdom

Stage of legislative progress

The final terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU were settled under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement was ratified into UK law under the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 which, after receiving Royal Assent, became UK law on 31 December 2020. The Agreement was ratified by the EU in April 2021.

The UK implemented the requirements of the EU Electronic Communications Code (EECC) through the Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy (Amendment) (European Electronic Communications Code and EU Exit) Regulations 2020. These Regulations amended existing UK legislation (namely the Communications Act 2003 and Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006). These amendments entered into force on 21 December 2020.

National add-ons

In addition to this statutory instrument, Ofcom’s General Conditions (GCs) also had to be taken into account, as the more granular requirements outlined in the EECC are enforced through these conditions. 

The Ofcom rules set out the telecoms obligations as applicable to the various types of communication providers. Ofcom published its final statement on 27 October 2020 setting out the end-user requirements and there are a range of strengthened consumer measures with differing implementation dates, including:

  • Banning mobile providers from selling locked mobile devices – December 2021.

  • Extended rules on accessibility for disabled customers – December 2021

  • New rules for bundles which includes other services or equipment sold with a communication service – December 2021

  • Better contract information and stronger termination rights – June 2022

  • Improved switching processes for broadband - December 2022. 

Ofcom is also consulted on minor changes to the definitions and terminology in the GCs as well as Metering & Billing and to the numbering plan. Ofcom published its statement in response to these aspects of the GCs on 17 December 2020 – see here. Ofcom published an updated version of the GCs on 4 January 2021 together with drafts for each of the implementation dates set out above.

For more information please see our article on the UK implementation here.

Known date of next step

No further implementation steps expected.