Ofcom announces priorities in annual plan

Ofcom announces priorities in annual plan

Ofcom has announced its priorities in its 2015/2016 annual plan which includes the promotion of effective competition and informed choices for consumers.

The plan, which laid out 11 priorities under five broad categories, follows a detailed consultation with stakeholders and sets out how the UK regulator will seek to ensure the market serves the needs of consumers and businesses. 

Under the plan, Ofcom will continue to ensure competition and promote choice for consumers. This includes assessing whether providers are meeting the communication needs of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). 

In areas where a market is not best serving SMEs, the regulator will assess what can be done through other initiatives, including the business connectivity market review and promoting improvements in network availability. 

Ofcom said it will continue to make switching fixed and mobile providers, including bundles, as easy as possible, by implementing a ‘gaining provider led’ switching process later in 2015.

The regulator will also seek to protect consumers from nuisance calls and unexpectedly high mobile bills. Clearer pricing for 08, 09 and 118 numbers will be set out in the middle of the year and calls from mobiles to 080 and 116 numbers will be free. 

Ofcom also outlined plans to award spectrum in the 2.3GHz, 3.4GHz and 700MHz bands. The watchdog said its budget for the year is £114.3 million, a 3.4% reduction compared to 2014/2015.