Premium rate services
Produced in partnership with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Premium rate services
  • Legal framework
  • Reach of the Code
  • Definition of PRS
  • PRS Providers
  • Registration
  • Responsibilities of Network Operators
  • Responsibilities of Level 1 Providers
  • Responsibilities of Level 2 Providers
  • Outcomes and rules
  • More...

Premium rate services

This Practice Note sets out the legal framework for premium rate services (PRS) in the UK. Information, entertainment and similar services provided over electronic communications networks for a fee collected as part of the user’s bill for electronic communications services are classed as 'PRS' and regulated by the Ofcom and the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

Legal framework

Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications sector.

The PSA is in effect an agency of Ofcom that is responsible for the day-to-day regulation of the PRS market. Relations between the two entities are governed by a Memorandum of Understanding. Ofcom develops regulatory strategy, scope and policy in dialogue with the PSA, but any final decisions rest with Ofcom.

Under authority conferred upon it by the Communications Act 2003 (CA 2003), Ofcom:

  1. approved the Code of Practice made by the PSA (Code) that regulates the provision and contents of PRS, including arrangements for promoting and marketing such services, and the facilities made available for the provision of such services

  2. set a condition (Condition) directing that Communications Providers and Controlled Premium Rate Service Providers must comply with directions given in accordance with the Code

The Code in force at present is the 14th edition. However, a discussion document on the 15th edition was published in February 2020, with the PSA’s subsequent consultation on its 2021/22 business plan

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