UK Re-Jigs Mobile Content Payments Regulation

Pay-for content bought through carriers’ mobile portals should no longer be regulated by the UK premium-rate phone services regulator PhonepayPlus, UK media regulator Ofcom is proposing. Instead, carriers would be responsible for self-regulating the content.

But Ofcom is proposing mobile content bought using the industry-owned Payforit gateway should be regulated by PhonepayPlus.

Telcos had asked Ofcom to look at the issue but they had argued content bought through Payforit should not be subject to regulation.

A mystery shopping exercise conducted by paying content through Payforit – which was started by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), Orange, 3, T-Mobile and O2 – found non-compliance with its own rules…

The up-shot is an issue for Payforit since it is a jointly-agreed billing scheme. This could incentivise networks to handle their content billing individually.

Ofcom has put its proposals out to consultation.