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Communications Act 2003

Section 120: Conditions regulating premium rate services

291.This section gives OFCOM the power to set conditions for the purpose of regulating the provision, content, promotion and marketing of premium rate services. Such conditions are binding on premium rate service providers and may relate only to compliance with directions given in accordance with the premium rate services code approved by OFCOM under section 121 or, in the absence of a code, the provisions of an order made by OFCOM under section 122. A premium rate service for this purpose is defined in subsections (7) and (8). Briefly, a service is a premium rate service if:

  •  it consists of the contents of communications transmitted by an electronic communications network (e.g. a product helpline or  ‘chatline’) or if it allows the user of an electronic communications service to make use, by making a transmission by means of that service, of a facility made available to the users of the service (including in particular a facility to make payments for goods and services, to enter a competition or claim a prize or to register a vote or record a preference); and

  •  there is a charge for the service, and that charge is paid to the provider of the electronic communications service by means of which the service in question is provided (e.g. through the customer’s telephone bill)

292.Under subsection (9), a person provides a premium rate service if he: -

  • provides the contents of the service, or

  • exercises editorial control over the contents of the service, or

  • packages together the content of the service for the purpose of facilitating its provision, or

  • makes available a facility comprised in that service.

293.In addition, under subsection (10), an electronic communications service provider who, by virtue of arrangements made with someone falling within any of the four categories set out at a) to d) who provides a service, is entitled to a share of the charges for the provision of that service or for the use of his electronic communications service for the purpose of that service is also taken to be a premium rate service provider. Likewise, (in accordance with subsection (11)) the provider of an electronic communications network used for the provision of a service who has an agreement relating to the use of that network for the provision of the service with a provider of the service falling within any of the four categories set out at a) to d) is taken to be a premium rate service provider, as is (under subsection 12) an electronic communications network provider whose network is used under an agreement made with a person falling within subsections (10 or (11) or with an intermediary service provider (as defined in subsection (15) ). The obligations that may be placed on a person falling within subsection (12) are limited by section 121(3) and section 122(5) (see below).

294.Conditions set under this section may apply generally to each provider of a premium rate service or individually to specified providers or providers of specified services. Sections 47 and 48 apply to the setting, modification and revocation of a condition under this section.

295.In accordance with paragraph 9 of Schedule 18, OFCOM may issue continuation notices in respect of premium rate service conditions in licences issued under section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 for a transitional period before the arrangements provided by sections 120 to 124 take full effect.

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