Self-regulation of content
In January 2004, the UK mobile operators published a code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles. formal reviews were conducted in 2009 and 2013. The third version was published on 1st July 2013.
Download a PDF version of the Code (v3)
In accordance with the code, the mobile operator offers an Internet filter to protect customers under the age of 18 from age inappropriate content. The mobile operator sets its filter in accordance with a framework prepared by the British Board of Film Classification ("BBFC").
If a customer is not satisfied with the way the filter has been set, i.e. it is not filtering content that should be filtered or it is filtering content that, in the customer's view, should not be filtered, he or she should first take the matter up with his or her mobile operator. A list of contacts is provided here. If the customer is not satisfied with the response of the mobile operator (who has up to 5 days to respond), the issue can be referred to the BBFC for resolution. A customer can only take a complaint to the BBFC once the issue has been investigated by the mobile operator.
UK Mobile Operators' Code of Practice on Consumer Billing, published 21st March 2015
In March 2015, the UK’s mobile operators EE, Telefonica UK (O2), Three and Vodafone, together with Virgin Mobile, the UK’s largest virtual mobile network operator, published Code of Practice on Consumer Billing.
This Code sets out the commitments agreed by the signatories to help customers manage their costs and protect contract customers from unexpectedly high bills.
Download a PDF version of the Code
Principles of Good Practice for marketing mobile broadband services
In June 2009, the UK’s mobile operators O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3, together with Virgin Mobile, the UK’s largest virtual mobile network operator, published Principles of Good Practice for marketing mobile broadband services.
Mobile broadband (i.e a mobile data service providing Internet access via a 3G modem) has grown very rapidly in the last year.
Even so, this is still a new market, set to grow much further. It is important that customers have the information they need to make an informed purchase and that staff are able to help customers with any queries they may have. The mobile operators, under the auspices of the Mobile Broadband Group (MBG), have agreed these principles in order to promote customer understanding and underpin further solid growth of mobile broadband. The guidelines include the provision of information on coverage, the factors that impact download speeds, and pricing.
Download a version of the Code
In September 2004, an industry working group, led by the MBG, published a Code of Practice for the use of mobile phone technology for passive location services in the UK.
Download a PDF version of the Code summary
Download a PDF version of full Code (updated on 1st October 2006)
Location Service Providers wishing to apply to operate a location service can do so on a standard form which is available here. This version was published in November 2008.
All members of the MBG are subscribers to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
The IWF is the only authorised organisation in the UK which provides an Internet hotline for the public to report instances of potentially illegal content on-line.
The IWF work in partnership with the UK Internet Industry, police services and government departments such as the Home Office and the Department of Trade and Industry to influence initiatives and programmes developed to combat online abuse.
Through the hotline reporting system, the IWF helps service providers to combat abuse of their services by operating a notice and take down service which alerts them to any illegal content found on their system. Any relevant information is also reported to the police.
Mobile users with WAP enabled phones can submit reports to the hotline at:
phones and health
The five mobile network operators fund the Mobile Operators Association, which represents the operators on radio frequency health and planning issues in the UK. www.mobilemastinfo.com
The mobile network operators participate in Micaf, an organisation set up by the mobile industry to tackle the issue of mobile phone theft. www.micaf.co.uk