Award and transfer of licences
164 Bidding for wireless telegraphy licences
(1) Section 3 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 (c. 6) (bidding for wireless
telegraphy licences) shall be amended as follows.
(2) The following shall cease to have effect—
(a) in subsection (1), the words “or determined by him under” and
paragraph (a) (requirement to set out procedure for bidding in a notice
issued under regulations); and
(b) subsection (2) (matters to be included in regulations).
(3) In subsection (3) (provision that may be contained in regulations)—
(a) for paragraph (a) there shall be substituted—
“(a) require the applicant’s bid to specify the amount he is
willing to pay;
(aa) require that amount to be expressed—
(i) as a cash sum;
(ii) as a sum determined by reference to a variable
(such as income attributable wholly or in part to
the holding of the licence);
(iii) as a combination of the two; or
(iv) (at the applicant’s choice) in any one of the ways
falling within the preceding sub-paragraphs that
is authorised by the regulations;
(ab) require that amount to be expressed in terms of—
(i) the making of a single payment;
(ii) the making of periodic payments;
(iii) a combination of the two; or
(iv) (at the applicant’s choice) in any one of the ways
falling within the preceding sub-paragraphs that
is authorised by the regulations;”
(b) in paragraph (f), for “any licence” there shall be substituted “a licence
to which the regulations apply”; and
(c) the word “and” shall be inserted at the end of paragraph (f) and
paragraph (h) shall cease to have effect.
(4) For subsection (4) (notice not to create binding obligation to grant licence) there
shall be substituted—
“(4) Regulations under this section are not to be construed as binding
OFCOM to grant a licence on the completion of the procedure provided
for in the regulations except in such circumstances as may be provided
for in the regulations.”
(5) For subsection (5) (licence to specify the amount payable in accordance with
the applicant’s bid) there shall be substituted—
“(5) A wireless telegraphy licence granted in accordance with regulations
under this section shall specify either—
(a) the sum or sums which in consequence of the bids made are, in
accordance with the regulations, to be payable in respect of the
(b) the method for determining that sum or those sums;
and that sum or those sums shall be paid to OFCOM by the person to
whom the licence is granted in accordance with the terms of the
(6) For subsection (6) there shall be substituted—
“(5A) In determining the sum or sums payable in respect of a wireless
telegraphy licence, regard may be had to bids made for other wireless
telegraphy licences and for grants of recognised spectrum access.
(5B) Regulations under this section may provide that where a person—
(a) makes an application for a licence in accordance with a
procedure provided for by such regulations, but
(b) subsequently refuses the licence applied for,
that person shall make such payments to OFCOM as may be
determined in accordance with the regulations by reference to bids
made for the licence.
(6) Subsection (4) of section 1 is to apply in relation to sums that will or
may become payable under regulations under this section
subsequently to the grant of a wireless telegraphy licence as it applies
to sums that will or may become payable under regulations under that
165 Spectrum trading
(1) OFCOM may by regulations authorise the transfer to another person by—
(a) the holder of a wireless telegraphy licence, or
(b) the holder of a grant of recognised spectrum access,
of rights and obligations arising by virtue of such a licence or grant.
(2) The transfers that may be authorised by regulations under this section are—
(a) such transfers of all or any of the rights and obligations under a licence
or grant as have the effect that the rights and obligations of the person
making the transfer become rights and obligations of the transferee to
the exclusion of the person making the transfer;
(b) such transfers of all or any those rights and obligations as have the
effect that the transferred rights and obligations become rights and
obligations of the transferee while continuing, concurrently, to be
rights and obligations of the person making the transfer; and
(c) transfers falling within either of the preceding paragraphs under which
the rights and obligations that are acquired by the transferee take
(i) if they are rights and obligations under a wireless telegraphy
licence, as rights and obligations under a grant of recognised
spectrum access; and
(ii) if they are rights and obligations under such a grant, as rights
and obligations under a wireless telegraphy licence.
(3) Regulations authorising the transfer of rights and obligations under a wireless
telegraphy licence or grant of recognised spectrum access may—
(a) authorise a partial transfer to be made by reference to such factors and
apportionments, and to have effect in relation to such matters and
periods, as may be described in the regulations, or as may be
determined in accordance with them;
(b) by reference to such factors (including the terms and conditions of the
licence or grant in question) as may be specified in or determined in
accordance with the regulations, restrict the circumstances in which,
the extent to which and the manner in which a transfer may be made;
(c) require the approval or consent of OFCOM for the making of a transfer;
(d) provide for a transfer to be effected by the surrender of a licence or
grant of recognised spectrum access and the grant or making of a new
one in respect of the transfer;
(e) confer power on OFCOM to direct that a transfer must not be made, or
is to be made only after compliance with such conditions as OFCOM
may impose in accordance with the regulations;
(f) authorise OFCOM to require the payment to them of such sums as may
be determined by or in accordance with the regulations in respect of
determinations made by OFCOM for the purposes of the regulations or
in respect of an approval or consent given for those purposes;
(g) make provision for the giving of security (whether by the giving of
deposits or otherwise) in respect of sums payable in pursuance of any
regulations under this section;
(h) make provision as to the circumstances in which security given under
such regulations is to be returned or may be retained;
(i) impose requirements as to the procedure to be followed for the making
of a transfer and, in particular, as to the notification about a transfer that
must be given to OFCOM, or must be published, both in advance of its
being made and afterwards;
(j) impose requirements as to the records to be kept in connection with any
transfer, and as to the persons to whom such records are to be made
(k) set out the matters to be taken into account in the making of
determinations under regulations under this section.
(4) The transfer of rights and obligations under a wireless telegraphy licence or
grant of recognised spectrum access shall be void except to the extent that it is
(a) in accordance with regulations under this section; or
(b) in accordance with a provision specified in subsection (5).
(5) That provision is a provision which—
(a) is contained in a wireless telegraphy licence granted before the
commencement of this section or in the first or any subsequent renewal
after the commencement of this section of a licence so granted; and
(b) allows the holder of the licence to confer the benefit of the licence on
another in respect of any station or apparatus to which the licence
(6) A transfer shall also be void if it is made in contravention of a direction given
by OFCOM in exercise of a power conferred by regulations under this section.
(7) Section 396 applies to the power of OFCOM to make regulations under this
Variation and revocation of licences
166 Variation and revocation of wireless telegraphy licences
(1) For section 1E of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (c. 54) (variation and
revocation of licences for the provision of a telecommunication service) there
shall be substituted—
“1E Variation or revocation of a licence
(1) Where OFCOM propose to vary or revoke a wireless telegraphy
licence, they shall give the person holding the licence a notification
under this subsection—
(a) stating the reasons for the proposed variation or revocation; and
(b) specifying the period during which the person notified has an
opportunity to do the things specified in subsection (2).
(2) Those things are—
(a) making representations about the proposal; and
(b) if the proposal is the result of a contravention of a term,
provision or limitation of the licence, complying with that term,
provision or limitation.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) to (6), the period for doing those things must
be the period of one month beginning with the day after the one on
which the notification was given.
(4) OFCOM may, if they think fit, allow a longer period for doing those
(a) by specifying a longer period in the notification; or
(b) by subsequently, on one or more occasions, extending the
(5) The person notified shall have a shorter period for doing those things if
a shorter period is agreed between OFCOM and the person notified.
(6) The person notified shall also have a shorter period if—
(a) OFCOM have reasonable grounds for believing that the case is
a case of serious and repeated contravention or an urgent case;
(b) they have determined that, in the circumstances, a shorter
period would be appropriate; and
(c) the shorter period has been specified in the notification.
(7) A case is an urgent case if the failure to vary or revoke the licence will
result in, or create an immediate risk of—
(a) a serious threat to the safety of the public, to public health or to
national security; or
(b) serious economic or operational problems for persons, other
than the person in contravention, who—
(i) use stations or apparatus for wireless telegraphy; or
(ii) are communications providers or make associated
(8) Subsection (1) does not apply to a proposal to vary or revoke a licence
if the proposal is made at the request or with the consent of the licence
(9) For the purposes of this section a contravention of a term, provision or
limitation of a licence is a repeated contravention, in relation to a
proposal to vary or revoke a licence, if it falls within subsection (10).
(10) A contravention falls within this subsection if—
(a) a previous notification under subsection (1) has been given in
respect of the same contravention or in respect of another
contravention of a term, provision or limitation of the same
(b) the subsequent notification under that subsection is given no
more than twelve months after the day of the making by
OFCOM of a determination for the purposes of subsection (11)
that the contravention to which the previous notification related
(11) Where OFCOM have given a notification under subsection (1), they
shall, within the period of one month beginning with the end of the
period for the making of representations about the proposal contained
in that notification—
(a) decide whether or not to vary or revoke the licence in
accordance with their proposal, or in accordance with that
proposal but with modifications; and
(b) give the person holding the licence a notification of their
(12) The notification under subsection (11)—
(a) must be given no more than one week after the making of the
decision to which it relates; and
(b) must, in accordance with that decision, either vary or revoke the
licence or withdraw the proposal for a variation or revocation.
(13) The reference in subsection (10) to a contravention of a term, provision
or limitation of the same licence includes a reference to a contravention
of a term, provision or limitation contained in a previous licence of
which the licence in question is a direct or indirect renewal.
(14) In this section, ‘communications provider’ and ‘associated facility’
have the same meaning as in the Communications Act 2003.”
(2) Nothing in this section is to apply in any case in which a notice under section
1E(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (c. 54) was served before the
commencement of this section.
Wireless telegraphy register
167 Wireless telegraphy register
(1) OFCOM may by regulations make provision for the establishment and
maintenance of a register of relevant information.
(2) OFCOM are to include relevant information in the register if, and only if, it is
relevant information of a description prescribed by regulations under this
(3) Information is relevant information for the purposes of subsection (1) if it
(a) the issue, renewal, transfer, variation or revocation of wireless
telegraphy licences; or
(b) the making, renewal, transfer, modification or revocation of grants of
recognised spectrum access.
(4) Subject to such conditions (including conditions as to payment) as may be
prescribed by regulations under this section, a register established by virtue of
subsection (1) shall be open to inspection by the public.
(5) Section 396 applies to the power of OFCOM to make regulations under this
168 Information requirements in relation to wireless telegraphy licences
(1) In Part 3 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (c. 54) (supplemental provisions),
before section 14 there shall be inserted—
“13A Information requirements
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, OFCOM may require
a person who is using or has established, installed or used a station or
apparatus for wireless telegraphy to provide OFCOM with all such
information relating to—
(a) the establishment, installation or use of the station or apparatus,
(b) any related matters,
as OFCOM may require for statistical purposes.
(2) OFCOM are not to require the provision of information under this
(a) by a demand for the information that sets out OFCOM’s reasons
for requiring the information and the statistical purposes for
which it is required; and
(b) where the making of a demand for that information is
proportionate to the use to which the information is to be put in
the carrying out of OFCOM’s functions.
(3) A demand for information required under this section must be
contained in the notice served on the person from whom the
information is required.
(4) A person required to provide information under this section must
provide it in such manner and within such reasonable period as may be
specified by OFCOM.
(5) A person who fails to provide information in accordance with a
requirement of OFCOM under this section is guilty of an offence.
(6) In proceedings against a person for an offence under subsection (1) it
shall be a defence for that person to show—
(a) that it was not reasonably practicable for him to comply with
the requirement within the period specified by OFCOM; but
(b) that he has taken all reasonable steps to provide the required
information after the end of that period.
(7) A person is guilty of an offence if—
(a) in pursuance of any requirement under this section, he provides
information that is false in any material particular; and
(b) at the time he provides it, he either knows it to be false or is
reckless as to whether or not it is false.
13B Statement of policy on information gathering
(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to prepare and publish a statement of
their general policy with respect to—
(a) the exercise of their powers under section 13A; and
(b) the uses to which they are proposing to put information
obtained under that section.
(2) OFCOM may from time to time revise that statement as they think fit.
(3) Where OFCOM make or revise their statement of policy under this
section, they must publish that statement or (as the case may be) the
revised statement in such manner as they consider appropriate for
bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in their opinion, are
likely to be affected by it.
(4) It shall be the duty of OFCOM, in exercising the powers conferred on
them by section 13A, to have regard to the statement for the time being
in force under this section.”
(2) In section 14(1A) of that Act (summary offences carrying a maximum fine of
level 3 on the standard scale), before paragraph (f) there shall be inserted—
“(ea) any offence under section 13A(1) of this Act; or”.
Criminal proceedings etc.
169 Contraventions of conditions for use of wireless telegraphy
(1) Where OFCOM determine that there are reasonable grounds for believing that
a person is contravening, or has contravened—
(a) a term, provision or limitation of a wireless telegraphy licence, or
(b) a term, provision or limitation of an exemption under the proviso to
section 1(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (c. 54) (exemptions
from licensing requirement),
they may give that person a notification under this section.
(2) A notification under this section is one which—
(a) sets out the determination made by OFCOM;
(b) specifies the term, provision or limitation, and the contravention, in
respect of which that determination has been made; and
(c) specifies the period during which the person notified has an
opportunity of doing the things specified in subsection (3).
(3) Those things are—
(a) making representations about the matters notified; and
(b) complying with any notified term, provision or limitation of which he
remains in contravention.