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12th July 2011
AIME call for Government to review the micropayments sector
On 30th June, AIME issued a press release to highlight publication of a joint letter with premium rate services regulator PhonepayPlus (PpP) and trade organisations MEF and UKCTA, calling for Government to carry out a full review of the UK’s micropayments sector. The letter was in response to a request by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), for input to the formation of a Comms Act 2015 Green Paper in September 2011.
At AIME’s recent General Meeting a member rightly asked for clarity regarding AIME’s support for the joint PpP Industry Liaison Panel (ILP) letter and this generated debate about whether we are aligned with what some are interpreting as a PpP call for greater responsibility in the regulation of a wider micropayments market. Our view is that this is not what the debate should be about, although it is certainly appreciated that the co-signatories may attach differing values to the need for a wholesale review.
We feel that the initial joined up approach by industry and regulator supporting a call for a full review of regulatory requirements, within context of a broader micropayments industry provides a strong voice from a PRS sector that is just one small part of a much larger Comms industry. We are at a very early stage of consultation and members will ultimately determine how we develop AIME’s contribution to the Comms Act 2015.
The basic principle points AIME has so far tabled include:
- Legislative, regulatory & consumer protection framework across sector needs clarity
- Regulation must be platform and technology neutral
- Regulators need to offer flexible & proportionate regimes to enable growth while protecting consumers
- Review needs to be across all micropayment mechanisms, not just PRS – to ensure fair competition
- Assess the legislative framework to decide which services require formal regulation
- Review the definition of PRS in Comms Act, a ‘test’ of what is PRS
- Confirm subset of ‘controlled PRS’ for risk based assessment of PRS requiring formal regulation. Default is non-controlled
There is a clear need to reduce the regulatory burden on business. The new Act will do much to shape the UK digital economy from 2015, and AIME is stressing the importance of an appropriate regulatory framework, which encourages business growth and provides necessary levels of consumer protection.
As AIME Chairman, Edward Boddington states, “Now is the time to review all forms of digital micropayment and ensure that future legislation is technology neutral, and recognises that that the digital economy is increasingly international. The new Communications Act is the opportunity to enable a new digital economy, with platform-neutral legislation”.
We look to members to provide feedback and input into an important consultation process that will shape the future regulation of the market from 2015.