Authorisation of Commercial Multi User Gateways

Ofcom has published a statement setting out its decision to authorise the use of commercial multi-user ‘gateway’ devices, known as COMUGs, via licence exemption under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.

A gateway device uses SIM cards created and issued by a mobile network operator (MNO). This allows the device to originate calls or data on the MNO’s network.

Calls made using these devices from fixed lines to mobiles are treated by the recipient’s network as if they were made by a mobile phone, rather than made from the fixed line phone.

Gateways have typically been used in this way in the past to try to reduce the cost of making fixed-to-mobile calls. There is growing interest in using COMUG type devices to provide backhaul services both for voice and data services that may bring benefits to citizens and consumers.

Ofcom is now consulting on regulations that would exempt these devices from the requirement to obtain a licence under section 8(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.