"Mobile UK covers a broad range of topics in the domain of public policy."

Partnership Working

Mobile UK covers a broad range of topics in the domain of public policy. The best way to have an impact in this complex environment is to participate in, partner with, or otherwise engage with a broad range of stakeholders. The following is a [non-exhaustive] list of Mobile UK’s principal affiliates.

Close working between Operators during COVID-19 outbreak

Details of the arrangements are set out fully here.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)

Since 2004, the UK’s mobile operators have provided filters to restrict access by children to inappropriate content on the internet. Content of an adult nature is not made available until a customer has demonstrated, through age verification, that he or she is at least 18 years old. Mobile UK has contracted the BBFC to provide an independent framework that mobile operators use to help determine what is and what is not filtered out in this process, which has met with broad public support. Details of the arrangement are set out more fully here.

Confidential Text-based Helplines

The UK’s mobile networks (MNOs – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone) have a history of supporting the wide range of helplines available to our customers through providing confidential calls to all helplines beginning in 080880. We would now like to extend our offer to helplines creating text-based services that provide an additional discreet method for our customers to seek advice and support. We have reserved the range of ‘8525*’ SMS short codes for this purpose, which are managed by accredited cross-network aggregators.

For any helplines looking to set up a text-based service who would like to apply for a confidential short code we have established the following process and criteria for approval.

All organisations must meet the following criteria:

  • The organisation is a member of the Helplines Partnership
  • They are a non-commercial entity, providing the text-based helpline service for free
  • The text-based helpline is available to anyone that needs it and is not exclusive in any way

To apply for a confidential short code for a text-based helpline please contact hm@mobileuk.org at Mobile UK. If the Mobile UK board approves your submission you will be provided with a dedicated short code by the MNOs. The Mobile UK board meets quarterly and will review all applications at the next board meeting following submission.

UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)

Mobile UK is a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. With members drawn from government, industry, law, academia and the charity sector, the group includes more than 200 organisations working in partnership to help keep children safe online.

The GSMA Association

Mobile UK works closely with the GSMA  (the global trade body for the mobile sector), across a range of public policy matters, such as banking regulation, nuisance calls and child protection. This ensures that, where relevant, UK operators are pursuing policies that are consistent with other nations and regions.

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

All members of Mobile UK are subscribers to the Internet Watch Foundation, with whom we work closely to identify and remove illegal images of child abuse hosted in the UK. Over the past 15 years, our partnership has reduced the amount of such material hosted in the UK from 18% of the total to less than 1%.

Under the terms of Mobile UK’s code of practice, all mobile operators receive the IWF’s list of URLs containing potentially illegal content. In order to protect customers from being exposed to such content (and thereby committing an offence), the operators block internet browsers from accessing any URL on the list.

Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)

Mobile digital ad-spend was £5.4bn in 2017. Mobile UK is a member of the Committee of Advertising Practice (non-broadcast), which writes and maintains the UK Advertising Codes, as administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The non-broadcast code is a self-regulatory code that has been in existence since 1961.

Child Rescue Alert

Mobile UK sits on the steering board of Child Rescue Alert, a nationwide system run by the National Crime Agency, the charity Missing People and the technology company Groupcall. It has the potential to save a child’s life in the event that the child is missing and believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or death. Through its partnership with mobile operators, CRA is able to send free text alerts to anyone that has registered to receive them. Registration is free and takes just minutes to complete, online or by text. By taking 30 seconds to register, anyone could save a child’s life.