UK communications regulator Ofcom has announced that it is to carry out a fundamental review of the regulation of Royal Mail.
The review will ensure regulation remains appropriate and sufficient to secure the universal postal service, given the recent withdrawal by Whistl from the direct delivery letters market which has resulted in Royal Mail no longer being subject to national competition.
Ofcom established a regulatory framework for Royal Mail in 2012 that ensured UK consumers and businesses continued to benefit from a universally-priced, affordable postal service, six days a week. This reflected Ofcom’s duty to secure the provision of a universal service.
The framework included greater commercial freedom for Royal Mail to operate in what is a challenging market, removing regulations that threatened to undermine the universal service, and adding safeguards to protect postal users.
Ofcom’s review will incorporate its existing work, announced in December 2014, to assess Royal Mail’s efficiency, to consider its performance in the parcels market, and to assess the company’s potential ability to set wholesale prices in a way that might harm competition.
In addition, the review will address the implications of Whistl’s withdrawal, which represents a significant change in the direct delivery market.
Ofcom will outline its initial thoughts and begin seeking formal submissions from industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders in July. The review is expected to be completed and a revised regulatory framework put in place, during 2016.
June 17, 2015