The regulation which was known as ‘wholesale must-offer’ was imposed on Sky back in 2010 by Ofcom in order to promote more competition in the pay TV market.
Ofcom explained that the emergence of BT as a major TV competitor as well as agreements with TalkTalk and Virgin and the changing nature of the market had led it to end the regulation. The decision was reached in consultation with the regulators key stakeholders.
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BT vs Sky
Ofcom’s decision represents something of a symbolic victory for Sky over rivals BT. The two companies have been publicly sparring over disagreements relating to the broadband and TV markets in recent months.
In June, following Sky’s formal request to Ofcom for a full investigation into BT’s Openreach division BT’s Consumer CEO John Petter accused Sky creating ‘a smokescreen’ to ‘obscure the real market failings in pay TV, where Sky is the dominant player’.
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Petter went on to criticise Sky’s pricing and suggested that Ofcom should ‘move to give the UK a competitive pay TV market that is fit for the next decade.’
This week has also seen Sky launch a new premium version of its TV service known as Sky Q. It features greater multiscreen capabilities and access across a range of platforms along with a new remote and set top box.
With Sky’s MVNO set to launch in the first quarter of next year and BT’s takeover of EE due to be approved in the same time frame, it appears competition between the two brands will intensify further.