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Telecommunications law

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

This course is all about the area of law that regulates the telecommunications industry. What do we mean when we talk about the telecommunications industry? We all use our smartphones, tablets or computers to communicate but what is behind all this and how is it legally regulated if at all? By telecommunications industry we mean traditional fixed copper line based wire networks that have now been adapted for broadband internet or newly built optical fibre networks and the voice and internet services provided by these networks. We also mean mobile networks and mobile services including roaming where we go abroad. Telecommunications also includes transmission networks, services used for broadcasting television signals which can be cabled, terrestrial or satellite. During the course we will investigate the history and regulation of telecommunications in a number of jurisdictions, aiming to give students a wide overview of this area.

Module A: The purpose and experience of telecommunications regulation


  • Telecommunications law: introduction
  • Evolution of telecommunications regulation: models of regulation and market structures
  • Technology: a foundation
  • Competition, interconnection and pricing: the economic background of telecommunications law
  • Social policy and regulation: universal service, consumer protection and privacy

Module B: Telecommunications liberalisation in Europe


  • The European Union institutions and sources of law
  • Competition law: ex ante and ex post, the tools of the regulator
  • Liberalisation and harmonisation: from opening the market to full competition
  • The New Framework Overview: the 2002 Directives and regulating for convergence
  • Authorisation and licensing: of networks and services, spectrum and rights of way
  • Access and interconnection
  • Universal service
  • Telecommunications privacy

Module C: Telecommunications contracts


  • Access and interconnection agreements: terms and conditions, peering and transit
  • Mobile agreements
  • Telecommunications outsourcing contracts
  • Consumer contracts and protection

Module D: Telecommunications: the international view


  • United States telecommunications law and regulation
  • The International Telecommunications Union and World Trade Organization: the international framework from tradition to trade
  • Submarines and satellites: the international regulation of outer space and underwater cabling
  • Regulatory issues in developing markets
  • The Asian experience


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt Module A first and module C after modules A and B.

How to apply

You can either apply for these modules individually or as part of the Postgraduate Laws programme. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Computer and Communications Law
  • Economic Regulation
  • International Business Law
  • Public Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.