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Home Office loses as GSM gateway case is thrown out after 17 years

Mobile News
November 25, 2020

The ruling upholds a previous judicial review challenge that also went against the Home Office

The GSM Gateway case, which has dragged on for almost 17 years, might well have finally come to an end after countless hearings.

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court’s previous decision removing the final obstacle to businesses involved to claim millions in compensation.

Jeremy Frost, Director of Frost Group Limited, (who represents a number of the companies) said: “This has been a 15-year boxing match between the heaviest of heavyweights and the smallest of flyweights. To add to the case’s injustice, the rules have been constantly amended by Governing bodies in an attempt to delay victory every time another of the pillars of their argument were removed.”

The controversial, ‘David & Goliath’ style case has seen unwelcome high-level involvement over the years, from various Secretaries of State and Ofcom as well as the various Mobile Network Operators.

The case began in the ’90s and early 2000s when mobile phone calls were still expensive when calling different networks or abroad.

This gap in the market paved the way for several entrepreneurial businesses to form GSM Gateway companies; selling devices with multiple sim cards to offer customers cheaper mobile phone tariffs.

The technology worked by using a mixture of UK based and foreign telephone numbers to make the calls cheaper automatically.

The businesses were reported to Ofcom by the network operators, and the technology was later deemed to be illegal, in breach of the Wireless Telegraphy Act as a result of them causing ‘harmful interference’. This point became a sticking point for years to come, even when the EU tried to force the UK’s hand (which was later disregarded) the case continued.

Read more in Mobile News Issue 703

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