Telco über regulator Ofcom today announced it would launch a strategic review of the UK telecommunications sector, the first of its kind in 13 years.

Ofcom, which officially took over the reins of telco watchdog Oftel plus four other television and radio regulators this month, will conduct the year long review from January 04 in a bid to establish the importance of telecommunications to the UK economy.

Most importantly, the team will be assessing the level of competition across the fixed, mobile, narrowband and broadband markets. This is likely to bring BT's activities under the microscope.

"The arrival of the new converged communications regulator, 19 years after the privatisation of BT and the creation of Oftel, presents a unique opportunity to look afresh at these important and dynamic markets," said Stephen Carter, project team leader at Ofcom.

The review will consist of three phases:
1. Assessing competition in the key markets, the effectiveness of regulation, investment and innovation trends and the prospects for the future.
2. Identifying alternative approaches and where regulations need to be removed or increased.
3. Creating a strategic regulatory framework to deal with any challenges and plan for the implementation of any changes required.