According to Britain's competition regulator, Google, and Apple have a "vice-like" grip on how people use mobile phones, removing any significant choice from the system and potentially raising expenses.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority, the two companies were able to use their market strength to construct largely self-contained ecosystems.

The statement is a new warning to digital companies as the regulator, with the support of the British government, increased examination of the influence they wield in an increasingly online environment.

In another recent step, the CMA ordered Meta, the owner of Facebook, to sell Giphy, the popular animated photos platform it purchased in 2020.

The agency said on Tuesday that it would consult on its initial conclusions about Apple and Google and that it would appreciate comments by February 7. It plans to release a final report in June.

"Apple and Google have a vice-like grip on how we use mobile phones, and we're concerned that millions of people throughout the UK are losing out," said CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli.UK Regulators Probe Mobile Dominance of Apple and Google

The UK's "new pro-competition framework," according to Chris Philp, minister for technology and digital economy, will level the playing field between IT giants and smaller enterprises.

Apple claims that its ecosystems provide security and privacy, allowing companies to sell products and create jobs. "Apple believes in vibrant, dynamic markets where innovation can thrive," the company stated.

There was no quick response from Google.

The CMA investigation outlined a number of potential solutions, including making it easier for customers to move between Apple's iOS and Google's Android without losing functionality or data.

It's also looking into whether customers can install programs outside of Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.

The CMA stated that it was already looking at other aspects of Apple and Google's companies and that it would take a coordinated approach to these issues.