in an alternative universe
The postman comes to my door and says, "for £1.00 I will deliver this letter"... I pay the £1 and he hands me an advert for the pizza factory down the road. Don't think so.
Ofcom has published an assessment of the UK's mobile industry, which is all looking rosy we are told - but it wants to hear from the public on a range of issues including whether we should pay to receive calls. The report calls for "fresh strategic thinking" on call termination charges - the current rules expire in 2011, so …
The Mobile netwok operators no doubt have been making a fortune out of these termination charges and I would have thought the fixed operator and customer have been subsidising them for sometime.
There is no transparency on their costs to terminate a call and their view that 3G more expensive to terminate is hard to believe. As for paying to recieve a call that will be very interesting as not doubt with the number of crap cold calling that happens no one will dare answer their phone!
This notion that contract customers get a better deal and that this is a bad thing is a crock. Contract customers support the network through their monthly bill plus whatever other charges can be foisted upon them, and they're locked in for 18 months. Whereas PAYG customers are nothing more than capricious fly-by-nights who swap in a new SIM at the drop of a hat. Stuff them. They get to use the network that contract customers have provided the business model for.
And I note that Ofcom didn't bother to mention the creep on default contract duration.
Wonderful, they now want me to pay for the privalage of being pestered by useless pond scum marketters
Termination fees only just about made sense in the states because of the lack of coverage, unregulated operators and their ancient network.
But as we're seeing, the network over there is maturing slowly (still far behind europe, and a distant speck compared to the asian markets) and termination fees are being dropped.
Shifting some of the burden of the cost of a call to the receiver, as in the broken american model, will lead inevitably to one thing, junk phone calls.
The difference in cost between calling a landline and calling a mobile is still a reasonably effective barrier to preventing cold calling and other irritating sales spam. Not only would this be highly irritating, it would be a double slap in the face that you end up having to foot the bill for them harrassing you.
I can also see terrible issues with PAYG users, "oh im running out of credit, can you call me back, no wait i cant afford that either" really helpful not, especially say if its a phone youve given to your kids so you can get hold of them easily.
I think the real reason they would love to do this is they can up the total cost of the calls without you noticing, and rake in the cash. as you never see the total cost of the call yourself its hard for you to see if its now costing more in total than it used to.
Well, I thought for the laugh, I'd visit the blog that they're offering...
Strike me down with a feather, though, they seem to have thrown all caution to the wind and decided to link to El Reg's Comms section in their related links.
I wonder how long that'll stay around... Or is there something good ol' El Reg isn't telling us, and they've actually struck an accord with the Devil? Well, anything for a rubbishy conspiracy theory... (Maybe I should go work for the Faily Mail!)
Well this is an easy answer, "NO". Why? Well let me see... right now, when I receive unsolicited phonecalls I am UBER-hackt off at the intrusion, MEGA-fekkin furious at the sales pitch and ULTRA-unlikely to respond in a favourable way. If it is also going to cost me to enable the unwelcome call to connect to me then I will either refuse to answer ANYTHING that isn't already recognised as a friend/family member (forcing my mother to disable caller-withheld), or remove the battery. End of.
Fantastic! That means I can very quickly drive anyone I like into debt, simply by phoning them repeatedly from different numbers!
And of course they're not really thinking about prepay customers who only have 2p credit - do they propose putting a prepay into debt? How would that work? Prepay customers don't sign a contract, so it'd be unenforcible, surely?
Paris, coz I'd rather get f***ed by her than by OFCOM.
"The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that a mobile phone is now essential "to adequately participate in society""
Sorry? It is essential to have a mobile to adequately participate in society? Where the hell do people like this come from? I've not heard such nonsense in a long while. I think you'll find that you can participate quite well without a mobile, perhaps even better than adequately.
I think there will be serious complaints if termination charges come in to effect. I don't want to have to pay every time someone phones to try and sell me something.
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"40 per cent of punters have changed networks at some point".
"only one in five could name more than one network operator when challenged".
So this implies the majority of people who've changed networks can't even remember the names of both their old and new networks? Just goes to show there's a special kind of person that takes part in surveys.
The poor are marginalised because they tend to use pre-pay phones; Carphone Warehouse and their cohorts have increasingly complex tariffs; the countryside is losing out; and so on and so forth -- and the solution is to get people to pay for calls? Bizarro World. Does anyone at Ofcom still have access to reality-based reality?
"One problem is that while contact customers have been getting bigger bundles, those on pre-paid connections are largely getting the same thing for the same price, only with the numbers changed round a bit. Given that pre-paid customers tend to be at the lower end of the economic scale that's rather unfair"
So whats unfair about everyone being charged roughly the same?
We completely eliminate both land line and mobile charges completely. After all, all it is is passing signals through the ether or along lines.
Ok, so that's unrealistic. Line repair costs, employee costs, maintenance costs, etc. I'm fairly sure that mobile companies could still turn a profit if they dropped the call rate to something like 1p per minute.
"In general, the assessment finds competition is driving prices down and services up - 40 per cent of punters have changed networks at some point, despite the fact that only one in five could name more than one network operator when challenged."
Eh? So 20% of people have changed networks but can only name one network? WTF?
Looks like more stats we can all believe in then...
'The postman comes to my door and says, "for £1.00 I will deliver this letter" '
Actually, that's the way it used to be before the old Penny Post was started. You had to pay to receive your letters - no pay, no letters. Mind you, there was no junk mail then. Just shows that not everything modern is better.
Next step, do away with the NHS, no state pension, children leave school at 10 and go to work climbing up chimneys to clean them.
I for one would get rid of the old mobley if I had to have to pay to receive calls.
I'm not "too" concerned about termination charges. They have them elsewhere and it seems a reasonable thing to do. After all, I have caller ID so, 99% of the time I only answer calls from numbers I recognise anyway. I have a minor problem in that, if it's work then the number does get bloacked.
But all calls I reject go to voicemail. So, my question is, will I have been deemed to have "recevied" the call (and therefore be charged for it) if I ignore it and it goes to voicemail?
If not, then I have no problem with termination charges.
If I DO have to pay, then termination charges are the devils spawn. All it takes is for a bunch of prank-calling kids to ring your phone repeatedly over-night (when I have the ringer set to silent so wouldn't notice) and it would be ME ringing up a bill.
Who were they surveying if only 1 in 5 could name more than one operator.
Lets assume that everyone can name their current operator, so 4 out of 5 people couldn't think of one of the other big 3 (assuming their with the big 4th).
Stupidity like that casts the entire set of results into doubts, how can people who can't even name operators have valid opinions on the future for the industry?
Termination charges IMO are a terrible terrible idea.
On contract 'phones we already pay, it used to be called "line rental". For pay-as-you-go, the companies add a percentage on to recoup the cost of providing it.
All this tells me is that Ofcom has completely lost its marbles. It's the governments job to screw money out of me for things I don't need or want, but at least I get some things I do want from them, and I accept that I have little choice if I want to live in this country.
Mobile phone company tries it, I'll change to a provider who doesn't do it. If I run out of them, then the 'phone goes in the bin (might be a blessing given the morons who can't read "mobile free" on every window and door in the sleeping carriage on the train, or the 'tard in the cinema last night)
When I was over there, I had a T-Mobile prepay account, and had to pay the same whether I made or received a call or text.
It's ridiculous - if someone makes an unsolicited call to me, why the hell should I pay for it? The only answer would be to never answer your phone unless you knew who was calling, and that would be stupid - what if the person calling you is someone you know but you don't have their number yet?
Ofcom need to seriously grow some balls.
The mobile industry is about to go through a major change, at least in the EU, as they have now pretty much reached saturation. They don't have any new people to sell phones to, their existing customers are now starting to demand VALUE FOR MONEY, and the phone companies (and OFCOM) are shitting in their pants as they start to realise that the value for money of most mobile phone contracts is piss-poor.
What on earth makes them think they can get away with "termination charges"? Are these people living on Planet ZOG? Most of us will just decline all calls where we don't recognize the number, so no marketing calls will get answered (not that I EVER buy anything from those pushy f****rs!) and people calling from a different phone to what they normally use (for example, your partner has had a crash and is calling from someone elses phone) will be equally ignored.
I suppose I am part of the backbone of Vodafones income as I'm a contract user, have been since the analogue days, and rarely use up my monthly minutes, texts or data. Voda recently raised charges and it has made me, and several friends wonder whether the convenience of a mobile phone is worth the money. Our conclusion was that it was not.
It's a "nice-to-have", not a necessity (unless you are a teenager in which case I imagine not having one is like having leprosy) and a damned expensive one at that.
Termination charges will definately make me decide to drop the bloody thing in the bin (after taking a nice big hammer to it of course).
Way back when the post (yeah - that old thing) used to work on the basis where the receiver paid up when folks sent them post we ditched that idea for folks who send the mail to cough up to send - so if it didn't work for sending mail, how the heck is it going to work for phone calls?!
I'm gonna get me an 090 number with a £1.50 a minute charge rate (or more if I can manage it) and wave that around in my contact details, in front of as many marketing parasites as I can.
Y'never know I may even be able to retire.
"could you just go over that again, I didn't quite follow...."
Should this termination fee come in, then I would turn on my mobile phones only when I need to make a call, or am explicitly expecting a call. Which would mean it's not usually worth bothering to carry them around. So then the operators are going to fast-track themselves out of business!
The Dark Lord : 'PAYG customers are nothing more than capricious fly-by-nights who swap in a new SIM at the drop of a hat. Stuff them. They get to use the network that contract customers have provided the business model for.'
AC: 'So whats unfair about everyone being charged roughly the same?'
Actually Pay as you go customers are subsidising you.
We have an insane business model in the UK, thanks for taking credit for it DL. In the UK everyone thinks that phone handsets are free. You get the latest handset every 18 months and chuck the old one in a drawer. Those handsets cost hundreds of pounds each. You only get them free because the networks make the money back through contracts and call charges.
So obviously pay as you go users that paid for their handset should get cheaper calls right? Wrong! Pay as you go tarifs are not significantly cheaper then those on contract. Pay as you go users are basically being ripped off to subsidise your latest shiny handset.
This is a blantant example of charging the poor to subsidise toys for the rich.
Furthermore in an age when we are encouraged to recycle everything and look at the impact on the planet of every decision we make, a system that actively attempts to make a complicated piece of electronics a disposable item should be unthinkable.
Execute anybody responsible for making unsolicited phone calls, whether marketing, sales or another one of those that claims to be "not a sales call", & also no matter where in the world the call originated from (TPS really does let us down on this one)... then come back to me on whether to consider charging me to receive calls. Until then...
Or how about unsolicited callers pay money directly to my phone account for the privilege of calling me at £1 a minute. That should nicely offset termination fees.
considering the fact that I have now been waiting 4 weeks for Orange to reply to my letter sent to their "No Correspondence Dept" in regards to cancelling my contract due to exceptionally bad reception at my home address, I find my endearment towards the mobile industry beginning to wane.
I find it insulting at the very least to think that Ofcom would like to "know what people think" about the move. Hardly representing the consumer is it.
I've just conducted my very own survey at work, and all 27 of us in the office who have mobile phones, would bin them if we had to pay to receive calls.
Think of what that would do to their margins. Just another example of Western greed.
Surely under the law of contract you can't be liable to pay for something that you didn't ask for?
If I initiate a phone call, it's my choice and so I'm liable for the call charges; are they claiming that pressing the answer button will form a contract that makes me liable to pay for the call?
Maybe if they made the first ten seconds free so you can hang up if you don't want to speak to the person calling.
If they bring this in then I think the people at Ofcom responsible for this should have their mobile numbers listed on the internet, so everyone can phone up to thank them.
I am totally against the idea of paying to receive calls... It opens up a whole world of abuse.. If you make it cheaper for companies to make unsolicited marketing calls by shifting some of the cost onto the victim, then the number of such calls will only increase.
Then you have people on prepay who never seem to have any credit, but you can still call them... I know people who give phones to their kids so they can be contacted, the kids rarely have any credit on the phones but the parents can still get in touch with them.
Something else that always bugs me, and would only become worse under this proposal, is companies that block their callerid. I don't answer such calls, and if you call any of my fixed or voip lines with a blocked callerid you will get a message saying i don't accept such calls, and asking you to unblock callerid. I also blacklist certain numbers too, so they get a message saying their call is unwanted. I would like something similar for my mobile...
Just going to voicemail isn't good enough as people don't leave a message and have no idea why you didn't answer the phone.
Perhaps they are getting kickbacks from some of the major networks ;)
Termination charges would be abused left right and centre. I have had my (unamed) operator call me up dozens of times while I'm abroad just so they can charge me for the privelage.
I certainly dont want this kind of thing to happen while I'm home too.
If you are a died in the wool Republicrat, set your autodialler to call a bunch of indecisive voters with a long message telling them why they should vote Democritan.
There was a very effective advertising campaign for branded washing power. The adverts were patronising and irritating. They increased sales of the other branded washing powder (made by the same company) at the expense of the store's own brand powders (also made by the same company, but sold with a lower margin).
At the moment, you can ask cold callers to wait a minute, or you can ask them a few simple questions again and again until they go berk. If OFCOM want termination charges, I want their mobile numbers. If a website asks for my number, they currently get their own sales number, but OFCOM could change that.
... all they have to do is make it illegal for business customers to withhold Caller ID (punishable with blanket ban from the operator, very hefty fines and preferably jail time), implement free unlimited call blocking by number at the network operator, and give free (i.e. 0800) unlimited voicemail to all contract subscribers, and it'd work.
There, that won't be too hard for them, will it?
Agreed, I'm not sure we should dismiss this idea out of hand - provided the regulatory and technological framework is properly defined.
If the technology evolves to keep control in the hands of the user then perhaps termination charges could be acceptable.
If I get a call from a new number, one that isn't already in my list of authorised contacts, I want to be given comprehensive information, at no charge, about the caller and the nature of the call BEFORE I accept it and incur the call cost.
If I can make an informed choice about which calls I receive then I suppose I will be happy enough to accept or reject the charge. Of course, I am more likely to take calls from people who don't demand a call termination charge ...
First off, the main reason that a LOT of people don't know more than one network is quite simple - they go to CPW, P4U or similar, and get sold a "deal" - e.g.
Sales Drone: "We can do you the WeRGrdy tariff for £75 a month, half price with cashback, shiny new phone, unlimited calls and texts (subject to FUP and Ts&Cs and a 5-year contract, cashback by redemption) - how does that sound?"
Clueless Punter: "Yeah yeah yeah, I get me a new shiny thing! Woo-hoo! Where do I sign?"
Rarely, in these establishments, do I see the Sales Drones saying anything about the network side, as the Clueless Punter doesn't "need" to know, and generally isn't that interested anyway. I remember seeing a CP in the O2 store who just didn't get that if they bought a phone there it wouldn't be on Orange.
Anyhoo. Re Charges for receiving. The fact that we don't have these in Europe is why we have a mobile market so much in advance of that in the US where this is in place. Paying only to make calls means that there was a much bigger take-up, especially in the late 90's when digital started becoming more widely available when Orange and 121 joined the fun with digital-only offers targeted more at consumers than the Cellnet / Voda digital equivalents which were more business-oriented at the time. If we had had to pay to receive calls, less people (those who paid the bills themselves, anyway) would have got one, because it would have been massively more expensive for them to use - many of those users who DID get one would have kept it switched off aside from when they wanted to make a call. This would have reduced usage enormously, and the market wouldn't have expanded as quickly as it did - which was mainly down to consumer-targeted deals driven by the new market players who upset the Cellnet / Voda applecart with things like per-second-billing and inclusive call allowances, which saw prices tumble - up to this point, you could be paying 80ppm off peak to call a landline (the old Cellnet "Peace of Mind" tariff intended for low users).
Many mobile phones at the moment are in the hands of kids, who, when they have used all their credit up, are still reachable by concerned parents - that's a major factor in buying a PAYG phone for a child. It doesn't matter that they piss away all their credit on ringtones within a day of getting it, because they're still reachable for incoming calls. If paying to receive is introduced, that entire section of the market will dump their phones (in terms of usage, not necessarily by physically getting rid) as that advantage to having them is removed. Would you still buy your child a phone when you're constantly having to put credit on it just so that you can phone them, and you KNOW they'll piss it away? You HAVE to keep putting more on in order to keep them reachable, despite the fact that you know it'll go in days rather than the month it's supposed to last.
Bad OFCOM. Bad! No cookies for you!
Termination credits would be a good idea. Since by answering the phone I am allowing the phone company to charge the caller I deserve some credit for being entertaining enough to keep them on the line.
By answering my phone I am providing the reason for the caller to spend money. I am providing a service that the caller is prepared to pay for, media content, so to speak. Without me and people like me there would be no one for the callers to call. I want my cut of the profits.
Paris could make a lot of money this way.
Unfortunately I have had to read this 166 page document in order to earn my wage and have to say that the reaction of most of you on this post is quite disappointing. Yes termination fees are mentioned but in no way is Ofcom saying that it believes that everyone should pay for incoming calls and this takes up only a very, very small part of the document.
What the document is trying to figure out is where the industry might move to and what regulation may need to change. Section 7 details various scenarios to where the future might go from 'as is' (same old shite but less providers), 'fuck the landline' (everyone uses a mobile and femtocells rule ok), '3G dongles rule' (mobile porn when you want) and 'sims fucking everywhere' (kindle, fridge).
Get my coat as I've likely pissed everyone off.
Are the most overpriced things in existence. I remember a Reg article containing proof that its more expensive to send a local text than it is to communicate with a satellite in orbit.
Its a pity they dont offer a plan in which you pay a small monthly subscription, and then pay for the data you transfer. That means texts would be practically free, as they should be, and if Skype can offer free Skype to Skype calls, I dont see why mobile calls need to be so expensive. The infrastructure has probably paid for itself 1000 times over!
"The full report (pdf) is a little self-congratulatory, pointing out that the mobile sector is now generating more money than fixed telephony and broadband combined"
There's only ONE way that a business makes such grossly excessive profits, and that's by being allowed to charge grossly excessive prices.
Excessive prices prove that competition does not by itself reduce prices. It only does that when the all the competitors do not also have more prices. And the notion that somebody ELSE will do the job cheaper will not work here either -- because it is not possible to licence appropriate frequencies to provide the service.
Ofcom should therefore be gearing itself up for MORE regulation not less.
I get sms messages from my younger siblings and even parents (who are scared of contracts) saying "Call me, I've run out of credit!".... so how much extra business are the mobile operators going to lose now that people who run out of credit can't even receive calls, never mind make them. I know my monthly bill will be a lot cheaper - this month on top of my £35 contract with Tmobile, I payed an extra £30 for calls and text's. It's been a bad month for my phone, but I do usually go over my allowance.
I guess they don't want the extra business, as cold callers generally use landlines to ring people so they won't get that money, and more often than not people won't pick up to with-held numbers - and even less when you pay to recieve them!!
Paris - cos even she wouldn't want to pay to receive calls.
I can almost guarantee you, that they will allow the termination charge, because the "wide public" (in real words the phone-companies execs) will see it as beneficial for competitive reasons!
It would not surprise me in the least, that all phone companies will club together (if they haven't done already) and give the decision makers at OFCOM a little (back)handshake!!!
I don't trust either of them (telcos or OFCOM) as far as I can throw them!!!
Call me paranoid, but having been a consultant for the past 15 years, I have worked at all levels, and all size companies. The bigger the corporate, the more corruption!
Whether they are banks, insurances, telcos, electronic, chemical, government departments etc.
I would love to mention some names, but because I have no direct evidence apart from what I saw in these companies, starting with bribery, over blackmail, to cartels.
So, who really cares, what the public says, as long as the execs make their money...
....doing something just to prove they exist.
Funny thing is, I thought every one knew calling mobiles was more expensive from a land line, and that calling a mobile on another network was more expensive. If you don't want to pay the termination charges, then don't call a mobile.
If OFCOM wanted people to pay attention to the rest of the document then they shouldn't have included an extremely controversial suggestion in such a manner as to cause people to suspect that they were trying to hide it in plain sight.
The fact that the termination fees section only makes up a small part of the document is neither here nor there - bureaucracies have a long dodgy history of trying to cover unpopular ideas in as a few lines as possible, hoping that people won't notice.
From the consumer's point of view, paying to receive calls is about the most radical change you could make. If OFCOM didn't realise that even suggesting it would raise a firestorm, then they're a bunch of idiots.
whilst roaming abroad anyway.
The caller pays for the local leg, the receiver pays for the international leg. So if you have a UK regsitered phone and travel to France, the person calling your UK number pays UK rates, you pay the rest!
Anyway, this could work, if it was optional.
Want lower calling charges, then pay to make AND receive calls.
Don't want to pay to receive calls, then pay more to make them.
The choice is yours
The cardinal rule of "commenting" on tha intawebs is never, ever have in informed opinion; you must always have divine, unshakable faith based on rumour, hearsay and "mutterings from the hive" (or a bloke in the pub, a friend of a friend etc).
So yes, you have probably pissed everyone off since you've actually taken the time to get the information before going off on one... shame on you AC!
I called a new dentist the other day, they wanted name, address and mobile number. I said I didn't have a mobile. After much confusion at the other end, they said the computer wouldn't let them fill the forms without a mobile, they would have to put my work number and make a special note about me!! I could almost hear the receptionist desperate to call me a freak and a troublemaker.
Anti-mobile friends, I know we are legion, we must join up....just not quite sure how we can arrange to meet yet though?!
I've wondered for a while what's up with spam texts and calls in the UK (and Europe?). I've had a mobile for somewhere around 8 years in the land of Uncle Sam, and have gotten, if I recall correctly, three spam texts and no cold calls.
Can anyone explain why that is? I don't think that mobile laws are that much different here. Very odd.
Paris because I don't know what the hell is happening in Europe.
""Given that pre-paid customers tend to be at the lower end of the economic scale that's rather unfair, though Ofcom is at a loss as to what to do about it.""
Fair ? fair ?
A mobile is a f)(*&^%$£"£$%^ luxury, it is not water nor is it oxygen. If the 'poor' can't afford a mobile phone tuff tits. They'll just have to cut down on the JPS and the Prigles multipacks at the weekend then, won't they......
....I totally and wholeheartedly disagree with anyone who says it seems "fair" to have termination charges for end users. I don't want to pay for "johnny no-credit" to call me. I pay my bill so that I can have credit to make calls when I need to, not to receive them when somebody else needs to contact me.
The only people it would benefit are the network operators and the cold calling telemarketing companies.
They want to have less regulation as soon as possible... they don't "£$%"£$%ing regulate now, so why should they want less... They are a joke, run by tools and R'tards...
All the adverts and still 4 out of 5 can only name one network shows just how well advertising is failing then, or how retarded the people of this country really are.
OFcom should be shut down and all staff sacked if they want to have us pay to receive calls... when cold calls are on the increase and thanks to lax DP laws and bad ofcom rules the jamsters and data pimping people of this world pass numbers round freely.
I have a USA rob-as-you-go SIM that I use when i'm over there, depending on the value of the refill voucher you purchase your calls are more or less expensive - that's not really that bad, you just make sure you buy $50 or better top-ups. What they don't tell you at the outset is that you pay to receive a call at the same rate per min and pay to receive text messages. This took me nearly a year of having a number there to realise and there's no way out of it on PAYG. We have it lucky in some ways, they still allow networks to expire your credit and number after a set period whereas at least over here if you don't use it your credit stays good which is ideal for light users.
a) Pay more for calls than contract customers, text messages and data services
b) Pay outright for the handset (versus "free" [subsidised] for contract customers)
c) Find the handsets are locked to the network
d) Aren't able to make use of certain services available to contract customers (i.e., they're simply not available)
e) Often can't get the same handsets as contract customers
Far from “contract customers propping up the networks”, PAYG customers make the networks an absolute mint, because they end up charging an absolute fortune for any real-world level of usage. History has shown that the number of mobile users is only going to go up over time for the next foreseeable future, and unless one network is absolutely head-and-shoulders better or worse than the others, there's no point in treating PAYG customers like dirt to work around the lack of contractual lock-in, because (where customer numbers are concerned), what comes around, goes around—you'll have customers leave, and others join you, but ultimately you'll probably have the same share of PAYG customers you did a year ago, unless you're really good or really bad.
If Ofcom is at a loss to figure out what to do with PAYG customers, allow me to suggest… given that the handset is paid-for upfront (which covers the cost of an 18-month contract with no optional extras), decree that everything else must be comparable in terms of cost: same bundles, same call rates, same features. The only exceptions permitted will be those on technical or logistic grounds (i.e., you have to do everything out of prepaid credit, you can't start things on the next billing cycle, or have the cost of things spread over x months into the future).
Far from losing customers, the networks would soon discover that although many people use PAYG phones and have every intention of doing so (the numbers are not to be sniffed at), the basic ability to switch networks at the drop of a hat is far outweighed by the fact that most people don't actually want to all that often.
I think in the industry "call termination charges" are what one network charges another to handle their call. I.e if one calls from voda to O2 it's what O2 charges voda. It does not imply the end user is paying to receive calls; such charges are ultimately passed back to the originator.
The reason it's topical is because EU recently imposed limits on termination charges, which were seen as excessive, in order to reduce cross-border and roaming costs. Neither the operators nor OfCom welcomed the EU's intervention. Hence it's still on the agenda.
This is at the AC who 'had to read' the document....
What people here are rightly voicing opinions on is the possibility that this could come to fruition. My straw poll indicates that it is not a popular option.
The big Mobile providers in the UK make about £40 per phone per year profit. And between the big four there are 68 million phones connected so the poor buggers have to split £2.7bn profit between them. So, I for one cannot see any justification whatsoever for even considering this as an option.
It does raise the very real issue of the mobile becoming another essential utility, like petrol, gas, leccy, water and broadband. When you are an essential utiltity, it becomes easy to manipulate the market into greater profitability, generally through the unwritten collusion of the major players. Noticed what has happened to prices of most essential utilities lately? And noticed the profitability of these utilities?
People are right to be concerened, especially as some posters here have pointed out that a lower 'send' fee + a 'receive' fee are likely to exceed the current cost per call.
Maybe if the providers refunded you for minutes you didn't use in your plan then just maybe.
If I can't opt out, or automatically restrict accepted callers to those whose number is stored in my phone, then it's bye-bye mobile.
Fun while it lasted.
No way will I ever, EVER accept termination charges. They're not specified in my contract now so as far as I'm concerned, they're invalid.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that a mobile phone is now essential "to adequately participate in society"
The lets make mobile telcos rich society perhaps.
I will not pay to receive mobile phone calls EVER.
@AC:Have any you actually read any of the document?
No, my interest waned at the 166 pages long bit revealed here on the Reg.
As for where the industry might move, Jupiter, Saturn, large Magellanic Cloud are places that immediately jumped to mind. Although I find having a mobile useful, to me it is far less essential than the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) I wouldn't miss it if I binned it today.
"yes termination fees are mentioned but in no way is Ofcom saying that it believes that everyone should pay for incoming calls and this takes up only a very, very small part of the document."
It may only be a tiny part of the document but then true evil doesnt always come in large well defined sections of highly publicised documents, the evil doers like to sneak it in without anyone noticing you see.
Termination fees are the best ways i can think of to ruin the mobile market.
I use this system now. If a call doesn't appear with a name from my address book I don't answer it (ever). Anyone that needs to phone me must send a text or leave a voicemail with their name, number & reason for wanting to call me.If I agree with the reason and think I should talk to this person I add the number to my address book and wait for them to call.
I still don't agree with termination charges, it means that the cost of the call is being paid twice, once by the originator and again by the receiver. - seems to me to be a nice way to double the phone companies profits.
"I'm gonna get me an 090 number with a £1.50 a minute charge rate (or more if I can manage it) and wave that around in my contact details, in front of as many marketing parasites as I can."
Apart from being cheaper than £1.50, that's exactly how mobiles work right now: callers pay through the nose in inflated termination fees. The "termination fee" is not a charge to you for receiving calls, it's the fee callers pay right now to have their call delivered ("terminated" in telco-speak) at your handset.
Right now, the termination fees for mobiles are much, much higher than for landlines. Ofcom decided they were unreasonable (obvious even to the dimmest regulator, when one mobile company actually started paying its users to receive calls to boost profits!) and forced them down a little bit, but they're still far too high.
What I hope is that Ofcom is considering removing, or at least slashing, this termination fee. This would bring the cost of calling mobiles down closer to the cost of calling landlines - and no, it wouldn't mean paying to receive calls, it would just mean the networks would have to make their profits on something other than incoming calls. When they are selling their own customers outgoing call time at 200 minutes (plus 200 texts, line rental and an expensive handset), how on earth can they pretend it "costs" the better part of 10p/min for them to handle incoming calls?! Even 1p/min is inflated - but far less than they charge in termination fees right now.
I have to say I dont understand the hate towards PAYG cutsomers. I used to be a contract person with Vodafone from 1995 till 2006. I was a light user and they got my £12 a month for all that time like clockwork but they treated me like scum the three times (in 10 years) I asked about an upgrade. I used to argue that it wasnt my fault I wasnt a text addicted 14 year old girl but they just didnt care.
In the end I left them. I went PAYG and have never looked back. I now pay just £5 a month for my phone. Thats it, its so simple. You can top it up in most shops and its so easy.
Why is it that folks think £30 a month is a good deal? Its a rip off! The networks are laughing at all those contract folks that only use a fraction of the call time they are paying for. Mugs for the most part.
If you just want a phone to keep in touch and the odd few txts then PAYG really is the best option. Fancy phones are usually slow, battery heavy junk anyway.
you can see that it is a very unpopular plan. I'm sure the MNO would love to be able to squeeze more money out of us. I get 1100 minutes or texts per month and only spend more than my monthly fee due to the doctors and others using 0845 and 0850 etc. I'm sure many others are in the same position. It would be a step back and would lose the industry money in the long term. I for one would just not answer calls but call people back that way they can pay for it not me!
A couple of things that everyone appears to be missing regarding the current state of termination rates:
a) you are already paying to recieve calls - the telco's just make the money by charging you more to make outgoing calls in the first place.
b) the current mobile operators want the status quo to continue as they earn 20% of their revenue from fleecing us this way. Currently H3G and BT are trying to get this overturned (BT pays around £1.5bn to mobile companies).
Another interesting thing raised in the document (again not mentioned here) is the possibility of forcing the telcos to share infrastructure especially in areas where coverage is crap and it is not worth the companies investing in (those green areas outside the ringroads and where the locals have a keen interst in sheep).
Although not really mentioned anywhere is how the large mobile telcos are trying to kill off the competition i.e. WiMax. In the UK they are already delayed the auction of the 2.6 GHz band by taking Ofcom to court in the hope that their LTE ("4G") will catch up. Rumor is that BT is interested in bidding and re-entering the mobile market.
Hatches down as I appear to be defending Ofcom quite a bit.
I'm astonished at how ignorant you Brits can be about American mobile telephony. You make it sound as if our monthly phone bills are laden with charges from telemarketers! Actually, we have a law against telemarketing calls to mobile phones, and it's rather effective. But in any case, I haven't paid for a domestic mobile phone call in years. I pay about $100/month for a family plan that gives a bucket of minutes (1400/month) to three phones, noting that calls within the same carrier's network (includes the family phones, of course) don't even count. And maybe some times of day; I never come close enough to worry about it.
Oh, and no roaming charges either within the entire US, and no domestic tolls. So now we have college students taking their home-market mobiles with them and using them in lieu of the dorm PBX. A student will use a California phone in New York to call down the hall to a Pennsylvania phone. (Phones have regular local numbers, of course, since they are retail-billed as regular calls.) Same charge (zero) unless they run over the plan limit. And an unlimited plan is now available for about $100/month (for one phone). At current exchange rates that's what, a few quid? ;-)
So our average monthly usage per mobile phone is now over 1000 minutes, and the average per-minute cost is around six little US cents. (Is there a Euro coin worth that little?) And the operators are making money.
not as heavily granted, but they are. You want to buy a newish phone contract free then you are looking at a couple of hundred quid, the same phone on contract is free but you pay for it on the (24) monthly fees. Payg phone costs more but still not the same as sim free. thats why they are locked to the network.
When that nice new shiny phone is "free" they should look at why. buy the phone off contract, get a good sim only deal and see how much you spend over the next 2 years. I bet it's less to buy the phone up front.
That said the sim only "deals" seem to be going up in price as well now they are becoming more popular.
skull and cross bones 'cause all networks are pirates!
You WOULD be charged for spam being saved to your voicemail, as the reverse of page 839, para. 97(f)(n), line 58, of your contract clearly states that, 'all calls will be answered and charged for'.
You would then be charged for your voicemail receiving spam, sending you a reminder, for receiving the reminder, for calling your voicemail, then for your voicemail replying to you and for you receiving the reply.
Thank you for calling your spam voicemail, we appreciate your custom, six times over.
... and give it to anyone that "has to have" your mobile number. Set it to "divert always" to your real mobile number.
1) They are lying anyway, so let them pay 50p/minute for the privilege of calling you;
2) They can't send SMS (text) messages to it, so they are going to be disappointed when they try;
3) If someone you know really needs to contact you, then by all means give them your *real* mobile number;
4) You can still (if you want, but it spoils the fun) log the personal number with the Telephone Preference Service so that genuine telemarketers won't call you;
5) This is the best bit! When the number starts to circulate to the bottom-of-the-pond telemarketers, you can feign enthusiasm for the product, ask all sorts of long and complex questions about the product, ask them to speak more slowly and/or repeat themselves, and - finally - when you get tired of all this, tell them they've been paying 50p/minute for wasting your time, and ask if they feel that it was worth it?
PS - Great! You can set personal numbers up to receive faxes and they then e-mail the fax to you free... someone has added mine to a fax spam list and it's GREAT to receive junk faxes from them, knowing that it's costing them a fortune!
So many accusations here, so little honesty.
So the mobile NWs are paid off 1000 times by now, eh? I guess you aware that the operators paid 4Billion over 20 years to OfCom for a license (that OfCom are hoping to repeat in the Autumn) and obviously you know that its 120K for a brand new mobile cell site, plus ground rent etc and another 10K or so in leccy. Oh and BT backhauls most of the traffic so takes a slice of all your calls to cover that cost.
So the guy who has read the document turns out to be in the WiMAX camp, vainly hoping that an all-IP network will be cheaper to roll-out and run and that this will give some competition and thereby lower call costs? Actually you've been suckered into the 2.6GHz auction. the aim is that OfCom can screw over the Mobile Operators by increasing competition for spectrum and this will be passed on as increased call costs!
Here in Canada where the called party pays, there's only 60% mobile penetration and 70% in the US, compared to around 120% in the UK (accounting for people with multiple SIMS for Blackberry, MBB Dongles etc) which says a lot. People are still back in UK 1990s technology about if they should make a call, and signing up means a 3-YEAR contract!
So the MNOs made 2.7 Billion profits eh? And this is for all the voice/texts/WAP/Mobile data you could want. BT was making the same money 15 years ago for pathetic fixed-line voice only service?
Call termination charges as defined by OfCom and Viviane Reding of the EU, are intercompany charges where both the A-party company and the B-Party company receive compensation for setting up their part of the call.
Everyone thinks that if you get rid of them call costs would drop, but now you see the ugly reality, the B-Party company still wants to be paid and the real alternative is Called-Party Pays like I have here in Toronto. That's what keeps phones out of ~50% of the populations pockets, so maybe you'll just like to accept that a termination charge paid between the 2 companies keeps you in control.
Despite the incestuous relationship that exists between the Cellcos and their so-called regulator, not even Ofcom could justify the outrageous profiteering that took place under the scam of 'roaming charges'. But, being Ofcom, what they take away with one hand they readily give back with the other, and so we now have to go through a farcical 'public consultation' exercise before parity is restored to company balance sheets. Termination charges will be imposed. End of story.
@ The Dark Lord
"Whereas PAYG customers are nothing more than capricious fly-by-nights who swap in a new SIM at the drop of a hat. Stuff them. They get to use the network that contract customers have provided the business model for."
Dark Lord, you will be pleased to know that the major Cellcos are currently engaged in another Ofcom approved profit recovery execise, namely hiking the cost of text messaging for PAYG customers in order to subsidise cheeky chappys like yourself.
The SMS protocol defines the maximum message size as either 160 7-bit characters or 140 8-bit characters plus header data. For simplicity lets say the whole packet consists of 200 bytes of data at £0.1 (10p). Extrapolating from this we find that PAYG customers are being charged at a rate of approximately £500 per megabyte of raw data.
1 Megabyte = 1,048,576 bytes
1 SMS packet = 200 bytes
1,048,576/200 = 5243 SMS messages per megabyte
5243*0.1 = £524 (cost per megabyte)
Your subsidised lifestyle is about to be further enhanced with the increases in the pipeline. Enjoy.
That sounds like a recipe for getting lots of SIM cards posted back to you without stamps.
The first phone company that tries it will lose customers. Anybody remember when banks started charging you to withdraw your money from other banks' cash machines? Didn't last long, did it? We just moved our accounts to the banks whose machines we actually used.
Anyway, the message is simple. DO NOT WANT.
Alternative solution to termination fees: networks could charge a different amount of money to call phones on each network. It already costs different amounts to call the same number from different mobile phone networks, so why not charge different amounts depending on the network of the recipient as well as the sender. There are already different rates for calling different countries, types of phone number, etc. This way you could incorporate the termination fee directly in the cost to the caller.
The current problem with termination fees is that without any competition (or even visibility) networks have no incentive to reduce them. The downside with my proposal is you might not know how much your call costs, but call cost can be rather impenetrable at present - and it wouldn't be hard for phones to give a running display of costs (it's just that networks really don't want to do that because you'd hang up a lot sooner).
Personally, I think if banks can agree on free ATM access, I don't see why phone operators can't agree to waive termination fees. But maybe mobile phone operators are even more incompetent than banks.
"The postman comes to my door and says, "for £1.00 I will deliver this letter"... I pay the £1 and he hands me an advert for the pizza factory down the road. Don't think so."
Yea verily, many years ago, before Sir Rowland Hill invented stamps, that is exactly what happened (though not pizza ads). People then invented all sorts of ways of writing little coded messages on the envelopes, so that the recipient could have a quick look at what the postboy gave them, read the code and then hand the letter back saying that they didn't want it. Lots of postal effort for no return.
It was recognised in the early nineteenth century that this was no way to run a message delivery system - so why should we go back to the dark ages?
Well IF I could set the phone ONLY to receive calls from given numbers, and all rejected calls had to pay twice. so spam calls, "wrong" numbers etc will have to pay double for the unconnected phone call, me I would only have a couple of numbers, one being an 0870 number that then called me. You can use the system.
How it works, if someone I do not know wants me they ring my 0870 that if I am not at home rings my mobivox number. Bet the spammers would love that, "double glazing mate, (just keep them talking for half an hour and you have had them pay the phone for a month)"
Oh come on, pay to receive, someone will be telling me next garages are going to pay me for them to service my car. Theres an idea.
Complain about Ofcom having nothing better to do:-
Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
Tel: 0845 015 4033 (enquiry line)
Fax: 020 7217 4000
I worked for the international calls part of a big European telco some years ago. The charging is modelled on the way airline carriers work and is based on trust. In essence you say how many minutes you routed where, the other companies say the same, you reconcile the minutes and whoever is left in deficit pays the other.
But, of course, it's based on *trust*. You have to believe the other operators aren't pulling your chain and their accounting and call management aren't unreliable rubbish. Making me pay for calls because a bunch of very rich companies that have lots of very expensive exchange equipment that should be able to do this accounting actually can't is ever so slightly crap. I actually don't believe it, to be honest, the accounting mechanisms go back to the ark and have worked for ever. I wonder if we have a dishonest supplier somewhere who are making it different for everyone else and no-one is willing to spill the beans?
"Anti-mobile friends, I know we are legion, we must join up...."
It always amuses me when I meet people who don't have a mobile and think it is a proud and noble thing. My reaction is usually frankly, who cares? Your choice etc but please drop the "look at me! I'm special!" stance
"I never come close enough"
"average per-minute cost is around six little US cents"
Contradicting yourself a little bit aren't you? If you don't use all or close to all of your minutes, your cost is not six cents per minute. Domestic roaming is a non-feature too, it's just a product of the initial fragmentation of the US mobile market, and you can't roam on Verizon network with an AT&T phone anyway. So $100 is pretty steep for what you really get. But then again, there are people who think that a $100+ cable TV subscription is worth it too and then complain about $4 gas. Yes, I don't have cable, yes, I'm on a prepaid phone at <$10/month, and yes, I drive a 15mpg minivan :-). Different priorities :)
"... all they have to do is make it illegal for business customers to withhold Caller ID (punishable with blanket ban from the operator, very hefty fines and preferably jail time), implement free unlimited call blocking by number at the network operator, and give free (i.e. 0800) unlimited voicemail to all contract subscribers, and it'd work."
And this would deter foreign call centres HOW? especially those that are now spoofing UK 01xxx/02xxx codes in caller ID... If OFCOM want something to occupy their obviously empty days.. this is one issue they should be looking at, rather than looking for a way to milk us out of more of our hard earned.
If someone wants to call me, that is THEIR choice... not mine, why should I pay for it? This is clearly another example of a body with too much time on its hands looking to "fix" things that are not broken. Business needs to realise markets are finite, they cannot grow perpetually. I thought OFCOM was supposed to improve telecoms not drag things back to the dark ages.
If this comes in I will no longer be using a mobile phone.
It only works well with the current options cellcos offer if you can justify the cost of one of the packages with vast numbers of minutes to spare. I can't; I just don't use the thing enough to spend $100/month on it and that wouldn't change even if I had more minutes than I could ever use.
I'd happily pay full retail price for a *non-subsidized* phone, add a *non-expiring* PAYG package to it and yes, pay to receive calls too, for those situations where a cellphone is invaluable. Being non-subsidized I'm sure they could make some money on such a setup, but they don't offer it and instead I had to opt for the most basic contract plan which works out cheaper than the limited PAYG options anyway, if you watch your minutes.
What this ends up meaning is, between 7am and 7pm, when calls in either direction use up minutes from the meager monthly allowance, I just don't make or answer calls without good reason.
This mostly defeats the purpose of having a cellphone though, making me question whether I should even keep the stupid thing when the contract expires.
RE: Needing a landline contact number when without landline, for those who are able to drop the landline due to their broadband being cable for example, you can simply get a phone number from Sipgate that's a regular number, have it set to voicemail at all times or just use it as a VoIP line to receive calls.
As for ATMs not charging customers for using other banks for long, I think you are confused they charged customers for not using their own bank or later a few banks in a group for years and year and years, it wasn't that long ago they actually dropped the charges, granted they wanted to reintroduce them, but the had been charging for many times longer than they haven't.
I receive far more calls then i make on my mobile, something in the region of 10 incoming to every outgoing. This is cause i'm the I.T. guy and quite often find that i'm on the phone for an hour trying to explain to someone that they need to plug in the small round purple back in.
Because these calls are paid for by the customer and that i can deal with peps on the phone while working on other system I've been providing this telephone support for free (Well the customer has to pay his phone bill) Looks like i'll have to change this.
I think the most annoying thing will be bloody stupit BT contrators.
I get atleast one call me a week - the call always starts off nice and i try to help by telling them whats wrong there wiring which i would of fixed on the spot if it would of been legal :p but always ends up with me saying "Hang on, your the one getting paid for this job. Pay me or figure it out yourself" and now i'm gonna have to pay to tell someone who is getting paid how to do there job. Screw it i'm getting a 09 number.
Why is it that I can't get freephone on 0800 when I call from my mobile.? In fact, I can't even get it included in the (effectively infinite) number of free minutes that I have. From a mobile, it costs *more* to dial an 0800 (allegedly freephone) line than a standard landline!
>The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that a mobile phone is now essential "to adequately participate in society" - so while some people don't want to actively join in, it's a concern that so many people aren't able to.<
Logically, then, those who refuse to go cellular are committing an Anti-Social act.
Isn't the fine the same as paying for a cellular 'phone? Without getting one?
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