back to article Vodafone says termination rate clampdown would hit the poor

Vodafone today claimed 40 million Europeans will be forced to drop their mobile phone service if EU-led moves to scrap the current call termination charging system go ahead. Pay as you go users who make fewer outgoing calls would face big retail price hikes if operators lost revenues, the firm said. Those typically poorer …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Danny
    Dead Vulture

    Get Stuffed

    No way am I ever paying to receive a call. I will quite happily chuck my mobile in the bin before agreeing to pay for something I haven't initiated.

  2. Andy

    Such a terrible idea

    Noone else should be able to cost me money - or have to pay because I want to speak to them. I say this as a guy who makes an awful lot of calls, and would therefore presumably be in line to save money. Next we'll be hearing that receiving SMS messages should cost money, like in the US...

    Whether Vodafone are right (probably not) or being greedy because the current system suits them (more likely), they're on the right side here.

  3. Brutus

    Cold Calling

    Personally, I'm not in favour of the US style system. It's irritating enough getting cold-calls on my mobile without the added insult of having to pay for the experience.

    I'm quite happy to pay the extra on my out-going calls to ensure that I only pay for time I want to spend on the phone and not shell out for every cold-call, wrong number or nuisance call (sorry - courtesy call) from Voda. I think we should keep it in the same manner as the postal service - sender pays. In fact, I'd even consider making the caller pay for the international part of a roaming call (after a suitable automated warning of course).

  4. Chris


    You can choose to accept the call or not, so you won't be charged unknowingly. Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users.

    You will still be able to choose a tariff with no incoming cost - you'll just have to pay for it through higher call charges/rental elsewhere.

    Someone always has to pay, otherwise the service isn't provided in the first place.

  5. Paul

    What rubbish.

    If I make a call I know how much it costs and if I can afford it. If I start being charged to recive calls...

    The poorer phone users will be worse off by not being able to budget. Its just stupid realy.

  6. Matt

    Mine's for the bin too

    if they do this.

    The other tjhing I've noticed in the UK is that it's difficult to know how much a call is going to cost.

    When I call someone I should pay a certain rate based, if necesary on the time of day and the duration of the call. I can understand "friends and family" discounts but it seems to me to be a con that I have to pay one price if the number is with O2, another for Vodafone etc.

    With number portability I can't know who the recipient is with.

    Add to that the complexity of the pricing plans and we're being ripped off left right and centre!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get...

    Why does anyone want this? I don't see why it's benefitial for any party to charge the receipient of a call, it makes no sense to me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why on earth are we trying to copy the US market?

    'Proponents of the US system, where the costs of calls is shared by the originating and the receiving network, argue that increased competition means consumers get a better deal'

    Are these proponents stoned? The US cellphone market is a stunted shadow of what it should be. Apart from the iPhone, they are years behind in terms of technology and utilisation (compare the features on your average Nokia phone to your average Motorola phone). They should be using Europe as a model of increased competition rather than the other way round.

  9. Phil Miesle

    consider this...

    Two lines, 1000 peak minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, unlimited anytime calls between the two lines, and unlimited calls to two sets of 5 numbers. $80/mo, with $10/mo for each of up to three additional lines. That's T-Mobile.

    Or consider AT&T pre-paid plans. [$0.25/min] or [$1/day-of-usage and $0.10/min to non-ATT numbers plus unlimited calls to ATT numbers].

    And need I mention that these are national plans...doesn't matter if I'm making calls between New York and San Francisco, doesn't matter where I am.

    And don't get me started on data rates...AT&T's iPhone data transfer is uncapped.

    Sorry, I've been on US plans and Irish plans, and I'd take the US "pay to receive calls" any day of the week.

    In fairness, I'd really just welcome some actual competition between carriers...but of course European carriers paid billions for their 3G licenses. (At auction, so you can hardly fault the governments there...)

  10. Steve

    If YOU decide to make a phone call YOU should pay for it

    If you recieve an unsolisitated phone call why the hell should you pay for it!

    I would seriously reconsider owning a mobile or set my phone to only recieve calls from the phonebook numbers, yes you can do that on some phones.

  11. dervheid

    "survey of 9,000 mobile phone users...

    showed significant resistance to the notion of paying to receiving calls"

    One could presume that out of the 9000, approximately 8999 told Vodabone to go f**k themselves on that idea.


  12. Nermal

    Another Brilliant Idea, Oh hange on No...

    I am impressed that they suggesting a new way to allow people to grief one another.

    If some-one offends you all you have to do is keep ringing them burn your free minutes against their PAYT. Even if you hit their voice mail it will burn the credits.

    Then they will have to introduce something to fix the problem they have just created.

    What "Totaly Working And Tested" person came up with that one.

    Danny & Brutus, I have to agree with both of you.

  13. Chris Ovenden

    The end of cold calls?

    Actually, I'm in favour: no more cold calls, because everyone will be unwilling to pick up a call from an unknown person.

  14. Sampler

    Cold Calling and the TPS

    Sick of getting cold calls, sign-up to the TPS:

    And every cold caller gets a nice £5k fine.

    Well, not /every/ but it does cover alot of folk, you can also sign-up for the mail preference too.

    As for the article - hope they don't, that would just suck and make it more confusing when I have to pick a deal - not only how many texts, data and outgoing calls but will have to ork out the incoming call amount too (same and cross nextwork)

  15. Mark

    re: choice

    "You can choose to accept the call or not, so you won't be charged unknowingly. Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users."

    So what about voicemail? You either have to turn it off or you don't GET a choice.

    And as for the price of PAYG going up, if it goes up on per call pricing, then I will either accept or make fewer calls (choice), if the handsets go up, then you buy them second hand (which the poor have to do anyway, since even a cheap handset costs over a tun without a monthly subscription).

  16. leon clarke

    Why can't the market decide?

    What's to stop a phone network offering accounts with geographical numbers instead of 077 numbers which do pay to receive calls? Customers can then decide whether or not they want to buy one of them or an ordinary expensive-to-ring mobile number.

    The fact that no-one offers this sort iof plan suggests that it's not wanted.

  17. Chris Miller

    US model is irrelevant

    The US model arose because mobiles were allocated numbers in the same range as land lines. Because the caller had no way of knowing whether it was a mobile or not (and most local calls were free) it was only reasonable for the mobile user to pick up the tab. I can't see any reason why we should follow this model over here.

    I'd like to know what happens if I reject a call and it falls back to my voice mail - who pays for it then?

  18. Will


    "Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users."

    So... do you mean people who use the phone more have to pay more? Like everything else in the world?

  19. Nick Kew

    We already pay to receive calls

    I think El Reg is inadvertently scaremongering in this article, by leading readers to suppose we'll be expected to pay to receive calls including spam, wrong numbers, etc. If that happens it'll be by choice or when we're scammed. At least, I assume so ...

    I for one have paid a lot for incoming calls over the years, without the option. That's because, as a one-man business (from 1998 to earlier this year) I had to ensure my landline would divert to the mobile and I wouldn't miss vital business calls. So the landline was being charged full call-to-mobile charges, and that's a sector where they seem to operate a cartel (no bloody competition).

    Just to complete the scam, there was an idiot Estate Agent[1] who kept giving my (landline) numbers to his customers, so I'd get their calls at my expense. Being a public-facing business, they had about 100 incoming calls diverted to me for every business call I got.

    [1] The callers always asked for "Ben". There were several other staff at the same agent, but never a call for anyone else. So I have to infer that it was Ben who couldn't give his own phone number, rather than lots and lots of customers getting it wrong.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    for further consideratin

    Consider, your plans generally cover an area the size of one of our states. I know in Pennsylvania, I can get an unlimited plan (that's right, unlimited calls, to anywhere in the country, to any number) for under $100US. Roaming only applies if you leave the state. Most plans other plans have no roaming anywhere in our country (but limit weekday minutes). How much would it cost to have no roaming charges anywhere in Europe?

    As it stands, we don't have the most advanced service nationwide, but we do have good service in all major metro's. Consider the cost of rolling out an updated service and towers to all of Europe. BTW, you can choose which calls to accept on your cell vs. landline. Caller ID is always included in the cell plan.

    I subscribed to calling party pays back in the `90s, but with the cost of minutes today, why bother. Additionally, unless you have an alert prior to connecting, how do you know the number you've received is a landline or a cell?

    Caveat: I haven't paid for a cell in over five years. If my employer wants me to carry, they'll provide it (and they have).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobile call charges

    Don't US mobile phones have "ordinary" telephone numbers so it is not possible to tell from the number whether it is a landline or mobile number? Presumably that is why people are not charged more to call a mobile phone and the extra cost is charged to the recipient of the call.

  22. John Young


    If this means that I will no longer be forced to subsidise people who have no landline.

    To spell it out for the mobitards:

    You have a land line - I can call you for free (it's in my landline package).

    You only have a mobile - it costs me a packet to call you.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The EU Comissioner Cant Be Serious...

    ... This complete numpty hasnt a clue, she is on a one woman mission to screw over every EU citizen, with all this screwing wouldnt you think somone would be happy?

    As Nan Taylor from the Catherine Tate Show would say "What A F@$%ing Liberty, If this fruit loop thinks being charged to RECIEVE a call is the way to go then she wants hit over the head with a mobile phone!

    Yes there should be a standard for all mobile operators in the EU when it comes to charging, including a standard termination charge they charge each other for calls to each others network so that its fair, but this should be something introduced as legislation for them, and not at the expense of the consumer - afterall why should be suffer because operators charge different fees to each other?

    Why cant she just leave everything else as is, she has made calls cheaper to send and recieve when abroad (IN EU) hopefully texts will be cheaper too as they are currently excessive, and data charges reduced too but then STOP at that - these are simple benefits we EU citizens should get being part of it...

    Maybe her focus should be Fixed Line providers like Virgin Media, and BT who think its fair to charge per minute rather than per second for calls... Which is the biggest form of daylight robbery in the telecommunications market, and a 7p connection charge when it costs the company less than 1p is also excessive - this is what the bint needs to look at and leave the mobile well alone.


  24. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Bleeding obvious

    ***"Vodafone said its survey of 9,000 mobile phone users showed significant resistance to the notion of paying to receiving calls."***

    They needed a *survey* to work that out?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Screw over pay as you go customers

    After going on holiday to the US I'm certainly not keen on the pay to receive model. One of the reasons the European market has been so successful with mobile phones is the explosion of pay as you go users, without them we would never have seen so much widespread adoption so fast. Pay to receive harms pay as you go users.

    As suggested by others, let those who want to pay to receive calls use another number allocation - don't go changing the current purpose of the existing mobile allocations which is working perfectly well. I'm sure something in the 01/02/03 range would work nicely, they'd have the benefit of more people being willing to phone them as it would be forced to be identical to a regular phone call to a landline for the person calling.

  26. Chris Adams

    PAYG problems

    Imagine you give your child (Daily Mail Alert!) a mobile phone on PAYG and the brat blows all their credit on texing their mates in class.

    Great, now you can't contact them because they have no credit to pay for the incoming call and they have no money/ability to top up.

    Same as me at the end of the month, really.

    This just makes no sense, unless it only applies to contract deals and then they'd have to seriously reduce calling costs/rental to make it sufficiently appealing to customers. Let's be honest, they've already set the charges the way they are to factor in the financial burden of the whole call so if they stopped having to pay for part ot it the charges must come down.

    No, any way you look at it, this would be a nightmare to implement and would be very unpopular. You'd have companies falling over themselves to get the other companies' customers by offering "Free to receive" calls and we're back where we started.

  27. Chris

    Re: Paying for voicemail

    Well, if you want the *service* of voicemail, you can pay for it. If you don't want that service, then disable it. You still have a choice.

    I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged. So it isn't free, it's just paid for by the people who call you. They don't get a choice.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cold Calling and the TPS

    Problem with the TPS is it only applies to those who are actually selling you something directly (many get around it by claiming it's marketing or a survey and then after fishing your details you are hooked onto mailing list, or when asked/pushed if you'd like further details they transfer you to someone who will sell you something and that's fine because you've effectively agreed).

    But worse is that most now are initiated from outside the UK and usually outside the EU, where the law doesn't apply (but the calls are clearly targeted at UK customers).

    As for the article though. Sure, no one is going to want to pay for receiving calls. However, Vodafone and all the other operators also take the royal piss when it comes to hiking the so called "cost" of termination fees on the customer. All they're doing here is going "boo hoo, it's soooo unfair" and then spin the call receive fee line to ensure the customers are going to complain and are on their side.

    If they stopped ripping people off, the EU would have little need to do this. Though the EU could cap the termination fees further though (whilst ensuring operators are not allowed to hike fees in any other way to compensate).

  29. Steve

    Re: Cold Calling and the TPS

    "Sick of getting cold calls, sign-up to the TPS:"

    I have, but sadly they've found a loophole. Apparently market surveys and the like are excluded, so I've recently had an increase in firms calling me to conduct 'surveys' - ie, wanting to ask me one or two questions that they can then push their product with. One caller got very shirty with me when I said I'd signed up with the TPS and was implying I was stupid for not knowing this exclusion meant it was his right to call me. I will not buy from companies that cold call, especially not if their callers are pushy and refuse to go away when asked politely to do so.


  30. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The wrong argument

    Termination fees across Europe are set by the national regulator and reflect the cost of routing the call/maintaining the network/paying for licences. As such they are strictly not subject to EU regulation. However, termination charges do vary widely across Europe and this variation can be seen as a barrier to inner European competition which is why the Commission feels it has a remit on the subject.

    Regarding PAYG - these are simply pre-paid contracts. Nothing stopping the networks setting either a monthly connection fee or charging for call delivery and rejigging the tariffs and informational material accordingly.

    As for VF sticking up for the customers. Aren't they the cnuts who've just upped the prices?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @John Young - why should I subsidise YOUR calls?

    > If this means that I will no longer be forced to subsidise people who have no landline.

    To spell it out for the mobitards:

    You have a land line - I can call you for free (it's in my landline package).

    You only have a mobile - it costs me a packet to call you.

    In the last year I made a total of £25-worth of calls on my landline, and I had to pay a further £150 to BT for the line rental. I have cable broadband, not ADSL, and so have no need for the landline. Why should I keep it just because it might save YOU money? Duh...

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another Tariff increase is on the cards.

    By removing the expensive trans national roaming rates Reding has made all our phone bills rise. Why on earth will this be any different. Cutting the termination rate won't increase competition, the mobico's will all just increase the charge elsewhere for a different service.

  34. Chris

    "ripping people off"

    Vodafone have a return on assets of 5.7%. All that infrastructure has to be paid for. Previously, they used the old cheap calls'n'texts plus expensive overseas calls and data.

    Now they can't play that game any more, they have to increase the cost of other things to make up that return on the assets. It's just the basic reality of a market economy.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try this...

    Ok, lets say in this hypothetical world that there are broad and sweeping changes to the mobile legislation and terminating charges gets the green light across Europe.

    Providers charge the same connection fee as the terminating fee, say 0.25p per connection for the sake of argument, to connect a call no matter what network in what country in the EU, no matter what telco it is therefore allowing the smaller players to compete with the monoliths, sorry, established providers...

    Calls to any network are charged at the same rate as the connection charges are already paid for, ie if you are on O2 and call Vodafone, you pay O2 rates and not any of this cross network rubbish.

    Calls can only be charged for the first x number of minutes, ie pay for first 5 minutes and anything after 59 minutes.

    Any company making spam calls onto the mobile network that you have not explicitly allowed can be reported and they have to pay both sides of the call.

    Any other ideas???

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Has anybody actually read anything about this proposal?

    This isn't about charging the end user to receive calls, it's about charging the network operator to accept calls. Currently the originating operator pays the receiving one - if the two operators are approx the same size then the number of calls between them are about the same, so it all balances out. However for a small operator it is likely that at present there will be more calls from their network than to it, so it costs them money.

    This is essentially a bar to entry for new operators, and works against small ones - no surprise that 3 are in favour of a system where the network receiving the call pays for it, since they'd be better off, whilst the big players would see no difference, due to the more or less equal number of calls in/out. Of course they would be worse off because it'd prompt more competition in the market, which they don't want!

    all in, possibly not a bad idea at all.

  37. Benny
    Thumb Down

    Re: Re: Paying for voicemail

    "I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged. So it isn't free, it's just paid for by the people who call you. They don't get a choice."

    Errr, you chose to call them..

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US/Rest of World: Things have levelled....

    It was the fact that calls were free to receive that caused the mobile market in the rest of the world to take off well before the US. And lets not forget that the whole reason the US charged to receive calls is because a US mobile number is a local number. If I buy a phone in Cleveland then I get a Cleveland number and in the past, that meant someone in Dallas would have paid the "long distance" rate (or used a calling card to get the call cheaper).

    Things have leveled since then. Your average US "plan" has more than enough minutes and megabytes for most people (and there are not so average plans for the really heavy users). In the US, there are also network operators that simply give unlimited (price wise) but limited (where you can call) calls for a fixed monthly fee.

    US customers can get a better deal than their European counterparts these days but don't necessarily get the same level of flexibility.

    That said, if we move to a model where calls are charged for termination (with US style "plans"), it will be the paupers that suffer because, let's face it, the US market isn't awfully pauper centric.

  39. Stephen Jones

    Don't get it

    I don't get the logic here. Presumably smaller networks will have as many calls out as in.

    And isn't the proposal talking about charging networks, not users

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Re: I don't get...

    It seems obvious why Vodafone et al are opposed to this proposal: because it would result in them making less money. The total amount paid by consumers to the mobile companies (directly and indirectly) would go down, and surely that's a Good Thing.

    That's mainly because a person on a landline calling a mobile has no choice but to pay the 12p+ per minute retail price, and the mobile companies happily lap it up.

    Scrapping termination would also make services like personal numbering attractive - a single number which can be forwarded to either a mobile or a landline. Sure, they exist now, but nobody uses them - the caller has to pay more than calling a mobile, even if the call terminates on a landline.

    I wonder how Vodafone put the question to their mobile group: maybe "Would you like to pay extra for receiving incoming calls?" I don't suppose they asked "would you like calls from landlines to mobiles to be cheaper?"

    Perhaps Ofcom should make a similar survey of 9,000 landline users! Mobile owners are not the only stakeholder here.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    @ Oliver Jones

    Somehow, with an attitude like that, I can't imagine those on the "do not call" list are particularly bothered...


  42. EvilGav

    @ Various

    You refuse to call mobiles and if that otherperson doesn't want to go to the expense of £130 (for land-line rental, lets not forget the £50-£125 installation fee if they need one put in), you'll no longer keep in contact with them.

    With friends like that . . .

    Surely if you have a mobile (and it's a minority now that don't), you'll have free minutes/texts included (again, it's rare for a contract not to have them, even some PAYG do too), so use that to keep in "free" contact.

    Frankly, if you're such a cheap bastard that you'd rather stop speaking to friends/relatives/aquaintances than pay for a phone-call, then i'd be glad to stop speaking to you too.

  43. pctechxp



  44. censored

    How do they determine the 'network'?

    Will Vodaphone users receiving calls from other Vodaphone users have to pay? Presumably not, because there's no termination fee involved.

    But as a consumer, how do I know if a call is from my network as it's now impossible to know what network a number is on? This is why all inclusive minutes are now generally 'any network' rather than the same network plans of the 90s.

    If same network calls don't cost to receive, it'll make it incredibly complex and difficult for a consumer to know what their monthly bill will be. If they DO cost to receive, then the consumer is being ripped off. There is no win for this.

    And while we're at it, why do Vodafone users pay roaming charges when they roam to Vodaphone in another country? That, surely, is the next place for a price war: roam on Vodaphone anywhere in the EU and we'll treat it as your home country.

  45. Neil Hoskins

    Bring it on

    I'm one of the pay-as-you-go light users you're all supposed to feel sorry for. I use my N95 for music streaming, VoIP, listening to podcasts, internet radio, photography, video, FM radio, playing games, sat-nav, geocaching, etc, etc.... but can't remember the last time I used it to make, or receive, a mobile phone call. For the very occasional emergency (not, "I'M ON THE TRAIN" or "THEY HAVEN'T GOT STRAWBERRY JAM, IS RASPBERRY OK?") I don't really mind paying over the odds. If prices go up, and discourage all this bollocks, that can only be a good thing. And don't start me on people making similarly inane, pointless calls while driving...

  46. Frank Bough

    @ "Chris" & "Oliver Jones"

    You carry right on with your pointless landlines, the rest of the universe is much happier with their mobiles. In case you two Luddites hadn't noticed, EVERYONE (to a sensible degree of accuracy) in this country now has a mobile, while landlines are gradually disappearing. Good luck with your principles guys, seriously, no-one gives a fuck what kind of call package YOU are on. Why should we care about YOUR free minutes? And if you want to remain incommunicado, that's your problem.

  47. Dale

    One advantage

    If customer service centres have to pay to receive calls, maybe they won't spend so much time in the tea room while you're on hold being told how important you are to them.

  48. Zmodem

    thats me done

    ive only made 3 outgoing calls in 3 months and 2 of them by mistake when i sat down. only ever use my phone for the net. and cant see way the poor would be on vodafone, theyre complete shit, just a name that never been marketed for the youth

  49. Law
    Paris Hilton

    One big reason why this might go through...

    is because the people making the decisions have company mobiles, paid for by their employers, be that the mobile company, or by the people. They don't even look at their mobile bills, never mind contribute to them with their own money, so why would they even consider this would bother other people with mobile phones, they've never experiences the annoyance of a larger than normal bill.

    Personally, if this style system comes in, I'm going to ditch my mobile and just use something like Skype exclusively, since the only time I'm not near a secure wifi connection is when I'm driving, relaxing with the wife somewhere outdoorsy, or in the cinema... and none of those times I want to be bothered by calls!! So the networks have what should be an easy choice - absorb the cost of termination charges between themselves so I don't end up paying for receiving calls in the direct way I imagine it - OR - lose the £50+ per month I spend on my contract + webnwalk + additional calls... I don't mind either way.

  50. Anonymous Coward


    Hang on.

    Were at a unique point here.


    The creation of the 03*** area code for a true local call rate alternative to 0845 numbers gives us a chance to make the end user deside.

    Heavy call maker? Pick an 03*** number and enjoy lower call rates when you call out, in return for paying to recive a call.

    Heavy call reciver? Stay on the 07*** number and pay more when you call out.

    The US system has its plus and minus points, as does the current EU. Choice at the consumer level would be the best option for everyone.

    I can bet my work mobile would be moved onto an 03*** number, while my PAYG personal phone would stay 07***.

  51. Michael Armstrong
    Thumb Down

    Totally unacceptable

    Why on earth should I pay for somebody elses calls? After all, that is what is being suggested here.

    Just because somebody has called me, does not mean I would want to speak to them (sales calls, "courtesy" calls, and all other variations on teh nuisance call are obvious examples), and I do not see we I should be liable for a finacial cost for the (somewhat dubious) priviledge of receiving these.

    One of the previous commenters suggested that I could avoid these charges by not accepting the call - this is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE as it implies acceptance of the principle WHICH I DO NOT and moreover NEVER WILL.

    Another suggested that he would throw his phone away before accepting such a regime - a sentiment I whole-hearted agree with.

    To force me to pay for a call somebody else initiated is, in my view, only one step removed from theft.

    Where, I ask, will this extremely disturbing trend end? Will my local supermarket be demanding I pay for the groceries purchased by the person in front of me?

  52. Malcolm Hall

    Not very impossible

    New phones will make use of a new flag in the GSM spec that allow the phone to display a £ if an incomming fee is going to be charged BEFORE you answer.

  53. ian

    Don't call me.

    *** I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged. So it isn't free, it's just paid for by the people who call you. They don't get a choice. ***

    You appear to be assuming I want to hear from you, quite frankly I don't, so I'm not paying to receive your message.

  54. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Has anybody actually read anything about this proposal?

    "it's about charging the network operator to accept calls."

    So how will LittleMobileHome cover the cost of Carphone Warehouse callers?

    Charge you to receive them.

    What vodaphone is hoping is that everyone will move to their network. Or at least all the small players first, then they can turn on the weaker brand name operators.

  55. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "All that infrastructure has to be paid for."

    Uh, that has already been paid for.

  56. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: re: voicemal (Chris)

    "I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged."

    Uh, if they want to get back in touch with YOU, they need to call you. And they'll be paying for that.

    What if I want to talk to my gran but have a wrong number. So I call and I call and I call, trying to get in touch with my Nan.

    And then you run out of credits.

  57. Jacob Reid

    Terrible idea

    If I had to pay to receive calls, I would ditch my mobile phone and rely only on email and landline.

    If this is implemented, I foresee mobile phone companies losing a LOT of money.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To all of you who object to paying to call someone's mobile. If you don't want to pay, don't fscking dial! How hard is that? Why should I, or many others like me, pay to listen to freetards wittering at me or at my voicemail?

    This is a non-starter all the time that parasitic scum are alllowed to cold-call to peddle their shite. End sales calls and the idea might be workable. If not, I'll have to tell people that unless they advise me of their number first, I will NOT accept their call. Any business will be advised that I will invoice then at penury rates everytime they call me - that'll at least ensure peace.

  59. buttocksbrains

    Caller ID essential

    In the UK, when your mobile rings, unless the person has called you before and you entered their number in your address book, you must answer to find out who it is. Even if it is a company who has called you before, many companies have their number withheld, and so you must answer anyway to find out who it is.

    In the US and Canada, by default the telco always sends the name of the account holder or company with the number broadcast. Unless the caller has chosen to block this, the receiver will always be able to make an educated decision on whether or not to answer. If a caller has opted to block their ID, they naturally expect not to be answered all the time.

    In order for the system of sharing the call cost with the receiver to work in the UK, there absolutely must be a better system for identifying who is calling.

  60. Bill Bogart

    Done both and US system saved me loads

    Lived in US, Sweden and Spain for years. In all three I was a moderate mobile phone user and the US system was always lowest in "total cost of ownership"

    For a fixed fee of $35, I got a bucket of call minutes that was large enough to last me all month without skimping on any calls. In addition, as those calling me didn't have to shell out for mobile phone call rates, no one was peeved that I didn't have a fixed land line. Of course, I also saved by not having said land line.

    The US still has pre-paid contracts. My mom got one so she could use it for emergencies; she never makes calls out and only gave the number to close family or friends. $10 lasts her 3 months.

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Viv Redding and her "committee" of money grabbing Eurocrats

    As usual the EU bright sparks are trying to decide on our behalf how we should spend the money we earn. Why would I want to pay to receive a call? it goes against the whole ethos we have used since the mobile was invented. The yanks are an eternity behind us in the realms of mobile technology and Viv Redding thinks their way is better - who is she kidding. As other people have suggested Vivs' phone will be paid for by the EU so if she wants to stitch up hundreds of millions of users around Europe it won't affect her directly, it's just those people that have to put their hand in their own pockets to pay their bills. Take a hike Viv Redding and take your idiotic ideas with you, we have a competitive mobile industry if anything check into the amount the international carriers charge for routing the overseas calls. For example if i'm making a call from the UK to France using my mobile I have to pay my carrier who then has to pay the international carrier and then the national carrier in France and finally the mobile network in France - all that does cost more because everyone wants their slice of pie.

    Eurocrats - about the most useless bunch of individuals who are devoid of reality. I've always said there is something inherently wrong with someone who wants to be a politician, even worse wanting to be a Eurocrat. The only politicians that would be any good are those that aren't out to line their own pockets, the independently wealthy who act for the people.

  62. JP Sistenich
    Dead Vulture

    @ Oliver Jones

    "I made it very clear to friends and family that I do NOT call mobile numbers unless there is a dire emergency. Messages for me to call back on a mobile number (unless it is business-related) are ignored."

    Well, aren't you a selfish ba*d. You expect people to call you on your mobile, while refusing to call anyone else on theirs. You remind me of people that refuse to answer ID withheld, and then withhold their own.

    I can do it for my convenience, but sod you for mine too.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay to receive

    It sounds like a bad idea for phone calls but I think it would be an excellent idea if people were charged to receive emails. Say 5 pence each. And if you can't figure out why then you're obviously not very clever.

  64. ratfox


    "Heavy call maker? Pick an 03*** number and enjoy lower call rates when you call out, in return for paying to receive a call.

    Heavy call receiver? Stay on the 07*** number and pay more when you call out."

    This in turns means that the phone companies, seeing that calls are only ever made from 03*** numbers to 07*** numbers, will heavily augment prices for everything...

    On a side note, my Canadian company, who does charge me for incoming calls, also charges 5$ a month for caller ID... Bastards.

  65. pctechxp

    @AC- Has anybody actually read anything about this proposal?

    If there is any change in the pricing model, the customers will have to pick up the tab as the mobile operators won't risk a dent in their margins.

    If this comes in my mobile will go straight away, I have a landline only to support ADSL as I dont want Virgin because of the crap service but BT are robbing bastards but what choice do we have but am giving very serious thought as to whether to retain my home connection or whether to just use the net at work and then I'd become or a mobitard.

    If this comes in then I'd just have to go off the grid and be disconnected.

    Come to think of it, as I have to answer the phone all day at work that doesn't sound like a bad idea.

  66. Dan


    So... Who pays for the cellular tower, network, and other mobile phone hardware, maintenance, etc., and in what proportion? Pass that cost on to mobile users, in the form of charging them based on their bandwidth usage, adjusted for demand where possible.

    That, by the way, IS the US model- Customers either pay per minute that they are on the phone, or pay a premium not to pay per minute. Yes, there are options available, starting at about 50£ ($100) per month. Add to that your data plan (anywhere from cost per kilobit to an additional 10£ (20$) per month), and your messaging add-on (from .05£ ($0.10) per message to another 10£ (20$) per month), as well as fees, taxes, fees, assesments, fees, charges, and fees, and you end up paying dearly in order to not pay for anything.

    As to the 'termination fee', which I assume is a per-call payment, by and to whom is it paid, and for what reason? Surely not from the telco who owns any of the infrastructure being used to someone who does not?!? I would assume that all the costs of expanding and maintaining the switched telephone network would be born by the owning telecomm companies, and recouped from their customers in whatever manner mutually agreed. Forgive a poor American for not knowing what kind of idiocy goes on on the other side of the pond. I've got enough idiocy on mine.

    (And apolo(u)gies for all the parentheticals (especially the nested ones(even the ones needed for translation))).

  67. Greg

    Impressive how NONE of the 30+ first comments understood anything

    OK, first there are those who are just off-topic, talking about whether it's painful or not to pay for termination charges.

    And second there are those almost in-topic, who actually are worse, who complain that competition authority is stupid, and that they don't understand anything and are going to f**k everyone.

    Come on people, do you actually read?

    Here is what the article says:

    - Competition says a given practice is anti-competitive

    - Vodafone answers "don't mess with that, or we'll fuck the consumers hard, and our study shows they don't like being fucked".

    Excuse me all, but I don't see where competition authority has anything wrong here. You just have Vodafone who sees they would not be able to fuck everyone as they do now, so they just try to bully us by saying "if you remove my current abuse, I'lll do a worse one".

    After that, you can believe them or not, but actually noone above paid attention to the fact that all this is actually very explicitly a scare tactic from Vodafone and other big telcos.

    Oh, and there is even a very fun sentence, the second of the article: "Pay as you go users who make fewer outgoing calls would face big retail price hikes if operators lost revenues, the firm said.".

    Which means "try and make me charge less to some people, and I'll punish you by fucking the poors. You wouldn't want me to have to do that would you?"

  68. Quirkafleeg
    Thumb Down

    Re: Pay to receive

    “… I think it would be an excellent idea if people were charged to receive emails. Say 5 pence each.”

    Your proposed charge would cost me 50p or so already today, and that's just for the spam which escaped my ISP's filters. I'm on several mailing lists, and some of them are moderately active; your charge would cost me several £ per day.

    So, unless you're willing to pay for all email which I receive, you can stick your excellent idea where the sun doesn't shine.

  69. David Webb


    This "idea" will kill competition totally and utterly. If the majority of your friends and family are on network X and you are on network Y, what will you do? Stick with network Y and be charged a fortune for your friends/family, or switch to network X so you can call/be called for free?

    And of course, the more people that switch to network X, the more people on Y will be enticed to join, after all, the majority of their friends/family are on that network, if anything it will kill the 3 Network, Vodaphone will enlarge and the minor companies will go bust due to lack of customers.

  70. rurik bradbury
    Thumb Up

    US is now better than UK for mobile

    I'm a Brit living in New York, and can confirm that the US system is now much better than the British one. Even though you have to "pay for incoming calls", you get so many minutes (often 1000s of them) for such a cheap price that you never need worry about the number of minutes you have left. And the US now has unlimited 3G data packages for a good price too.

    You can get a cheap plan (like Sprint's 'SERO' plan) for $35, with 500 minutes and unlimited 3G data -- far less than a UK minutes + data plan. There are now 'unlimited minutes' plans for $99 -- and the Sprint one also includes unlimited data, SMS and ringtones etc.

    Can you get a truly unlimited plan in England for 55 pounds?

  71. asdf
    Thumb Down

    Re: Screw over pay as you go customers

    After going on holiday to the US I'm certainly not keen on the pay to receive model. One of the reasons the European market has been so successful with mobile phones is the explosion of pay as you go users, without them we would never have seen so much widespread adoption so fast. Pay to receive harms pay as you go users.

    Seems to me the only people slagging off on the US teleco rates are people that think they are "experts" because they spent a weekend once and got screwed over buying service at the airport. As you can tell by most of the informed comments anyone who has ever lived in both Europe and US can tell you pay far less to telecos in the US than in Europe. The reason is because one of the only smart things our government ever did was truly bust up our dominant teleco and actually let market forces do their thing. One thing I hated when I lived in Europe was being financially extorted by the local national telecarrier. Is there a country in Western Europe where the national telecom isn't the most political powerful company in the country? Wake up Europe, your governments are simply taxing you for communication through supposedly private companies <cough huge 3g licenses>.

  72. Andrew Taylor

    How about the day this comes in

    everyone calls Reding on both her personal and work mobies, see how she likes it.

  73. Anonymous Coward

    The regulator can be wrong

    Greg's analysis is interesting. But it relies in part on the regulator being right about the market.

    They don't have a fantastic record on that.

    In about 2002 the regulator decided that after two decades Mobile Service Providers were no longer necessary. The 4.5 Network Providers were enough competition for the UK market in its opinion. They ruled that the NPs no longer needed to separate the business of selling service contracts through SPs.

    Around 100 UK SPs went out of business/were absorbed by the NPs as a result of that ruling including - vested interest declared - major customers of a billing software provider I worked for at the time.

    I have not noticed overall charges to consumers go down since then. The lock-ins to contracts simply mean that once a customer subscribes to an NP's service, there is a bigger inertia and less choice than there was with the SPs.

    Now instead of £15/month contracts in 2003 we have £35/month commonly on offer. That's some inflation rate!

  74. Terry Bernstein

    It's an ancient story really...

    A long time ago in a far away place, (Er, No, actually in Britain) there was something called the Penny Post. Introduced so that people sending letters ( Or Pmail as it was known) had to pay for a stamp. Before that it cost money to receive mail.

    It's a good time honoured principle- the sender of the mail pays to send it. It's their message, their decision to send it.

  75. This post has been deleted by its author

  76. Tim

    No marketing calls to US cell phones

    All the comments about cold calls miss one important point: marketing calls are not permitted to mobile numbers in the U.S. In fact, that is one of the great things about dropping land line service and going mobile (aka cell) only. You simply don't ever get marketing calls.

    That, along with the "do not call" list of numbers to which is forbidden to make marketing calls means that telemarketing in the U.S. should have one foot in the grave.

  77. John Doe


    I see they apparently design their rate plans in favour of the poor; why didn't they advertise their benevolent intentions earlier to save them the PR disaster?

    Seeing as to how generous they pretend to be, they might consider reducing their rates, which surely, would benefit the poor.

  78. Tom

    the telco always sends the name of the account holder or company with the number broadcast.

    Yes but in Canada if you want to see call display on your mobile it costs extra. If you want to see the name too that's another extra charge. What to know what number called when your phone is off? Another extra charge.

    If you really want to get ripped off try the Canadian "pay extra for everything" system.

    Try data at $15/MB!

  79. frankgobbo

    Re "Choice"

    Yes, you can choose whether to receive a call, but if it's from an unknown number who knows what important business you could be missing --- or cold calling telemarketers.

    This is just a ridiculous idea. If I want to talk to a friend, I pay to talk to them. If I want to go over to their house, I don't rock up and say "You owe me a fiver for the petrol".

    What absolute, complete and utter crap. The US system is one that should be mocked, not copied.

  80. James
    Thumb Up

    About time too.

    The current charge for calling mobiles from landlines is absolutely insane. How on earth can anyone pretend it actually "costs" Vodafone and co €0.08 per minute for incoming calls, when they sell outgoing calls for a tiny fraction of that price - and at least one operator finds enough change from that one euro-cent to pay customers a penny per minute to receive incoming calls!? (Also, if I call one mobile from another, it's often *free* - which, according to Vodafone-maths, means they're haemorrhaging money on that call. Somehow, I doubt that.)

    I'd make it like Internet peering at LINX and co: you pay for your network, I'll pay for mine - and neither side pays the other for traffic in either direction, it's just exchanged on a reciprocal basis. Yes, this kills off one nice cash cow for the mobile telcos, while freeing the fixed operators, but it's hardly likely to kill those mobile telcos, just adjust their pricing a bit. An extra quid a month for contracts, an extra penny a minute for PAYG - no big deal, but we'll no longer be shafted for calling mobiles from landlines. Sounds good to me.

  81. Andus McCoatover
    Thumb Down

    In the 'birthplace' of the Mobile...

    ..Finland, landlines are for old folks, and some businesses. In Nokia, for example the only landlines are for conference phones. Everyone else has a mobile. No phone boxes at all - even at the airport - in the city I live in (Oulu).

    When I came here 12 years ago, the phonebook was a weighty tome. Now, it's about 1/5 the size (landlines mainly) - we can use Fonecta or call 202028 to look up someone's mobile number. Calls dead cheap, too. Introduction of "receiver pays" will kill off the pay-as-you-go system. (Who'd of thought of topping up your mobile time from an ATM?!)

    Let's not move to the antiquated US style system.

  82. Beachhutman

    EU, accept decline

    So when the screen says, "EU termination charge to accept this incoming call is 30p a minute, accept/decline?" we are all going to praise the EU aren't we? Yep. Are the t**ts in Brussels suicidal as well as stark staring bonkers? How to get unelected.

    Oh, I forgot. we aren't allowed to unelect them, are we?

  83. Wayland Sothcott
    Black Helicopters

    New World Order scheme

    If you notice everything is being harmonized. Sometimes it's the Euro way of doing things, sometimes the USA. Tracing calls is done through the billig system because if their is money in it then it will be recorded so that the spooks have some data. By charging for recieved calls as well then there are two records of the call that will be kept.

    It does not therefore have to make sense in a purely business way, they are harnesing the business aspect to achieve a snooping aspect.

  84. Greg

    Re: "The regulator can be wrong"

    "Greg's analysis is interesting. But it relies in part on the regulator being right about the market."

    Yes, indeed, and I wouldn't say the regulator is right.

    In fact, I have no opinion on whether the proposed restriction is a good thing.

    I just have an opinion on the fact that noone here had read the article and not what they wanted to read.

    Of course, once one has read the article, one can make the point that Vodafone will or will not apply his threat, and that the regulator is wrong or right, and frankly, I don't know.

    It's just that here, everyone is telling pure bullshit because they're too stupid to fucking read even the title correctly ("Vodafone says...", shouldn't everyone who see that with wondering whether Vodafone is telling the truth or what fits its interest?), or the second sentence.

    I'd have been interested in reading posts saying "Vodafone is actually right,such a charging will appear if competition authority passes the rule, because...". But all there was was "That charging is good, let's bring it on", or "It's bad, stupid competition authority".

    Come on people, how can you conclude whether the competition authority is right or wrong just based on what VODAFONE says would happen if it did?

  85. Greg

    Greg says not removing taxes on him would make the world explode

    Since an article that speaks about some random company claiming that A will result in B leads to everyone considering that this claim is right and starting from there to say if A should be done, I have a suggestion.

    I propose that theregister holds an article named "Greg says not removing taxes on him would make the world explode".

    Then everyone, exactly like here, will debate on whether it's a good idea to make the world explode, without anyone ever contesting the possibility that Greg might just be lying on the link between the two and focusing on studying whether there really is a link.

    Then presumably, you'll all reach the conclusion that world should not be allowed to explode, and the logical consequence will be that I shouldn't pay taxes next year.

    (once again, I'm not saying Vodafone is necessarily wrong, just that they clearly have every reason to say what they say whether it's true or not, and as such validity of their claim should have been the main topic, not the crap we had here)

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    US phone number

    @AC - "Don't US mobile phones have "ordinary" telephone numbers so it is not possible to tell from the number whether it is a landline or mobile number?"

    Until maybe 30 years ago, most US phone numbers had prefixes (first three digits after the area codes) which included only the number 2 through 9 in the first two positions (222-3456), and phone number "word prefixes" only included words which could be made using the letters paired with the numbers 2 through 9. The numbers 1 and 0 were reserved for area codes designating areas of the country (415 for the SF Bay Area, 707 for the North Bay and North Coast areas of California). A few years ago, with the growth of cell phones and fax machines, the phone companies began splitting area codes, and eventually ran out of numbers which met that requirement and began using other combinations for area codes. Similarly, with mobiles, the prefixes for most mobiles use prefixes which could not be used to spell words and overlapped the area codes (319-xxxx, 706-xxxx), so you tell when the call was coming from a cell. Now the number have proliferated so greatly in some areas that some of those "reserved" prefixes have been issued to landlines. Just can't tell anymore.

    Paris, cause I'd like to have her cell number

  87. Fihart

    A History Lesson.

    When England invented the postal system it was hampered initially by trying to charging recipients -- many just refused to accept letters.

    Mail only took off when the sender had to bear the full cost.

  88. Paul

    Equal in/out = no payment

    Surely if you have two networks of difference sizes if the users usages are average in all cases then each network will receive as many calls from the other as are sent to it? In that case why should any payment between the networks be required? In cases where there is a large difference they may have to be some rule about extra payment?

  89. Julian Garrett

    And when it doesn't sell, for the same reasons as last time

    They will drop their prices. Shit, I thought Apple put SOME value on what customers thought, obviously not.

    If this is the way operators are going to treat their customers, this iPhone will flop just like the last one did (outside of America). Purses are being tightened and people know what extortion is when they see it.

    I was going to buy one but I am off to get an N95 instead... better phone too.

  90. Anonymous Scotsman

    A step towards dismantling POTS?

    If this could be used to push integrated call filtering at the network level,and stimulating the market into standardising the whole affair i'm all for it. But thats a bit past optimistic and into delusional ( and partially irrelevant, thanks to the TPS service).

    Another nicety from this would be the side effects for mobile phoning price jumps; preventing anyone without a valid reason, or no other option from maintaining one. Artificially Gentrifying Mobiles, if you will.

    But those are two very small and artificial linings to a pretty big cloud.

  91. Johnny FireBlade

    Vodafone surveyed 9000 people?

    Well I wasn't one of them. My contract expires in November. *waves goodbye to Vodafone*

    Copying America seems like a backwards idea. The UK's leading the way with technology: we've got a much higher broadband uptake and we'll mostly be digital TV within the next 5 years, so why take any technological cues from a country which is lagging behind? Morons. Hardly a revelation, that.

  92. Reg Sim

    Hmm. "Has anybody actually read anything about this proposal? "

    ok, after reading all yer rants.

    I suspect the article is at fault here. The anonymous coward wot posted the above message seems to of read and better explained the preposals.

    It is the way operators 'charge' that is under the microscope not nessasaraly the end user.

    Another fine post questioned what vodaphone asked in its survay. (was it unbiased and educational?)

    Finaly however the most intresting comment from a poster was 'why would this help small companys compete', as commonly out going calls are equal to incoming calls, so costs tend to netigate each other.

    I think helping the little guys is not really the remit of this proposal. With that said I can not see the benefit of this scheame.

    So I conclude that there is not enough information in the article to have a 'clear' view. I also think its a bit scare mongering and 'Sun & Daily mail' euro bashing. I mean not to even question the Vodaphone survey, or to list the benefits/downsides of this policy passed face value.

    I belive that any profit lossed by massive premiums on inter euro calls will be made good by increased volume of inter euro calls. However no-one carrier can enforce this idea, thus it would have to be legislated to make it happen.

    Consider this article flamed.

  93. Anonymous Coward

    accept/reject - not a choice

    @chris, er no you don't have a choice to accept the call.

    Firstly not all my contacts call from their own phones 100% of the time - sometimes they actually leave their homes and call from other places.

    Then there are new callers with good reason to ring - imagine your mum was in a car crash, I guess you'd want the hospital to call you...

    Then a great many companies withhold numbers on their phones for reasons of privacy. For example my colleagues at work show up as <private number> on my phone but obviously I need to answer them.

    So no, you don't always have a simple choice. Sure, if the caller ID is "spammersrus" or "floo estate agents" or "junk marketing plc"....

  94. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

    Re: TPS

    >But worse is that most now are initiated from outside the UK and >usually outside the EU, where the law doesn't apply (but the calls are >clearly targeted at UK customers).

    I had a couple of calls like that from outside the UK, they usually represent UK/EU companies.

    When they say we arent accountable to the TPS I always state that whoever contracted you is, could I have their details to complain please. If they are representing someone operating in the UK, its irrelevant who makes the call and from where. From my experience saying just that, results in them hanging up and never calling again.

  95. Tharglet

    So every Aaron, Adam, Abi etc...

    ... could end up paying a significant amount for pocket calls...

    Not every call you don't want comes from numbers you don't know ;).

  96. Anonymous Coward


    "Can you get a truly unlimited plan in England for 55 pounds?"

    No - but why on earth would anyone except a telemarketer want one? I can get 1500 minutes for £18/m. If you allow for 8 hours sleep, 8 hours at work, a couple of hours eating, going to the loo, reading paper etc etc I only have 6 hours a day left. The idea of spending most of it on the phone is pretty unpleasant.....

    Ob Topical: reciever pays won't work until the penalty for coldcall marketing or harassment is death, Caller ID is compulsory and must be your real name, and you have a 30-second grace period to say "fur cough" to the caller if needs be. Forget the TPC - it doesnt stop the unscrupulous.

  97. David Beck

    @Johnny FireBlade

    While I agree with Johnny's comparison of the US and UK markets for mobile and broadband, best take another look at digitial TV. The analogue cut-off in the US is Feb 2009. Makes you look a bit stupid eh Johnny?

  98. Greg

    @Reg Sim

    Yes, completely agree with you.

    And indeed, the AC who replied to my first point had completely grasped the issue (and made very valid points). I was talking about all the others (I may have missed one or two towards the end though).

    I mostly agree with you that the competition authority measure would be wrong and that Vodafone might be able to follow up on its threat.

    If, that is, competition authority doesn't prevent that in the same package (termination charge is outright abusive, it could very well "be scraped" simply by saying you can't make it pay to anyone. Not to the caller, not to the receiver.

    The cost being actually almost zero, there is no really compelling reason why a non-existent cost should be passed on to the consumer.

    Still, I haveno idea what the co,petition authority would do on that, and broadly, I agree with your and AC's analysis.

  99. Al Jones

    re: So every Aaron, Adam, Abi etc...

    Yup, because my name starts with A, I'm the first entry in a number of people's Address Books. I get more than my fair share of calls from phones that have been sat on, or phones that are rattling around in handbags or coat-pockets. It's a minor inconvenience now, it'd be a right pain if I had to pay for them.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like