T-Mobile not alone in spinning price hikes
But O2 takes the disinformation trophy
T-Mobile isn't alone in its innovative reading of Ofcom recommendations, but at least the company only implied that the regulator was responsible for the increase in its prices: O2 is claiming it outright.
0870 numbers are non-geographic: they are national calls regardless of where the call originates or terminates. Mobile operators have until now treated such numbers as exceptional and charged a special rate for them, but UK-regulator Ofcom has stated that such calls are to be treated as normal national calls and that they "should" be included within bundled minutes that come with the tariff.
The key word here is "should", which T-Mobile interpreted as "don't have to be", enabling the company to double its prices. The other UK operators are taking much the same approach, while intimating that the change has been forced on them by Ofcom, but O2 went one stage further in an e-mail to a customer last week which clearly laid the blame at Ofcom's door:
Our old tariffs had calls to these  numbers included in the free allowance but as per the special number policy of Ofcom, we've excluded these calls from the free allowances of our tariffs with effect from 28 September 2008.
This is, of course, bollocks. When we put this to O2 we were told that it had "...advised customer services that this is a business decision", but apparently customer services isn't taking this advice as punters are still being told the same thing this morning.
We asked O2 about that, and Ofcom about how it feels to be completely ignored by the industry you're supposed to be regulating, but so far neither party has got back to us. ®
O2 actually stopped the inclusive 0870/0845 allowances a couple of years ago - I had a contract with them between 2005 and 2006, and I used 0870 dialout numbers to call my friend in Ireland. I left O2 because their service was shocking for other reasons - and Retentions made no attempt whatsoever to keep my custom even though I spent £30 a month with them and bought their flagship smartphone at the time.
O2 was the last - there are no providers in the UK who offer inclusive 08 minutes, and there haven't been since 2006/2007ish. However, I've started to use Eqo on my WM5 smartphone with T-Mobile - it functions in a similar manner to how the Skypephone establishes skypeout calls - it uses the 3G/GPRS connection to logon to the server and about 1kb of data to establish each call, it dials a London gateway and uses your inclusive tariff minutes - and you can call 0870 and 0845 numbers with it, as well as international numbers, mobile numbers, just about anything. Not _all_ numbers work though, some just don't work for reasons unknown and 09/premium numbers are specifically blocked. (I was having a lengthy discussion with them as to the merits of offering 0844 access via Eqo, and I hope I may have swayed them in favour of offering it).
...Put it like this, I currently have £14 of credit on my account (which just stays there until you use it), and it's already saved me probably £20 in call charges from T-Mobile in this month alone. The future, at least until true on-device VoIP clients with acceptable voice quality reach maturity, is pseudo VoIP :)
Ah stop whinging
just look up the numbers on saynoto0870 but if you are moaning about being charged for calling an access number for one of these discount telcos I say this to you, if you were in charge at a mobile operator, you would do the same.
Voda Did it AGES ago
Vodafone imposed this policy many moons ago. They are worse than ANY provider!
Thank your lucky stars you are not with them!
I agree it is absolute ROBBERY!