Feeds

Ofcom: No premium numbers for previous offenders

Drafts naughty list

Boost IT visibility and business value

Anyone who has abused premium-rate telephone numbers in the past will be barred from using the numbers again, telecoms regulator Ofcom has said.

Numbers beginning 070, 087 and 09 will not be available to anyone who has used phone numbers to take part in scams, frauds or other dishonesty, Ofcom said. The rules will not apply to the 0870 prefix.

"The new test that we are introducing into our process for allocating numbers to communications providers will focus on the behaviour that uses numbers to cause serious or repeated harm to consumers," said Ofcom in a statement. "We will identify and publish lists of individuals and companies that have a history of using numbers to cause serious or repeated harm. We will not allocate telephone numbers in certain ranges to applicants who are on those lists."

Numbers beginning with 09 are premium-rate numbers and can cost whatever the operator decides to charge, while 087 numbers can cost up to 10p per minute, or more from a mobile, and the company being called can share in the revenue generated.

Numbers beginning with 070 have proved controversial because many people assume that they are mobile numbers but are in fact personal 'find me anywhere' numbers that can cost 50p per minute from a landline or more from a mobile phone.

Ofcom has previously ordered that callers to 070 where the call cost is more than 20p per minute must hear a cost warning before being connected.

Ofcom will create two lists of people and companies who have been the subject of decisions by premium-rate regulator Phonepay Plus, the police or the Office of Fair Trading.

"Inclusion on the list, and for how long, would depend on factors including the seriousness of the behaviour and the individual or company’s past history of using numbers to cause detriment to consumers," said Ofcom.

Ofcom will only refuse to allocate numbers in the case of new requests. It said that communications providers who themselves sub-allocate numbers should consult the lists and refuse to allocate their numbers to anyone on it. It said that it was trusting providers to do this, but that it would regulate directly if that hands-off approach failed.

"We have decided, at least initially, to permit providers to take a self-regulatory approach to introducing a similar consumer protection test into their own number assignment processes. We strongly encourage all providers to do so," it said. "Communications providers may adopt our test as a model of how consumer protection could be incorporated into number assignment decisions. We are publishing lists of individuals and companies to whom we will not be allocating numbers to help them do so."

"We will be monitoring progress to see if, as we expect, this approach proves to be sufficient. If it does not, we will consider whether additional regulation is required," said Ofcom.

Ofcom will first publish a list of people and companies who are under assessment because of past enforcement actions against them. A second list of people and companies who will be refused will be published once that assessment process has been carried out. The first 'under assessment' list will be published on 1st January 2009.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.