Feeds

Ofcom sides with mobile operators on 0845

BT asked to pay back fees

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Ofcom will ask BT to pay back termination fees for calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers, as basing them on what mobile operators charged punters isn't fair.

Since November last year BT has been charging mobile operators a termination rate for 0845 and 0870 calls which was dependent on what that operator was charging its customers - the more the customer paid, the more BT gets. But in April the operators cried foul, and now Ofcom has published a consultation saying it agrees and BT will have to return the money.

The termination rate is the proportion of what the customer pays which is passed on to the receiving network. In the case of numbers starting 0870 and 0845 that's almost always BT, which is able to charge what it likes as long as the amount allows originating networks to recover costs, is reasonably simple to implement, and works to the benefit of end customers.

Under BT's new rates a mobile operator is required to pay a basic fee, such as 2.6654 pence per minute for an 0845 call during the day, but if the operator is billing its customers more than 32.50 pence per minute then BT would demand 13 pence of that. BT's share is on a sliding scale - in the above example an operator charging the end customer less than 12.49 pence a minute would only pay the basic 2.6654 to BT, while one charging more than 12.49 (but less than 17.49) would pay an additional tuppence a minute, and so forth.

If that's not confusing enough, mobile operators are also expected to pay BT a call set-up charge of 2.0171 pence, but that's not part of the dispute here, which relates to the legitimacy of BT's sliding scale of charges.

On that question Ofcom has ruled (mind-numbing pdf) that the sliding scale is not in the interests of end customers, though it admits that it's a fine line. Equally debatable is how complex the sliding scale is for operators to manage - they claim it's too complicated but, unsurprisingly, BT sees it differently.

On balance Ofcom reckons BT was in the wrong, and therefore must repay the money the network operators have handed over since November. That decision is open for comment until Thursday, but given the wealth of evidence already presented it's hard to imagine anything changing Ofcom's stance now. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.