Feeds

Vodafone slurps MEELLLIONS for redirecting police hotline calls

Ringing the Old Bill will still cost 15p/pop

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Vodafone is making more than £2m a year from public reporting of non-emergency crime, and has just landed another three-year contract - charging 15p per non-emergency call to police.

Calls made to the non-emergency "101" number are routed by Cable & Wireless to the nearest police authority and dealt with at public expense. All Vodafone-owned C&W does is forward the call and collect the cash.

The Mail on Sunday has crunched the numbers - 15 pence per call; nearly 27 million calls since September 2010; and 60 per cent average markup on government services in C&W accounts - and worked itself into an indignant fury based on the result.

This all adds up to revenues of £4m and profits of more than £2m, according to the Mail, just for forwarding a few phone calls.

However, as with anything involving the state, it's not really that simple.

The great thing about 101 is that while it costs 15 pence, that is a flat one-off charge; whether you're calling from mobile or fixed lines, and without regard for the call length. Calls are routed to the local police station, even if one is on a mobile phone, and callers on a border between two police forces can choose which one to speak to.

Police forces also contribute a carriage cost of around a third of a tenth of a penny per minute (~0.03p), so the 15 pence goes to C&W to cover the cost of routing the calls, mobile network charges and negotiating with all the parties concerned. The police say neither they nor the government receive any of the revenue from the 15p call charge.

That negotiation worked so well that Ofcom was planning the same model for the NHS Direct-replacing "111" service, though the Home Office decided to make it free when it was finally rolled out last month. 111 is routed to local outsourcing outfits - some of whom have let the side down lately.

When 101 first launched, back in 2006, it went badly. Hampshire's chief constable complained that the service had turned his force into a provider of train timetables and tourist information. Expansion of the 111 service was shelved when it failed to cut the volume of 999 calls, as had been hoped.

Since then the service has been carefully promoted and seems to be working better, with Vodafone telling the Mail that callers reporting stolen cars and broken windows are overwhelmingly happy with the service they've received. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
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?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
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.