Feeds

Vodafone slurps MEELLLIONS for redirecting police hotline calls

Ringing the Old Bill will still cost 15p/pop

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.