back to article Ofcom considers termination charges

Ofcom has published an assessment of the UK's mobile industry, which is all looking rosy we are told - but it wants to hear from the public on a range of issues including whether we should pay to receive calls. The report calls for "fresh strategic thinking" on call termination charges - the current rules expire in 2011, so …

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Anonymous Coward

in an alternative universe

The postman comes to my door and says, "for £1.00 I will deliver this letter"... I pay the £1 and he hands me an advert for the pizza factory down the road. Don't think so.

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Anonymous Coward

Pay to receive unsolicited sales calls?

I should coco.

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Boffin

Pay to receive?

The Mobile netwok operators no doubt have been making a fortune out of these termination charges and I would have thought the fixed operator and customer have been subsidising them for sometime.

There is no transparency on their costs to terminate a call and their view that 3G more expensive to terminate is hard to believe. As for paying to recieve a call that will be very interesting as not doubt with the number of crap cold calling that happens no one will dare answer their phone!

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Pay As You Boo Hoo

This notion that contract customers get a better deal and that this is a bad thing is a crock. Contract customers support the network through their monthly bill plus whatever other charges can be foisted upon them, and they're locked in for 18 months. Whereas PAYG customers are nothing more than capricious fly-by-nights who swap in a new SIM at the drop of a hat. Stuff them. They get to use the network that contract customers have provided the business model for.

And I note that Ofcom didn't bother to mention the creep on default contract duration.

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Pay for Spam

Wonderful, they now want me to pay for the privalage of being pestered by useless pond scum marketters

Termination fees only just about made sense in the states because of the lack of coverage, unregulated operators and their ancient network.

But as we're seeing, the network over there is maturing slowly (still far behind europe, and a distant speck compared to the asian markets) and termination fees are being dropped.

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Getting cold called...

...would be even more annoying.

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Receiver pays means only one thing... SPAM

Shifting some of the burden of the cost of a call to the receiver, as in the broken american model, will lead inevitably to one thing, junk phone calls.

The difference in cost between calling a landline and calling a mobile is still a reasonably effective barrier to preventing cold calling and other irritating sales spam. Not only would this be highly irritating, it would be a double slap in the face that you end up having to foot the bill for them harrassing you.

I can also see terrible issues with PAYG users, "oh im running out of credit, can you call me back, no wait i cant afford that either" really helpful not, especially say if its a phone youve given to your kids so you can get hold of them easily.

I think the real reason they would love to do this is they can up the total cost of the calls without you noticing, and rake in the cash. as you never see the total cost of the call yourself its hard for you to see if its now costing more in total than it used to.

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Pay for incoming calls

And enjoy paying to receive junk calls - I think not.

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Black Helicopters

Good lord, they're adventurous!

Well, I thought for the laugh, I'd visit the blog that they're offering...

Strike me down with a feather, though, they seem to have thrown all caution to the wind and decided to link to El Reg's Comms section in their related links.

I wonder how long that'll stay around... Or is there something good ol' El Reg isn't telling us, and they've actually struck an accord with the Devil? Well, anything for a rubbishy conspiracy theory... (Maybe I should go work for the Faily Mail!)

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Flame

termination fees?

Well this is an easy answer, "NO". Why? Well let me see... right now, when I receive unsolicited phonecalls I am UBER-hackt off at the intrusion, MEGA-fekkin furious at the sales pitch and ULTRA-unlikely to respond in a favourable way. If it is also going to cost me to enable the unwelcome call to connect to me then I will either refuse to answer ANYTHING that isn't already recognised as a friend/family member (forcing my mother to disable caller-withheld), or remove the battery. End of.

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You should only pay for anything if you explicitly agree to.

Termination fees are just so wrong. Why should I pay for wrong numbers, sales calls etc.

The fact OfCom are even considering allowing this shows what a joke they are.

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Paris Hilton

Paying to receive calls?

Fantastic! That means I can very quickly drive anyone I like into debt, simply by phoning them repeatedly from different numbers!

And of course they're not really thinking about prepay customers who only have 2p credit - do they propose putting a prepay into debt? How would that work? Prepay customers don't sign a contract, so it'd be unenforcible, surely?

Paris, coz I'd rather get f***ed by her than by OFCOM.

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Stop

Pish

"The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported that a mobile phone is now essential "to adequately participate in society""

Sorry? It is essential to have a mobile to adequately participate in society? Where the hell do people like this come from? I've not heard such nonsense in a long while. I think you'll find that you can participate quite well without a mobile, perhaps even better than adequately.

I think there will be serious complaints if termination charges come in to effect. I don't want to have to pay every time someone phones to try and sell me something.

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Stop

Paying for junk calls?

This is OK --- but only if Ofcom requires my phone company to provide an easy, FOC way for me to get an immediate refund for any unwanted call (to be charged back to the caller, presumably).

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@AC

It'd have to be an alternative universe as the postman actually made it to your door.

It's a fair point though, this really is a mad idea.

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Bad Idea

used by some providers in the US to screw their subscribers monthly minutes. Pay as you go phones in the US are not only brutally expensive but they have termination charges too. There is no benefit here to subscribers only to the provider.

Efros

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Surely people aren't that stupid

"40 per cent of punters have changed networks at some point".

"only one in five could name more than one network operator when challenged".

So this implies the majority of people who've changed networks can't even remember the names of both their old and new networks? Just goes to show there's a special kind of person that takes part in surveys.

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so payig to recieve calls will help out the poorer?

Yeah right so if they have no credit no one can contact them? THAT'S EVEN WORSE FOR THEM OFCOM YOU RETARDS.

So many friends have payg phones and don't have credit on them much, but at least if I call them I can talk to them..

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and their solution is to pay for calls????

The poor are marginalised because they tend to use pre-pay phones; Carphone Warehouse and their cohorts have increasingly complex tariffs; the countryside is losing out; and so on and so forth -- and the solution is to get people to pay for calls? Bizarro World. Does anyone at Ofcom still have access to reality-based reality?

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A quid pro quo

If we have to put up with paying to receive calls, it would have to go alongside the introduction of the death penalty for cold callers

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More US crap which doesn't work

This of course is normal in the US, which <sarcasm alert> is noted for having such a superb mobile phone market.

Termination charges to end user = phone in bin for the majority of users.

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Anonymous Coward

The peasants should pay more

"One problem is that while contact customers have been getting bigger bundles, those on pre-paid connections are largely getting the same thing for the same price, only with the numbers changed round a bit. Given that pre-paid customers tend to be at the lower end of the economic scale that's rather unfair"

So whats unfair about everyone being charged roughly the same?

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Stop

@"in an alternative universe "

ditto on that.

If they go this route now it really IS going to look like sheer greed on the part of the providers.

This is a big NO!

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Anonymous Coward

How about...

We completely eliminate both land line and mobile charges completely. After all, all it is is passing signals through the ether or along lines.

Ok, so that's unrealistic. Line repair costs, employee costs, maintenance costs, etc. I'm fairly sure that mobile companies could still turn a profit if they dropped the call rate to something like 1p per minute.

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Lies, damned lies and statistics

"In general, the assessment finds competition is driving prices down and services up - 40 per cent of punters have changed networks at some point, despite the fact that only one in five could name more than one network operator when challenged."

Eh? So 20% of people have changed networks but can only name one network? WTF?

Looks like more stats we can all believe in then...

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@in an alternative universe

'The postman comes to my door and says, "for £1.00 I will deliver this letter" '

Actually, that's the way it used to be before the old Penny Post was started. You had to pay to receive your letters - no pay, no letters. Mind you, there was no junk mail then. Just shows that not everything modern is better.

Next step, do away with the NHS, no state pension, children leave school at 10 and go to work climbing up chimneys to clean them.

I for one would get rid of the old mobley if I had to have to pay to receive calls.

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Anonymous Coward

"Apparently one in eight UK households have dropped their fixed-line telephony completely"

I would like to do this, but I still require the line for broadband access. Plus there are still too many companies out that insist on you having a land line number to place an order.

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Paying to receive calls?

Not on your f*cking nelly!

Oh wait - I don't live in the UK.

You may proceed.

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M
Unhappy

Fancy paying to receive mobile calls?

Erm, no, not really.

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Question

I'm not "too" concerned about termination charges. They have them elsewhere and it seems a reasonable thing to do. After all, I have caller ID so, 99% of the time I only answer calls from numbers I recognise anyway. I have a minor problem in that, if it's work then the number does get bloacked.

But all calls I reject go to voicemail. So, my question is, will I have been deemed to have "recevied" the call (and therefore be charged for it) if I ignore it and it goes to voicemail?

If not, then I have no problem with termination charges.

If I DO have to pay, then termination charges are the devils spawn. All it takes is for a bunch of prank-calling kids to ring your phone repeatedly over-night (when I have the ringer set to silent so wouldn't notice) and it would be ME ringing up a bill.

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Retard survey

Who were they surveying if only 1 in 5 could name more than one operator.

Lets assume that everyone can name their current operator, so 4 out of 5 people couldn't think of one of the other big 3 (assuming their with the big 4th).

Stupidity like that casts the entire set of results into doubts, how can people who can't even name operators have valid opinions on the future for the industry?

Termination charges IMO are a terrible terrible idea.

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Grr

On contract 'phones we already pay, it used to be called "line rental". For pay-as-you-go, the companies add a percentage on to recoup the cost of providing it.

All this tells me is that Ofcom has completely lost its marbles. It's the governments job to screw money out of me for things I don't need or want, but at least I get some things I do want from them, and I accept that I have little choice if I want to live in this country.

Mobile phone company tries it, I'll change to a provider who doesn't do it. If I run out of them, then the 'phone goes in the bin (might be a blessing given the morons who can't read "mobile free" on every window and door in the sleeping carriage on the train, or the 'tard in the cinema last night)

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Go

Go on

Yes bring on the termination charge. As soon as the majority realise that they are getting screwed for recieving calls the sooner their mobile phones will get flushed down the toilet. Then we'll have some peace on the bus/train/plane.

Yay for termination charges.

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Unhappy

They already do it in America

When I was over there, I had a T-Mobile prepay account, and had to pay the same whether I made or received a call or text.

It's ridiculous - if someone makes an unsolicited call to me, why the hell should I pay for it? The only answer would be to never answer your phone unless you knew who was calling, and that would be stupid - what if the person calling you is someone you know but you don't have their number yet?

Ofcom need to seriously grow some balls.

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Flame

NOOOOOOOOOO!!

They do this 'paying to receive' idiocy in America. If they do it here I will emigrate to somewhere they don't.

What next? Paying to receive junk texts? Going back to analogue networks? Brick phones with pull out aerials? *shiver*

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Pirate

Stupid f****rs!

The mobile industry is about to go through a major change, at least in the EU, as they have now pretty much reached saturation. They don't have any new people to sell phones to, their existing customers are now starting to demand VALUE FOR MONEY, and the phone companies (and OFCOM) are shitting in their pants as they start to realise that the value for money of most mobile phone contracts is piss-poor.

What on earth makes them think they can get away with "termination charges"? Are these people living on Planet ZOG? Most of us will just decline all calls where we don't recognize the number, so no marketing calls will get answered (not that I EVER buy anything from those pushy f****rs!) and people calling from a different phone to what they normally use (for example, your partner has had a crash and is calling from someone elses phone) will be equally ignored.

I suppose I am part of the backbone of Vodafones income as I'm a contract user, have been since the analogue days, and rarely use up my monthly minutes, texts or data. Voda recently raised charges and it has made me, and several friends wonder whether the convenience of a mobile phone is worth the money. Our conclusion was that it was not.

It's a "nice-to-have", not a necessity (unless you are a teenager in which case I imagine not having one is like having leprosy) and a damned expensive one at that.

Termination charges will definately make me decide to drop the bloody thing in the bin (after taking a nice big hammer to it of course).

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it didn't work for the post...

Way back when the post (yeah - that old thing) used to work on the basis where the receiver paid up when folks sent them post we ditched that idea for folks who send the mail to cough up to send - so if it didn't work for sending mail, how the heck is it going to work for phone calls?!

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Boot, other foot

I'm gonna get me an 090 number with a £1.50 a minute charge rate (or more if I can manage it) and wave that around in my contact details, in front of as many marketing parasites as I can.

Y'never know I may even be able to retire.

"could you just go over that again, I didn't quite follow...."

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Killing mobile telephony

Should this termination fee come in, then I would turn on my mobile phones only when I need to make a call, or am explicitly expecting a call. Which would mean it's not usually worth bothering to carry them around. So then the operators are going to fast-track themselves out of business!

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@The Dark Lord, @AC

The Dark Lord : 'PAYG customers are nothing more than capricious fly-by-nights who swap in a new SIM at the drop of a hat. Stuff them. They get to use the network that contract customers have provided the business model for.'

AC: 'So whats unfair about everyone being charged roughly the same?'

Actually Pay as you go customers are subsidising you.

We have an insane business model in the UK, thanks for taking credit for it DL. In the UK everyone thinks that phone handsets are free. You get the latest handset every 18 months and chuck the old one in a drawer. Those handsets cost hundreds of pounds each. You only get them free because the networks make the money back through contracts and call charges.

So obviously pay as you go users that paid for their handset should get cheaper calls right? Wrong! Pay as you go tarifs are not significantly cheaper then those on contract. Pay as you go users are basically being ripped off to subsidise your latest shiny handset.

This is a blantant example of charging the poor to subsidise toys for the rich.

Furthermore in an age when we are encouraged to recycle everything and look at the impact on the planet of every decision we make, a system that actively attempts to make a complicated piece of electronics a disposable item should be unthinkable.

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Flame

Ha ha ha ho ho ho

Pay to receive my foot!

Just another way of raking in the cash bigtime, as bloody usual.

Well only one thing left then, back to CB radios! amplifier ahoy!

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Flame

Kill the phone spammers

Execute anybody responsible for making unsolicited phone calls, whether marketing, sales or another one of those that claims to be "not a sales call", & also no matter where in the world the call originated from (TPS really does let us down on this one)... then come back to me on whether to consider charging me to receive calls. Until then...

Or how about unsolicited callers pay money directly to my phone account for the privilege of calling me at £1 a minute. That should nicely offset termination fees.

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that is how we know the earth to be banana shaped

considering the fact that I have now been waiting 4 weeks for Orange to reply to my letter sent to their "No Correspondence Dept" in regards to cancelling my contract due to exceptionally bad reception at my home address, I find my endearment towards the mobile industry beginning to wane.

I find it insulting at the very least to think that Ofcom would like to "know what people think" about the move. Hardly representing the consumer is it.

I've just conducted my very own survey at work, and all 27 of us in the office who have mobile phones, would bin them if we had to pay to receive calls.

Think of what that would do to their margins. Just another example of Western greed.

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Law of Contract

Surely under the law of contract you can't be liable to pay for something that you didn't ask for?

If I initiate a phone call, it's my choice and so I'm liable for the call charges; are they claiming that pressing the answer button will form a contract that makes me liable to pay for the call?

Maybe if they made the first ten seconds free so you can hang up if you don't want to speak to the person calling.

If they bring this in then I think the people at Ofcom responsible for this should have their mobile numbers listed on the internet, so everyone can phone up to thank them.

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Stupid idea..

I am totally against the idea of paying to receive calls... It opens up a whole world of abuse.. If you make it cheaper for companies to make unsolicited marketing calls by shifting some of the cost onto the victim, then the number of such calls will only increase.

Then you have people on prepay who never seem to have any credit, but you can still call them... I know people who give phones to their kids so they can be contacted, the kids rarely have any credit on the phones but the parents can still get in touch with them.

Something else that always bugs me, and would only become worse under this proposal, is companies that block their callerid. I don't answer such calls, and if you call any of my fixed or voip lines with a blocked callerid you will get a message saying i don't accept such calls, and asking you to unblock callerid. I also blacklist certain numbers too, so they get a message saying their call is unwanted. I would like something similar for my mobile...

Just going to voicemail isn't good enough as people don't leave a message and have no idea why you didn't answer the phone.

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Pay to receive a call?

0800 R-E-V-E-R-S-E

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re: Pay As You Boo Hoo

See Ofcom Communications Market Report 2008. This year has seen Pre-pay cheaper per minute than contract for the first time.

Therefore they don't pay rental AND get a better deal.

As for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - they need to get out more.

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Unhappy

Damn

Does this mean that I can't put cold calls on hold whilst I fictitiously go to answer my front door ?

No fair!!!!

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Stop

How on earth can they think this is a good idea?

Perhaps they are getting kickbacks from some of the major networks ;)

Termination charges would be abused left right and centre. I have had my (unamed) operator call me up dozens of times while I'm abroad just so they can charge me for the privelage.

I certainly dont want this kind of thing to happen while I'm home too.

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Pirate

Unsolicited calls are effective

If you are a died in the wool Republicrat, set your autodialler to call a bunch of indecisive voters with a long message telling them why they should vote Democritan.

There was a very effective advertising campaign for branded washing power. The adverts were patronising and irritating. They increased sales of the other branded washing powder (made by the same company) at the expense of the store's own brand powders (also made by the same company, but sold with a lower margin).

At the moment, you can ask cold callers to wait a minute, or you can ask them a few simple questions again and again until they go berk. If OFCOM want termination charges, I want their mobile numbers. If a website asks for my number, they currently get their own sales number, but OFCOM could change that.

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