back to article Vodafone says termination rate clampdown would hit the poor

Vodafone today claimed 40 million Europeans will be forced to drop their mobile phone service if EU-led moves to scrap the current call termination charging system go ahead. Pay as you go users who make fewer outgoing calls would face big retail price hikes if operators lost revenues, the firm said. Those typically poorer …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Danny
    Dead Vulture

    Get Stuffed

    No way am I ever paying to receive a call. I will quite happily chuck my mobile in the bin before agreeing to pay for something I haven't initiated.

  2. Andy

    Such a terrible idea

    Noone else should be able to cost me money - or have to pay because I want to speak to them. I say this as a guy who makes an awful lot of calls, and would therefore presumably be in line to save money. Next we'll be hearing that receiving SMS messages should cost money, like in the US...

    Whether Vodafone are right (probably not) or being greedy because the current system suits them (more likely), they're on the right side here.

  3. Brutus

    Cold Calling

    Personally, I'm not in favour of the US style system. It's irritating enough getting cold-calls on my mobile without the added insult of having to pay for the experience.

    I'm quite happy to pay the extra on my out-going calls to ensure that I only pay for time I want to spend on the phone and not shell out for every cold-call, wrong number or nuisance call (sorry - courtesy call) from Voda. I think we should keep it in the same manner as the postal service - sender pays. In fact, I'd even consider making the caller pay for the international part of a roaming call (after a suitable automated warning of course).

  4. Chris


    You can choose to accept the call or not, so you won't be charged unknowingly. Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users.

    You will still be able to choose a tariff with no incoming cost - you'll just have to pay for it through higher call charges/rental elsewhere.

    Someone always has to pay, otherwise the service isn't provided in the first place.

  5. Paul

    What rubbish.

    If I make a call I know how much it costs and if I can afford it. If I start being charged to recive calls...

    The poorer phone users will be worse off by not being able to budget. Its just stupid realy.

  6. Matt

    Mine's for the bin too

    if they do this.

    The other tjhing I've noticed in the UK is that it's difficult to know how much a call is going to cost.

    When I call someone I should pay a certain rate based, if necesary on the time of day and the duration of the call. I can understand "friends and family" discounts but it seems to me to be a con that I have to pay one price if the number is with O2, another for Vodafone etc.

    With number portability I can't know who the recipient is with.

    Add to that the complexity of the pricing plans and we're being ripped off left right and centre!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get...

    Why does anyone want this? I don't see why it's benefitial for any party to charge the receipient of a call, it makes no sense to me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why on earth are we trying to copy the US market?

    'Proponents of the US system, where the costs of calls is shared by the originating and the receiving network, argue that increased competition means consumers get a better deal'

    Are these proponents stoned? The US cellphone market is a stunted shadow of what it should be. Apart from the iPhone, they are years behind in terms of technology and utilisation (compare the features on your average Nokia phone to your average Motorola phone). They should be using Europe as a model of increased competition rather than the other way round.

  9. Phil Miesle

    consider this...

    Two lines, 1000 peak minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, unlimited anytime calls between the two lines, and unlimited calls to two sets of 5 numbers. $80/mo, with $10/mo for each of up to three additional lines. That's T-Mobile.

    Or consider AT&T pre-paid plans. [$0.25/min] or [$1/day-of-usage and $0.10/min to non-ATT numbers plus unlimited calls to ATT numbers].

    And need I mention that these are national plans...doesn't matter if I'm making calls between New York and San Francisco, doesn't matter where I am.

    And don't get me started on data rates...AT&T's iPhone data transfer is uncapped.

    Sorry, I've been on US plans and Irish plans, and I'd take the US "pay to receive calls" any day of the week.

    In fairness, I'd really just welcome some actual competition between carriers...but of course European carriers paid billions for their 3G licenses. (At auction, so you can hardly fault the governments there...)

  10. Steve

    If YOU decide to make a phone call YOU should pay for it

    If you recieve an unsolisitated phone call why the hell should you pay for it!

    I would seriously reconsider owning a mobile or set my phone to only recieve calls from the phonebook numbers, yes you can do that on some phones.

  11. dervheid

    "survey of 9,000 mobile phone users...

    showed significant resistance to the notion of paying to receiving calls"

    One could presume that out of the 9000, approximately 8999 told Vodabone to go f**k themselves on that idea.


  12. Nermal

    Another Brilliant Idea, Oh hange on No...

    I am impressed that they suggesting a new way to allow people to grief one another.

    If some-one offends you all you have to do is keep ringing them burn your free minutes against their PAYT. Even if you hit their voice mail it will burn the credits.

    Then they will have to introduce something to fix the problem they have just created.

    What "Totaly Working And Tested" person came up with that one.

    Danny & Brutus, I have to agree with both of you.

  13. Chris Ovenden

    The end of cold calls?

    Actually, I'm in favour: no more cold calls, because everyone will be unwilling to pick up a call from an unknown person.

  14. Sampler

    Cold Calling and the TPS

    Sick of getting cold calls, sign-up to the TPS:

    And every cold caller gets a nice £5k fine.

    Well, not /every/ but it does cover alot of folk, you can also sign-up for the mail preference too.

    As for the article - hope they don't, that would just suck and make it more confusing when I have to pick a deal - not only how many texts, data and outgoing calls but will have to ork out the incoming call amount too (same and cross nextwork)

  15. Mark

    re: choice

    "You can choose to accept the call or not, so you won't be charged unknowingly. Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users."

    So what about voicemail? You either have to turn it off or you don't GET a choice.

    And as for the price of PAYG going up, if it goes up on per call pricing, then I will either accept or make fewer calls (choice), if the handsets go up, then you buy them second hand (which the poor have to do anyway, since even a cheap handset costs over a tun without a monthly subscription).

  16. leon clarke

    Why can't the market decide?

    What's to stop a phone network offering accounts with geographical numbers instead of 077 numbers which do pay to receive calls? Customers can then decide whether or not they want to buy one of them or an ordinary expensive-to-ring mobile number.

    The fact that no-one offers this sort iof plan suggests that it's not wanted.

  17. Chris Miller

    US model is irrelevant

    The US model arose because mobiles were allocated numbers in the same range as land lines. Because the caller had no way of knowing whether it was a mobile or not (and most local calls were free) it was only reasonable for the mobile user to pick up the tab. I can't see any reason why we should follow this model over here.

    I'd like to know what happens if I reject a call and it falls back to my voice mail - who pays for it then?

  18. Will


    "Someone has to pay for the service, and currently there is cross subsidation from heavy users to low users."

    So... do you mean people who use the phone more have to pay more? Like everything else in the world?

  19. Nick Kew Silver badge

    We already pay to receive calls

    I think El Reg is inadvertently scaremongering in this article, by leading readers to suppose we'll be expected to pay to receive calls including spam, wrong numbers, etc. If that happens it'll be by choice or when we're scammed. At least, I assume so ...

    I for one have paid a lot for incoming calls over the years, without the option. That's because, as a one-man business (from 1998 to earlier this year) I had to ensure my landline would divert to the mobile and I wouldn't miss vital business calls. So the landline was being charged full call-to-mobile charges, and that's a sector where they seem to operate a cartel (no bloody competition).

    Just to complete the scam, there was an idiot Estate Agent[1] who kept giving my (landline) numbers to his customers, so I'd get their calls at my expense. Being a public-facing business, they had about 100 incoming calls diverted to me for every business call I got.

    [1] The callers always asked for "Ben". There were several other staff at the same agent, but never a call for anyone else. So I have to infer that it was Ben who couldn't give his own phone number, rather than lots and lots of customers getting it wrong.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    for further consideratin

    Consider, your plans generally cover an area the size of one of our states. I know in Pennsylvania, I can get an unlimited plan (that's right, unlimited calls, to anywhere in the country, to any number) for under $100US. Roaming only applies if you leave the state. Most plans other plans have no roaming anywhere in our country (but limit weekday minutes). How much would it cost to have no roaming charges anywhere in Europe?

    As it stands, we don't have the most advanced service nationwide, but we do have good service in all major metro's. Consider the cost of rolling out an updated service and towers to all of Europe. BTW, you can choose which calls to accept on your cell vs. landline. Caller ID is always included in the cell plan.

    I subscribed to calling party pays back in the `90s, but with the cost of minutes today, why bother. Additionally, unless you have an alert prior to connecting, how do you know the number you've received is a landline or a cell?

    Caveat: I haven't paid for a cell in over five years. If my employer wants me to carry, they'll provide it (and they have).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mobile call charges

    Don't US mobile phones have "ordinary" telephone numbers so it is not possible to tell from the number whether it is a landline or mobile number? Presumably that is why people are not charged more to call a mobile phone and the extra cost is charged to the recipient of the call.

  22. John Young


    If this means that I will no longer be forced to subsidise people who have no landline.

    To spell it out for the mobitards:

    You have a land line - I can call you for free (it's in my landline package).

    You only have a mobile - it costs me a packet to call you.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The EU Comissioner Cant Be Serious...

    ... This complete numpty hasnt a clue, she is on a one woman mission to screw over every EU citizen, with all this screwing wouldnt you think somone would be happy?

    As Nan Taylor from the Catherine Tate Show would say "What A F@$%ing Liberty, If this fruit loop thinks being charged to RECIEVE a call is the way to go then she wants hit over the head with a mobile phone!

    Yes there should be a standard for all mobile operators in the EU when it comes to charging, including a standard termination charge they charge each other for calls to each others network so that its fair, but this should be something introduced as legislation for them, and not at the expense of the consumer - afterall why should be suffer because operators charge different fees to each other?

    Why cant she just leave everything else as is, she has made calls cheaper to send and recieve when abroad (IN EU) hopefully texts will be cheaper too as they are currently excessive, and data charges reduced too but then STOP at that - these are simple benefits we EU citizens should get being part of it...

    Maybe her focus should be Fixed Line providers like Virgin Media, and BT who think its fair to charge per minute rather than per second for calls... Which is the biggest form of daylight robbery in the telecommunications market, and a 7p connection charge when it costs the company less than 1p is also excessive - this is what the bint needs to look at and leave the mobile well alone.


  24. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Bleeding obvious

    ***"Vodafone said its survey of 9,000 mobile phone users showed significant resistance to the notion of paying to receiving calls."***

    They needed a *survey* to work that out?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Screw over pay as you go customers

    After going on holiday to the US I'm certainly not keen on the pay to receive model. One of the reasons the European market has been so successful with mobile phones is the explosion of pay as you go users, without them we would never have seen so much widespread adoption so fast. Pay to receive harms pay as you go users.

    As suggested by others, let those who want to pay to receive calls use another number allocation - don't go changing the current purpose of the existing mobile allocations which is working perfectly well. I'm sure something in the 01/02/03 range would work nicely, they'd have the benefit of more people being willing to phone them as it would be forced to be identical to a regular phone call to a landline for the person calling.

  26. Chris Adams

    PAYG problems

    Imagine you give your child (Daily Mail Alert!) a mobile phone on PAYG and the brat blows all their credit on texing their mates in class.

    Great, now you can't contact them because they have no credit to pay for the incoming call and they have no money/ability to top up.

    Same as me at the end of the month, really.

    This just makes no sense, unless it only applies to contract deals and then they'd have to seriously reduce calling costs/rental to make it sufficiently appealing to customers. Let's be honest, they've already set the charges the way they are to factor in the financial burden of the whole call so if they stopped having to pay for part ot it the charges must come down.

    No, any way you look at it, this would be a nightmare to implement and would be very unpopular. You'd have companies falling over themselves to get the other companies' customers by offering "Free to receive" calls and we're back where we started.

  27. Chris

    Re: Paying for voicemail

    Well, if you want the *service* of voicemail, you can pay for it. If you don't want that service, then disable it. You still have a choice.

    I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged. So it isn't free, it's just paid for by the people who call you. They don't get a choice.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cold Calling and the TPS

    Problem with the TPS is it only applies to those who are actually selling you something directly (many get around it by claiming it's marketing or a survey and then after fishing your details you are hooked onto mailing list, or when asked/pushed if you'd like further details they transfer you to someone who will sell you something and that's fine because you've effectively agreed).

    But worse is that most now are initiated from outside the UK and usually outside the EU, where the law doesn't apply (but the calls are clearly targeted at UK customers).

    As for the article though. Sure, no one is going to want to pay for receiving calls. However, Vodafone and all the other operators also take the royal piss when it comes to hiking the so called "cost" of termination fees on the customer. All they're doing here is going "boo hoo, it's soooo unfair" and then spin the call receive fee line to ensure the customers are going to complain and are on their side.

    If they stopped ripping people off, the EU would have little need to do this. Though the EU could cap the termination fees further though (whilst ensuring operators are not allowed to hike fees in any other way to compensate).

  29. Steve

    Re: Cold Calling and the TPS

    "Sick of getting cold calls, sign-up to the TPS:"

    I have, but sadly they've found a loophole. Apparently market surveys and the like are excluded, so I've recently had an increase in firms calling me to conduct 'surveys' - ie, wanting to ask me one or two questions that they can then push their product with. One caller got very shirty with me when I said I'd signed up with the TPS and was implying I was stupid for not knowing this exclusion meant it was his right to call me. I will not buy from companies that cold call, especially not if their callers are pushy and refuse to go away when asked politely to do so.


  30. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    The wrong argument

    Termination fees across Europe are set by the national regulator and reflect the cost of routing the call/maintaining the network/paying for licences. As such they are strictly not subject to EU regulation. However, termination charges do vary widely across Europe and this variation can be seen as a barrier to inner European competition which is why the Commission feels it has a remit on the subject.

    Regarding PAYG - these are simply pre-paid contracts. Nothing stopping the networks setting either a monthly connection fee or charging for call delivery and rejigging the tariffs and informational material accordingly.

    As for VF sticking up for the customers. Aren't they the cnuts who've just upped the prices?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @John Young - why should I subsidise YOUR calls?

    > If this means that I will no longer be forced to subsidise people who have no landline.

    To spell it out for the mobitards:

    You have a land line - I can call you for free (it's in my landline package).

    You only have a mobile - it costs me a packet to call you.

    In the last year I made a total of £25-worth of calls on my landline, and I had to pay a further £150 to BT for the line rental. I have cable broadband, not ADSL, and so have no need for the landline. Why should I keep it just because it might save YOU money? Duh...

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another Tariff increase is on the cards.

    By removing the expensive trans national roaming rates Reding has made all our phone bills rise. Why on earth will this be any different. Cutting the termination rate won't increase competition, the mobico's will all just increase the charge elsewhere for a different service.

  34. Chris

    "ripping people off"

    Vodafone have a return on assets of 5.7%. All that infrastructure has to be paid for. Previously, they used the old cheap calls'n'texts plus expensive overseas calls and data.

    Now they can't play that game any more, they have to increase the cost of other things to make up that return on the assets. It's just the basic reality of a market economy.

  35. James Donnelly

    Try this...

    Ok, lets say in this hypothetical world that there are broad and sweeping changes to the mobile legislation and terminating charges gets the green light across Europe.

    Providers charge the same connection fee as the terminating fee, say 0.25p per connection for the sake of argument, to connect a call no matter what network in what country in the EU, no matter what telco it is therefore allowing the smaller players to compete with the monoliths, sorry, established providers...

    Calls to any network are charged at the same rate as the connection charges are already paid for, ie if you are on O2 and call Vodafone, you pay O2 rates and not any of this cross network rubbish.

    Calls can only be charged for the first x number of minutes, ie pay for first 5 minutes and anything after 59 minutes.

    Any company making spam calls onto the mobile network that you have not explicitly allowed can be reported and they have to pay both sides of the call.

    Any other ideas???

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Has anybody actually read anything about this proposal?

    This isn't about charging the end user to receive calls, it's about charging the network operator to accept calls. Currently the originating operator pays the receiving one - if the two operators are approx the same size then the number of calls between them are about the same, so it all balances out. However for a small operator it is likely that at present there will be more calls from their network than to it, so it costs them money.

    This is essentially a bar to entry for new operators, and works against small ones - no surprise that 3 are in favour of a system where the network receiving the call pays for it, since they'd be better off, whilst the big players would see no difference, due to the more or less equal number of calls in/out. Of course they would be worse off because it'd prompt more competition in the market, which they don't want!

    all in, possibly not a bad idea at all.

  37. Benny
    Thumb Down

    Re: Re: Paying for voicemail

    "I'm sick of mobitards (I like that one) who use the "free" voicemail, thus ensuring that if I dial them and they don't answer, I will be charged. So it isn't free, it's just paid for by the people who call you. They don't get a choice."

    Errr, you chose to call them..

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US/Rest of World: Things have levelled....

    It was the fact that calls were free to receive that caused the mobile market in the rest of the world to take off well before the US. And lets not forget that the whole reason the US charged to receive calls is because a US mobile number is a local number. If I buy a phone in Cleveland then I get a Cleveland number and in the past, that meant someone in Dallas would have paid the "long distance" rate (or used a calling card to get the call cheaper).

    Things have leveled since then. Your average US "plan" has more than enough minutes and megabytes for most people (and there are not so average plans for the really heavy users). In the US, there are also network operators that simply give unlimited (price wise) but limited (where you can call) calls for a fixed monthly fee.

    US customers can get a better deal than their European counterparts these days but don't necessarily get the same level of flexibility.

    That said, if we move to a model where calls are charged for termination (with US style "plans"), it will be the paupers that suffer because, let's face it, the US market isn't awfully pauper centric.

  39. Stephen Jones

    Don't get it

    I don't get the logic here. Presumably smaller networks will have as many calls out as in.

    And isn't the proposal talking about charging networks, not users

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Re: I don't get...

    It seems obvious why Vodafone et al are opposed to this proposal: because it would result in them making less money. The total amount paid by consumers to the mobile companies (directly and indirectly) would go down, and surely that's a Good Thing.

    That's mainly because a person on a landline calling a mobile has no choice but to pay the 12p+ per minute retail price, and the mobile companies happily lap it up.

    Scrapping termination would also make services like personal numbering attractive - a single number which can be forwarded to either a mobile or a landline. Sure, they exist now, but nobody uses them - the caller has to pay more than calling a mobile, even if the call terminates on a landline.

    I wonder how Vodafone put the question to their mobile group: maybe "Would you like to pay extra for receiving incoming calls?" I don't suppose they asked "would you like calls from landlines to mobiles to be cheaper?"

    Perhaps Ofcom should make a similar survey of 9,000 landline users! Mobile owners are not the only stakeholder here.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    @ Oliver Jones

    Somehow, with an attitude like that, I can't imagine those on the "do not call" list are particularly bothered...


  42. EvilGav

    @ Various

    You refuse to call mobiles and if that otherperson doesn't want to go to the expense of £130 (for land-line rental, lets not forget the £50-£125 installation fee if they need one put in), you'll no longer keep in contact with them.

    With friends like that . . .

    Surely if you have a mobile (and it's a minority now that don't), you'll have free minutes/texts included (again, it's rare for a contract not to have them, even some PAYG do too), so use that to keep in "free" contact.

    Frankly, if you're such a cheap bastard that you'd rather stop speaking to friends/relatives/aquaintances than pay for a phone-call, then i'd be glad to stop speaking to you too.

  43. pctechxp



  44. censored

    How do they determine the 'network'?

    Will Vodaphone users receiving calls from other Vodaphone users have to pay? Presumably not, because there's no termination fee involved.

    But as a consumer, how do I know if a call is from my network as it's now impossible to know what network a number is on? This is why all inclusive minutes are now generally 'any network' rather than the same network plans of the 90s.

    If same network calls don't cost to receive, it'll make it incredibly complex and difficult for a consumer to know what their monthly bill will be. If they DO cost to receive, then the consumer is being ripped off. There is no win for this.

    And while we're at it, why do Vodafone users pay roaming charges when they roam to Vodaphone in another country? That, surely, is the next place for a price war: roam on Vodaphone anywhere in the EU and we'll treat it as your home country.

  45. Neil Hoskins

    Bring it on

    I'm one of the pay-as-you-go light users you're all supposed to feel sorry for. I use my N95 for music streaming, VoIP, listening to podcasts, internet radio, photography, video, FM radio, playing games, sat-nav, geocaching, etc, etc.... but can't remember the last time I used it to make, or receive, a mobile phone call. For the very occasional emergency (not, "I'M ON THE TRAIN" or "THEY HAVEN'T GOT STRAWBERRY JAM, IS RASPBERRY OK?") I don't really mind paying over the odds. If prices go up, and discourage all this bollocks, that can only be a good thing. And don't start me on people making similarly inane, pointless calls while driving...

  46. Frank Bough

    @ "Chris" & "Oliver Jones"

    You carry right on with your pointless landlines, the rest of the universe is much happier with their mobiles. In case you two Luddites hadn't noticed, EVERYONE (to a sensible degree of accuracy) in this country now has a mobile, while landlines are gradually disappearing. Good luck with your principles guys, seriously, no-one gives a fuck what kind of call package YOU are on. Why should we care about YOUR free minutes? And if you want to remain incommunicado, that's your problem.

  47. Dale

    One advantage

    If customer service centres have to pay to receive calls, maybe they won't spend so much time in the tea room while you're on hold being told how important you are to them.

  48. Zmodem

    thats me done

    ive only made 3 outgoing calls in 3 months and 2 of them by mistake when i sat down. only ever use my phone for the net. and cant see way the poor would be on vodafone, theyre complete shit, just a name that never been marketed for the youth

  49. Law
    Paris Hilton

    One big reason why this might go through...

    is because the people making the decisions have company mobiles, paid for by their employers, be that the mobile company, or by the people. They don't even look at their mobile bills, never mind contribute to them with their own money, so why would they even consider this would bother other people with mobile phones, they've never experiences the annoyance of a larger than normal bill.

    Personally, if this style system comes in, I'm going to ditch my mobile and just use something like Skype exclusively, since the only time I'm not near a secure wifi connection is when I'm driving, relaxing with the wife somewhere outdoorsy, or in the cinema... and none of those times I want to be bothered by calls!! So the networks have what should be an easy choice - absorb the cost of termination charges between themselves so I don't end up paying for receiving calls in the direct way I imagine it - OR - lose the £50+ per month I spend on my contract + webnwalk + additional calls... I don't mind either way.

  50. Anonymous Coward


    Hang on.

    Were at a unique point here.


    The creation of the 03*** area code for a true local call rate alternative to 0845 numbers gives us a chance to make the end user deside.

    Heavy call maker? Pick an 03*** number and enjoy lower call rates when you call out, in return for paying to recive a call.

    Heavy call reciver? Stay on the 07*** number and pay more when you call out.

    The US system has its plus and minus points, as does the current EU. Choice at the consumer level would be the best option for everyone.

    I can bet my work mobile would be moved onto an 03*** number, while my PAYG personal phone would stay 07***.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019