back to article How to stop worrying and enjoy paying for incoming calls

Termination fees - the money paid to a receiving network for connecting a call - are for the chop. The question is what, if anything, will replace them; moreover, will ordinary punters ever even notice they're paying to receive calls? Ofcom recently announced it was going to take a good look at the question of termination fees …


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It's trick to deflect your attention

The reason the phone companies are racking it in, is because the cost* of connecting a call is minute, compared to what is charged.

The trick is,

with the new system you will have no control over the charges and probably pay more, oh, we better stick with the existing (overpriced) system. You've been deflected from a new system where you pay less.

Think of the cost of regulating who can ring you, because you have to pay to receive a call - it's nonsense.

With both fixed and mobile phone system, there is some capital cost (but the number of users makes this minute per user), land rental cost, maintenance cost, electric cost. The computers routing the calls are switched on all the time - there is no big (5p) cost in making or receiving a call. Hence VOIP is so cheap.

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No Dice

For the record, number portability is not an issue:

I have a fixed line with a geographical number.

I also have an inbound fixed line type geographical number with my VOIP (so there is no barrier to moving fixed line numbers to VOIP)

I have a mobile on which I could run a VOIP client so technically I can already move my fixed line number to my mobile.

Do we want mobile numbers for our land lines - no!

Do we want mobile numbers for our VOIP - no!

Can we already move a fixed line number to VOIP - yes!

Can we use a VOIP number on a mobile - yes!

The only barrier to moving a fixed line number to a mobile is mobile data plan pricing!

It's just like everyone else has said... if someone wants to talk to me, they should cover ALL of the cost of the call and vice versa if I want to talk to them. It's simple and fair.

Paying to receive a call telemarketer is not fair at all... a bit like you paying the postie to deliver junk mail.


Alternative view from across the pond

When I moved to Canada 3 years ago from the UK, paying for incoming calls was initially a shock. So a plan with 200 minutes is really 200 minutes of "airtime".

The thinking is that you are paying for the airtime that allows you to be contacted, or for you to make contact, with anybody at any time. Whether you receive a call or make the call it doesn't matter... airtime is still being used.

There are two big differences compared with the UK... the cost to make calls is a lot cheaper and there is no concept of a mobile number.... they are all the same. Someone calling me has no idea if they are calling a cell phone, landline or VoIP... nor does it matter. So the only real loser is someone who has a mobile purely to receive... but even then they will still pay GBP15/month regardless.

Of course there are plans that for an extra $10/month allow for unlimited local incoming calls.

What I do disagree with is a new trend over here to charge for *incoming text messages*. I can use CallerID to control which calls I agree to receive... but I cannot control text messages.

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My two pence worth

I am against charges to receive calls, I don't understand how you guys in the US put up with it unless as someone said it justifies telling an unwanted caller to F**k Off.

My first reaction is that if I have to pay to receive calls I would simply not have a mobile. However on reflection as long as it's low and a per minute charge not a "or part minute" or a per call charge so the cost is very nominal for a short "No, F**k Off" call then I'd be OK with it. Of course you would expect it to become cheaper for the ordinary user to call a mobile if this comes in, yeah right! bet it doesn't.

As for the Skype analogy/argument, what nonsense! As others have said I pay for an internet connection anyway and the amount of bandwidth used by a Skype call does not impact my "unlimited" allowance.

Like wise where do they get the idea that people want to have the same number for home/mobile etc.? I don't and I don't want my friends or family to either, I like to know when I'm calling a mobile and for others to know they are calling me on a mobile. Also I like people to leave voice mail at home (where it's free) and not on the mobile (where it's not). You have been able to signup for a global roaming number forwarded to wherever you are for years but do you know anybody who has?

One other thing. Will pushing off call to voice mail actually avoid the charge? Currently talking to a mobile voice mail is still charged as if talking to the subscriber I bet, so the receiving network is probably still levying the termination charge.


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