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 …

COMMENTS

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  1. Gordon Henderson
    Alert

    Beware those 07 numbers ...

    They're not just mobile numbers... In particular is numbers starting 070. They're premium-rate numbers (under the heading 'personal' for some odd reason...) and will cost you an arm and a leg to call - especially from a mobile!

  2. Daniel Bennett
    Thumb Down

    Those who claim....

    "Those who claim they'll never pay to receive calls will, if the price is right - they just don't want to accept that they would."

    No, I really just would not pay to receive calls.

    If this was the case, I'd constantly have it divert to my voicemail or Skype.

  3. VeeCee

    Easy Solution

    In most cases we tend to follow the Americans.

    Why not have a uniform termination charge irrespective of the type of network?

  4. Alasdair S

    bogus analogy

    I don't accept the analogy used here. Skype customers do not pay anything extra for each call received: they pay a standard charge to their ISP for the ability to receive calls. This is not the same as paying an amount on a per-call basis. The current arrangement is more like a marriage than a cheap hooker!

    Spam callers will be jumping for joy if this proposal is ever accepted. It is not always easy to screen calls.

  5. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Ooooh, controversial!

    Tackling the "White Hot Fury"TM (use it if you like, I don't care! ;) of the El Reg massive.

    Actually a very good article, but I do have two questions. Would it stop the telco's (especially the mobile one's) gouging the consumer for all they're worth? And what do you do about unsolicited phone calls and text messages?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Regulation?

    "Removing all regulation is considered too dangerous as it would give the largest players too much power"

    Whatever happened to capitalism. Remove all regulations and if your not happy that the large players have too much power then use the smaller companies. Either way competition will restore balance in the end.

  7. SynicNZ

    this is bollocks

    Number portability is marketing ploy nothing else - who really wants it.

    The cost of termination is rubbish also. All the mobile companies except for 3 have sufficient customers calling the other networks that at settlement time the cost to the initiating carrier is nil. Only 3 has to pay as they have so few customers. They could remove the termination charge completely and it would not affect the carriers at all.

    This is just ofcom being blow hards - again. Who is actually behind it? Ofcom have never done anything on their own - they are just not bright enough

  8. john loader

    It's not inevitable

    Anyone who has to pay for an incoming junk call/wrong number when abrod knows that paying for incoming calls is unacceptable. The sooner netwroks realise that paying each other great sums of money that tend to cancel each other out just to fatten artificially balance sheets and slip a bit of invisible profit on the better. Let's have free access and an honest estimate what, if anything, it would actually cost operators.

  9. Jose Luis Perez
    Paris Hilton

    The analogy with VoIP termination is ridiculous

    So if I have an ADSL line and I get VoIP I already pay for termination ? I also pay for e-mail termination then. And I pay for web site termination as web sites are displayed on my PC ...

    The journalist has actually blindly followed what some illuminated guy from a mobile operator told him without even questioning what termination fees really mean ...

    The next to come with such journalism: SMS termination fees. Because we haven't noticed that even if may not block incoming SMSs we are actually getting them, so it should be considered fair that we pay for incoming SMSs.

    Or maybe a radio link termination fee, because we get signaling from the network ...

    To Paris, because even she would understand why termination fees are not any good

  10. michael

    the skype argument if flawed

    for sevral reasions

    1 a lot of pepol do not pay by the bit if you have a unlimited contract or one with a absurdile hi limite then you are not paying any extra for reciving skype calls it is like sayign that we are all ready paying for reciving calls cos we pay a £per mounth for our phone contract

    2 as the girlfriend in your story would say there is a diffrence between 0.06p (what I currentey pay per mb on my expencive bb contract and 5p (what even thje cheepest oprator is likley to charge me per call recived

    3 if you say we pay for every bit we download (prapsh we do and we do not notice it) I wander how much I (more precicley my employer) is paying to view the anoying flash adverts on el reg? and maby I should kick up a fuss about it?

  11. Paul

    What are the disadvantages of removing termination fees?

    If all carriers were told: You must accept all incoming calls without charging but in return all your outgoing calls would be treated the same way?

  12. Hein Kruger
    Flame

    depends on who's calling

    The problem with paying to receive calls is that you don't have as much control. I have no problem with paying to receive a call from my girlfriend or my mom or my friends. I also have no problems with businesses paying to receive calls from customers, but to have to pay for every "sorry, wrong number" or telemarketing (phone spam) or phone survey call I receive, that's just too much.

    Something like this would lead to me only answering the phone when know the person who's calling and I'm really sure I want to talk to them. I can see problems here due to ignoring (potentially important) calls from numbers not on my whitelist.

    Another problem is that, say I need to call someone who has a prepaid account, I can't unless they actually have sufficient credit on their account to receive my call.

  13. alan hillyer

    Termination a Good thing?

    A good Article.

    Thats always the problem with the general public and 'The Media', they do not understand what is going on. (That is the general uninformed media not tech heads like El Reg) Data is in most cases considered 'Free' because there is no cost at point of delivery.

    Termination charges would certainly spice up competition as it will bring the true charges down and make charges more transparent. There would obviously be loads of Hype but maybe, for once, Ofcom could be a bit more savvy with their handling and marketing of the proposals. I guess it would also mean users actually thinking about answering that phone call and cut down on those un-solicited sales calls. Or would the host carrier be able to not charge you for an incoming sales call from themselves as it is on their own network, could they then sell that 'free call' as a chargeable call to the marketing agencies? Hopefully the DPA would cover that abuse!

  14. Andy
    Thumb Down

    Flkawed Argument re: VOIP

    The idea that incoming calls use up my bandwidth quota relies on the fact that I have one, and that it is small enough for me to care.

  15. Robin Bradshaw
    Stop

    A crazy idea

    Why not just scrap termination fees and mandate that telecoms providers must terminate incoming calls, they can make their money from the fees they charge for outgoing calls.

    A bit like the Severn bridge, instead of paying £2.50 each way they charge you £5 going into Wales and free to leave.

    Unless all of the users of your network don't make calls you will still make your money, How asymmetric is the usage of mobile networks?

  16. Craig
    Stop

    Misses the point...

    I use my mobile phone a fair bit for my business, the number is on my business cards and clients are invited to give me a call anytime. I get at least 3-4 spam calls a day from other companies wanting to sell me their services, completely ignoring my TPS entry for this phone.

    The former I'd grudgingly pay for, the latter I'd strongly object to paying for. If someone wants to dial a mobile phone number to spam me services then they should foot every penny of the cost.

    Also "people increasingly want one phone number that never changes". Do they? A mobile number is very distinctive and sets people up to accept the mindset that they are calling a less reliable technology than wired lines, may get cut off unexpectedly or catch someone in a hurry who might be a bit more abrupt in giving a "call you back later, on the train" then cutting you off.

    I use Skype regularly for calling friends, my wife does as well, this has NEVER resulted in me coming close to my broadband usage cap. The bandwidth used is effectively so trivial compared to my cap that it is free for all intents and purposes.

    Enough of the rubbish. Keep it as it is, if someone wants to call me, let them pay the cost of the call; if they don't want to pay, no-one is forcing them to call. Conversely, why should I have to pay to find out if I want to speak to whoever is calling me?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Divert

    If I had my phone on divert and answered the call on another phone, would I pay the pickup call twice?

  18. Poi

    lol

    I c what you did there Dr. StrangeLove

  19. omg

    Not quite...

    I think you've missed the point slightly. Paying for receiving calls you wanted to receive is not unreasonable, it's paying to receive adverts, surveys, wrong numbers, and other junk that is unreasonable.

    Unfortunately there often no way of knowing whether you wanted to receive a call until you've answered it.

  20. Grant
    Thumb Down

    Phone spam here we come.

    I get almost no voice spam on my mobile (in Japan) because they have to pay. If termination charges move over to me paying instead of the caller paying, I'll get shit loads of sales assholes calling me. I think it is importnat to keep the cost on person initiating the call or else it will be exploted.

  21. Tom Mason

    positives and negatives

    I can see positives and negatives to this. Firstly, once we have to pay for receiving calls we will start hunting for those networks that have the lowest fees, which should bring the prices down, and might boost sales of Wi-Fi phones and increase the availability of Wi-Fi networks which would have lower termination fees.

    On the other hand, once you have to pay, all those telemarketing calls and so on cost you money. Who wants to pay to hear about the latest offer on double glazing?

    Unless they can solve the problem of unsolicited calls it's going to face a huge uphill struggle.

  22. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    I'll gladly pay

    to receive calls if the price is zero. If someone wants to use up my time blethering on the phone, they can bloody well pay for it.

  23. Tim Spence

    Sorry, still no

    I like the suggestion that on Skype calls you are using your bandwidth, which is in effect costing you for receiving calls, so many are already doing this. Yes, the reason no one cares is because you have so much bandwidth to use, so you NEVER pay for the actual bandwidth.

    If we're going to equate that logic to mobile tariffs, if O2 are going to give me a tariff where I have to pay to receive calls, but I get a 45,000 minutes a month free (think about it), than fine - that I can handle.

    Also, if we're gonna get stupid about what you technically "pay" for when receiving VoIP or any other types of call; I value my time quite highly, so technically I'm "paying" with my time to receive calls, so yes, I've been doing it all along, silly me.

    I've said it once, I'll say it again - sod off with paying to receive. I'll never adopt it.

  24. Big_Boomer Bronze badge
    Flame

    Sorry, but you are wrong

    I will never willingly pay to receive a call.

    A phone call is an act of volition.

    You make a call when you want to speak to someone.

    Therefore, since you are initiating the process, you can pay for it.

    This has nothing to do with what the networks or OFCOM think or want.

    It is about how we perceive that phone call.

    I recently got some calls from some agencies (I'm jobhunting) but I didn't know them from Adam before the call.

    I would almost certainly have declined those calls if I'd had to pay for them as they could have been sales drones pushing new phones or double glazing.

    Billing for incoming calls will DRASTICALLY reduce the number of completed calls and will hurt the phone companies badly. It will also massively reduce phone usage.

    Yes, we probably pay more for our cellphones than the USA, but then again we pay more for sodding everything so why should they be different?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not

    scrap call charges altogether and get the telcos to charge us by the word!! Second thoughts my wife will run up a 10k bill in no time.

  26. Max
    Flame

    No, no, no, no, no!

    1) I am American and moved here last summer, so I have experience with both situations. Mobile phone rates are by far MUCH cheaper for the consumer when one does not have to pay for an incoming call. A good example is in business, where dialing someone's mobile from a landline at the office gets twice as expensive once the mobile receiver has to pay up.

    2) The cost of re-regulation will be passed on to the consumer and we will need to start again from the top. Meaning that it will cost lots of money for these companies to switch their policies, and since they of course won't do it for free, Joe twelve pack will again get the royal screw job.

    3) After a couple years the prices will have gone down a bit once we all have funded the regulation switchover, but it will still not be beneficial to the end consumer. Maybe they should take a poll: How many people would rather (a) Be able to switch their landline number to their mobile number to their VoIP willy-nilly and pay a premium for it, or (b) Pay NOTHING when receiving a call.

    4) Premium 08 numbers from mobile phones will still cost just as much.

    I could go on and on...

    The phone companies get to f*ck our wallets up so much already, why is Ofcom making it easier?

  27. Richard
    Thumb Down

    Well possibly...

    If the price was sufficiently small that you don't notice it, for instance, taken from the 'free' minutes you're given every month. Then it would, as you say, be like Skype, or like paying for YouTube videos with your download limit. Fine.

    However, I'm a PAYG customer, so people calling me will eat my credit, which translates to real, noticeable wonga. What about that?

    Ideology? No. I just don't like people taking my money.

  28. Richard Read
    Flame

    Tail wagging the dog

    So the tens of millions of people who use mobile and fixed line phones need to change the basis of their billing and absorb the costs of cold calls over which they have no control just so that the few tens of thousands of VOIP users don't need to pay for call forwarding? How does that make sense?

    There is the additional problem that inevitably mobile providers won't pass the cost savings on to us by lowering the cost of making calls but they will bill us for receiving them so this is going to be an excuse to hike prices just like metrification was.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Armchair Economic Idiocy

    "It would be interesting to know how many of those who swear they would never pay to receive a call happily use Skype."

    It would also be interesting to know how many of those who swear they would never pay to watch a TV program happily purchase a television to watch it on.

    There's a difference between per-instance usage charges and overall "cost". People are against usage charges they have no (or little) control over such a paying to receive each call. People are not complaining about having to pay for phone service in the first place (e.g. by buying a phone or getting a contract). There's no reason to get confused about this and confound the two things.

    Using Skype on an existing DSL line costs nothing compared to not using Skype on the line. That's what people mean when they say Skype is "free". Not "free" in that you don't have to subscribe to an ISP to use it, don't have to own a computer, don't have some "DSL opportunity cost" (or indeed a human opportunity cost from answering the phone) etc. "Free" as in no charged incremental cost per occurrence. "Free" as in you're not going to wake up tomorrow with a bill from Skype.

    Equally, I pay line rental on my BT phone, but that doesn't mean I'm "paying for incoming calls", because I don't get a higher bill the more incoming calls occur.

    Which is good since 20-30% of my incoming calls are from people marketing stuff to me; often my bank calling with no good reason, or someone even more annoying. Maybe a telephone survey. Crap like this.

    Which is why no-one wants incremental costs associated with incoming calls.

    Do you get it now?

  30. Oliver Magee
    Thumb Down

    Nonsense.

    how many people actually use skype anyway? % ?

    I want to call someone, I pay for it. Someone wants to call me, they pay for it.

    End of.

  31. Joe Montana
    Flame

    I still wouldn't pay...

    I certainly wouldn't pay to receive calls, and i don't use skype for any purpose...

    I have paid for an internet connection without transfer limits, and i do use SIP based services mostly to make calls rather than receive them. Receiving calls is done through a BT landline connected to an Asterisk box, I can pick up calls remotely if i am connected to a wifi network, and i can configure it to forward to my mobile (my choice, my cost) on certain criteria.

    I would NOT permit an unknown third party to trigger anything that costs me money, and i am strongly opposed to paying to receive calls purely based on that. The scope for abuse is just too high, why should i pay to receive calls from hostile parties, marketing calls and misdialed numbers? These people should be paying me for wasting my time.

    And if you reduce the cost to the caller, this type of call will only increase, unscrupulous marketing companies won't care that you have to pay more, lowering their costs will just cause them to make more calls (with autodialers etc).

  32. Trevor Watt

    The price is right!

    "Those who claim they'll never pay to receive calls will, if the price is right - they just don't want to accept that they would"

    The price is right right now. Nothing, nada, zilch.

    The whole idea is just plain wrong.

  33. Dan Silver badge
    Stop

    @Those who claim....

    "If this was the case, I'd constantly have it divert to my voicemail or Skype."

    If you diverted your phone to Skype, you'd have to pay for the diversion to your Skype number and you'd have to pay for SkypeIn.

  34. Tom Mason
    Thumb Up

    The Solution

    I've got it!

    In order to stop the phone spam all phone numbers need to be premium rate numbers charging £2 a minute, but with a white list of people who don't pay to call you. So, you put your friends and family on the white list, and if someone calls who you do want to speak to you press a key and they get white listed too, therefore the only people you do charge are those making unsolicited and unwanted calls.

    viola, no more phone spam, or an extra source of income.

    With that in place creating a market where there is pressure to lower termination charges out to work.

  35. Richard
    Flame

    A whole new kind of abuse

    Joe Montana reminded me of something. If receiving threatening calls from an angry ex, stalker, local drug dealer* etc. may seem bad now. You just wait till you have to pay for the privilege.

    *Admittedly your friendly local drug dealer would just stab you, since he probably doesn't know how to use a phone.

    < /Daily Mailism>

  36. Rob Crawford
    Unhappy

    That really was a very third rate analogy

    So skype users pay for receiving calls.

    Well if you want to get that obtuse about it I pay for receiving calls by having to recharge my phone more often (and electricity isn't free you know), and also in wear and tear on my phone (case wearremoving it from my pocket, button wear answering the call, speaker & microphone wear.

    As for the one number nonsence, do I want one number to rule them all, no, I don't want my home number to follow me, as it will be a bit hard for my wife to answer the bloody house phone if it's decided to follow my mobile.

    Seems to me one number to rule them all is yet another case of marketing people (OK theyre not really people theyre really cockroaches from some distant planet in Edgar suits) trying to tell us what we want

  37. DiskJunky
    Thumb Down

    not quite true

    Fair enough that terminations charges level the playing field for the companies but it leaves customers wide open to scams where someone calls you and you have no real choice but pay if you accept the call. Does that then mean that you never pick up if it's a "no number" or a number that is not in your phone book? That doesn't exactly lend itself well to practical use. It's the *customers* ofcom should be thinking of, not the companies! Let's get some perspective here!

  38. Grant Quinn

    The Skype argument...

    doesn't mention how many people don't use Skype because it doesn't have "termination fees". I suspect that people on PAYG broadband packages don't use Skype.

    I can understand some of the arguments regarding number porting etc, but I honestly don't care about porting my house number to my mobile. Further to that, landline numbers are geographic, and if we start making mobiles geographic, it'll only give the mobile operators more ways to charge us. Local calls will be cheap and part of our minute bundles, but oh, you want to call Wales from Scotland? That'll be extra!

    I'd rather keep the system the way it is.

  39. Jolyon Ralph
    Heart

    Paying to receive calls can be good

    In some ways when i'm using a mobile (local simcard) in the US/Canada I quite like the fact that I have to pay to receive calls because it gives me a great excuse to get out of talking to people I don't want to, either the "I think my credit is about..." (slides battery off phone) or simply the "I'm paying for this, so fuck off".

    The ability to be that rude and abrupt to people is worth the few extra pennies, in my mind!

    More realistically - how about a system where the first 30 seconds of any call are free, and after that you start paying fees to receive the call. Enough time to get rid of calls you don't want to accept.

    Jolyon

  40. IHateWearingATie
    Dead Vulture

    Letters...

    Arrrrrggggghhhhh

    I make a call - I pay for it. You call me, you pay for it. Anything else is madness.

    I'm pretty sure that there aren't many people who care that they have an 07 number for their mobile and an 01 or 02 number for their home. Certainly not enough to overcome the widespread hate of paying to recieve calls

    This smacks to me of the regulator and phone companies dreaming up new services that consumers don't really care about (e.g. what percentage of the mobile phone owning population want wifi enables VoIP on their phone - I bet it's in single digits) wanting to change the rules so they can foist the new services on us.

    Anyone remember the massive amounts spent on 3G? Now, what percentage of the mobile owning public (that's everyone, not just people who read El Reg) regularly use the 3G service? Again, bet the figure is small and nowhere near enough to justify the huge amounts spent.

    Paying

  41. ross killip

    three?

    anyone on 3 mobile will never have to pay for calls - their network would have to be capable of allowing them first...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    False analogy.

    I pay a subscription to Virgin Media to provide me with a phone line.

    I pay this irrespective of whether I make a call or not. I consider this in no small part "paying to receive calls".

    This is similar to Skype -- I pay Virgin for my broadband connection, and I use Skype. I have paid for using Skype.

    However, metering my incoming calls is entirely different. I have no control over these.

    Furthermore, if I'm paying to make calls and I'm paying to receive calls, what the hell is my line rental paying for? The *potential* to make and receive calls? No dice, mate. I pay you for a service. If the operator wants my business, they need me to have a line. Paying for a line with no bundled services is like charging an entrance fee at a bookshop -- don't you want me to buy stuff?

    So I'm opposed to pay-to-receive, but if it happens they'd better kill line rental charges.

    (Thus challenging the economics of "free" mobile phones with an X-month contract.)

  43. Ash

    Solution

    PAYG SIM, Wireless enabled phone, TruPhone and Fring use only. Don't even give out your SIM mobile number.

    If the Man is going to screw the punter, the punter will screw the Man.

    Screening calls is easy, too; Let it go to voicemail.

    You ALWAYS pay for convenience. Maybe it's time to take a little inconvenience to get some decent market pressure back in the game.

  44. TeeCee Gold badge

    This is supposed to *help* VOIP?

    How exactly?

    I'm aiming at those who've suggested that this entire pig's ear benefits VOIP.

    Currently I use a UK-based VOIP service (and it's not Skhype). I pay per second (at a miserly rate) for calls I make to fixed, mobile, international, non-geographic and premium rate numbers. Calls to other VOIP users are, of course, free.

    People can call me. I have a number attached to my VOIP service and, get this, it's free. Costs me absolutely sweet Fanny Adams. This has puzzled me for some time, but I now understand why, my VOIP provider is picking up the termination fee and it's subsidising my possesion of said number. No big, it's a non-geographic, UK "local" number and costs stuff-all to ring anyhow (well a bloody site less than calling me on my fixed line, I don't live in Blighty).

    In the new, Ofcom mandated world, I can foresee my having to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of having an incoming number attached to my VOIP service. That's not a benefit in my book.

  45. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Down

    I'd just like to add...

    ...my voice to the chorus pointing out that Bill Ray's VoIP analogy is fundamentally broken, that I DO NOT WANT my home phone number following me to my mobile and I DO NOT WANT to pay to receive calls over which I have no control. I call, I pay. You call, you pay. The suggestion that we should pay to receive calls is rank idiocy.

  46. James
    Gates Horns

    It's called line rental.

    To most of us, that ADSL payment is effectively part of the line rental for VoIP services, particularly since I'd like to think most of us are on flat-rate services of one sort or another. Receiving a call does *not* cost us money, because the bill we get for that month is the same whether we receive it or not unless it just happens to be the final few packets which push us over some usage threshold, which is very unlikely.

    I think termination fees for all devices should be the same, either the fraction of a penny per minute BT and Virgin get now for landline calls, or zero, as for a lot of Internet traffic at peering points. I don't think incoming calls should cost anyone: the (trivial) cost of terminating incoming calls should be recovered through line rental except on pre-pay phones. The present termination fees are insanely high, to the extent that one operator pays customers to receive incoming calls; the idea that cutting these would require charging for incoming calls instead really needs to be killed off. BT doesn't charge me to receive landline calls, even though it gets two orders of magnitude less payment from my callers than those calling my Vodafone line!

    (Bill, because he knows all about big companies screwing people with hidden charges.)

  47. Marco

    paying for receiving phone calls

    I am not sure if the comparison between paying for receiving skype calls and paying for receiving phone calls can be made that easily.

    Of course I pay for Skype calls, but I know what I spend because of the flat fee I pay to my provider, no matter what bandwith I use.

    Is this what mobile phone providers would do in the future? Include the charge for receiving phone calls in the monthly flat fee? What about pay as you go contracts?

    I am sure mobile phone providers would charge a per minute price, just the same way they do as if you left the country and receive a phone call.

    The difference betwen receiving a Skype call and a roaming call: With Skype I know it does not make me bankrupt.

  48. Kevin Whitefoot
    Alert

    @Tom Mason

    That will never fly. No large organization (government, telephone network, ISP, etc. ) will ever give the ordinary person that kind of power.

    You have to remember that as far as they are concerned you are simply a cash cow to be milked. No farmer ever gave his herd to right to choose.

  49. Xander
    Thumb Down

    Rubbish analogy

    I'm just throwing in here to say the analogy is poor. Sure it might cost me some data but I'm on unlimited package so I don't really care. If 02 were to let me use my phone however I wished for as long as I wished for £20 a month, just like my ISP does with my internet connection, I'd be a very happy bunny.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Never mind phone termination.

    Using Bill's logic I have just realised I am paying for vast sums for incoming postal mail, including junk mail. These house things 'aint cheap you know.

  51. Mark

    re: Regulation?

    However, the free market requires an informed consumer base.

    And corporations will NOT tell you the whole truth, even when they won't tell you lies.

    So you need at least enough regulation to ensure that this free information is made available to MAKE the free market you don't want regulation for. Without that absolute demand that there be full information available, regulation is needed to replace the power choice would have given you if you HAD been informed.

    So if you want a free market, you must remove any barriers to customers getting any relevant information they require to make the choice (so ban all that "commercial in confidence" and the lock-in periods, both removing either choice or information), or put up with regulation about what you can do and keep your secrets and privilege.

  52. David Webb

    The easiest solution....

    If the termination fee is a fee that companies have to pay another company, and its to be abolished, the answer is simple, the person who initiates the call has to pay the termination fee as part of their connection fee.

    For instance, if I call Joe Blogger, I pay a connection fee which includes not only the connection fee but also the termination fee, as well as the normal cost of the call, sure the first minute of every call may be 25p, but after that its standard rate.

    If on the other hand I did have to pay to recieve a call, I'd phone my telco and tell them that I no longer wish to be able to recieve calls, I'd only be willing to accept SMS messages.

    Whichever way you look at it, the only winner is 3, the consumer is the ultimate loser in this, either by higher charges for the dialer, or paying for the cost of calls for the reciever, neither are really a good option, especially since no telco over here offers "unlimited - no fair use policy, phone calls". US customers get insane amounts of free minutes, simply because their minutes are eaten away by people calling them.

  53. michael

    whail we are talking analogies

    why not compare phone calls to letters where the person who puts the stanp pn pays for all the cost of devivery and each company who delivers it is payed so much per letter of each type they carry

    I must go now I will come back when I get more analogies

  54. Jax

    I wish I didn't always need to write a title.

    So by the same token we should pay the postman for delivering the mail to us?

    I disagree the person who wishes to make the transmission should pick up the entire cost,

    it's irrelevant if that is technologically difficult, those kind of problems are why we are paid money to mess around with computers.

  55. ChessGeek
    Dead Vulture

    No Thanks

    Outside of calls from my wife, the majority of calls I get are wrong numbers or junk calls.

    So why, exactly, should I be willing to pay for other people's mistakes or for their money-grubbing endeavors? Forget it, Mr Ray, this bird will never fly unless the regulators shove rockets up its tailpipe.

  56. Matt
    Joke

    £5 to get in to Wales?

    they should change it round. make it a fiver to leave. they'd rake it in!

  57. Zmodem

    i still dont get

    why mobile calls cost so damn much. to maintain a network. its far cheaper then having fibre and copper scattered around the land, brits are ripped off as it is unless you go shopping overseas. high prices make you loose customers

  58. Iain
    Thumb Down

    Do what you want, OFCOM.

    I'm sure you will anyway. But I really don't need my phone that much - I'll just stop buying PAYG credit every couple of months and do without.

  59. AlfieUK
    Boffin

    Various responses

    @Gordon Henderson

    Personal numbering is called that because the idea is that you can divert your 070X number to wherever you are, be that a landline, mobile, etc before the days of simple network diverts.

    @SynicNZ and others

    Agreed, the current termination fee system is purely an accounting task. Back when OfTel started the first round of termination fee regulation on the big 4 they did discuss doing away with it and having a peering arrangement; 'X sent Y 5M calls this month, Y sent X 4.9M, it's within z% difference so no money changes hands this month'. The problem was OfTel had already agree to operators having different termination fees based upon network utilisation, no one could agree the peering variances, and everyone was hanging on to see how the Number Translation Services (NTS) review worked out. The bigger TelCos have bigger costs in providing the network, and are regulated to recover that cost (so no single market loss leaders), but the little guys moan to OfTel that it costs too much to pass big guys calls so can OfTel reduce those costs. It's never going to work well without being a barrier to entry.

    @Big_Boomer

    Agreed, I'm surprised the Mobe Operators aren't moaning a bit more about this, there's bound to be an impact in usage if people stop answering numbers they don't know because they'll be paying for it. Less calls mean less revenue flow, unused network, etc.

    @AC 05/09 10:14

    Line rental covers the cost of providing the line to you (amongst other things), so yes you are paying it just for the potential to make/receive calls. Your line rental generally doesn't pay anything towards call costs, making or receiving, it is based upon the Long Run Incremental Cost (LyRIC) of providing a circuit into the network.

    - -

    VoIP (and other new media type services) was always going to throw a spanner into the current pricing methodologies as they are based upon each network passing call costs on based upon either a predefined network path or a weighted averaging of paths, whereas VoIP does not conform easily to a rigid system, particularly when you have break-out/break-in to different network types during a call.

  60. MarmiteToast
    Thumb Up

    I'd pay...

    Everyone has a friend who will miss call people so that others call them back and they don't have to pay a penny. Solves this problem, excellent!

  61. David Cornes

    Free bundles

    On the face of it paying for termination sounds like something I wouldn't like.

    But thinking about it, I currently get a 600 free minutes a month package, so that means my provider must be paying the termination fees on the bundled calls to other operators ON MY BEHALF. So if things changed to paying to receive calls, then wouldn't all that would happen is they'd start covering that cost instead/as well?

  62. Rob
    Coat

    Flawed logic

    I hate to say it but the analogy between paying for VoIP and paying termination fees is entirely flawed for several reasons.

    Some broadband subscribers are subjected to a "cap", while others are not. personally, I'm with an ISP which is good enough to honour it's "unlimited" promise. Regardless, the point of the matter here is derived benefit and marginal cost. The vast majority of users will never get near reaching their ISP's bandwidth cap, and thus the derived benefit and marginal cost from receiving a VoIP call for these customers will be completely nill. Whereas receiving a phone call using a normal phone will be subjected to a fixed cost which is itself the marginal cost and the derived benefit. Equating direct monetary cost against inclusive bandwidth from a broadband connection just doesn't make any sense in the context of this article and scale has little to do with it either. The only way you could make that arguement stand would be if ISP's started charging for calls made over a VoIP protocol, and the ISP's aren't about to shoot themselves in the foot with that gun.

    Mine's the one with the Economist sticking out of the pocket.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Wait for it...

    How long until they allow operators to put an expiry date on your PAYG credit?

    So, you top up £20 and have to use-it-or-lose-it within 3 weeks (for example).

    Roll away green!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being in the U.S.

    I lose minutes regardless if I call or recieve a call. If it's from someone on a cell, then I do nothing. If it's from someone on a land-line, I call them back. The phone company loses out on the land-line long distance charge because I get hit up for the call either way. My mom still has a problem understanding this, since her land-line isn't charged for the incoming call. She seems to think I'm paying extra.

    This does suck, because I occasionally get a call from a telemarketer and I'm extremely rude about it (especially these lame-ass calls that put you on hold when you answer until the dumb-ass that made the call has you queued to talk). With a land-line, I would just set the phone down and let them run there spiel while I did something else. When they realized that they were wasting their own time, usually my phone beeping from no connection, I'd hang it back up.

    I don't use the phone enough to worry about it. It's was cheaper to pay $46 for the cell with set number of minutes and not pay for long distance OR pay $55 for a land-line with 300 local call limit AND I would get charged per minute for long distance. I just have a problem with phones being advertised as $40 a month (and in extremely small print) with taxes and other fees not included. I understood this when I got my service and I factored it in before signing, but it's still pretty lame.

  65. David McC

    Alternative?

    Why not have the same termination charge for calls and then pay fixed and VoIP customers for receiving calls. This would allow for more competition without alienating customers.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No way,,,

    I assure you the day any scumbag telco tries charging me to receive calls is the day I stop taking incoming calls, or set up a premium rate number as my personal number. I'm really not that desperate to hear from most people. Anyone, in fact. They only want something from me anyway.

  67. TimM

    Re: This is supposed to *help* VOIP?

    "People can call me. I have a number attached to my VOIP service and, get this, it's free. Costs me absolutely sweet Fanny Adams. This has puzzled me for some time, but I now understand why, my VOIP provider is picking up the termination fee and it's subsidising my possesion of said number. No big, it's a non-geographic, UK "local" number and costs stuff-all to ring anyhow (well a bloody site less than calling me on my fixed line, I don't live in Blighty)."

    Indeed. The one I use provides a *free* geographic local number. I pay zilch to the voip provider and wondered how they can provide the number, but the way I see it is because the caller is paying their operator and they pay the termination fee to the voip provider.

    Works great for me as I have voip for free voip->voip calls (which I never use because no one uses voip), but more importantly I have a free number which I use for business to receive calls. Hell of a lot cheaper than paying BT £10 a month or whatever for a 2nd line (and have to get it installed).

    If termination is scrapped, then I say goodbye to the number as the voip provider will charge me for it.

  68. Simon B
    Coat

    I pity the owners of 999

    I pity the emergency services who will be charged for every 999 call ;)

    Hanger - Coat -gone!

  69. Euan Johnstone
    Dead Vulture

    Piffle

    Since I pay my ISP by your logic I am paying to read your articles. Well I do hope you are enjoying sleeping on your cash stuffed mattress courtesy of us hard working readers.

    Incidentally I pay a little thing called Line Rental so I guess I pay to receive calls already.

  70. AlfieUK
    Boffin

    @James

    In Interconnect terms its currently;

    call cost to dialling customer = Originating cost + (if applicable) Transit cost + Terminating cost

    The proposal is for;

    call cost to dialling customer = Originating cost

    call cost to receiving customer = Terminating cost

    ...I presume they'll argue over who pays the transit cost where that applies :)

    The costs of carrying a call on a 2 switch network will be considerably different to the costs on a 60+ switch network, (not to mention fixed line technology is cheaper than mobe) so where do you set that terminating fee? These costs are supposed to be regulated to represent actual cost in carrying a call (plus a bit of profit), so if you set it in the middle big networks can't recover their costs, and small networks get more than their costs.

    BT doesn't charge you to receive calls as they get that money from the originator at the moment, in the same way as currently works for mobes.

    The idea behind this methodology was, I believe, to promote network growth, i.e. the closer to the terminating customer that you can handover the call the smaller the termination charge you have to pay, hence you get more profit. This doesn't work the same without fixed termination points such as mobiles, or IP cloud traffic, although that's really a whole different issue.

  71. AlfieUK

    @David Webb & @ Michael

    David, that is how it works at the moment, caller pays for the whole cost of getting the call to the called party (originating + transit + terminating)...in most cases all of these costs are on a per minute basis so you don't have a huge set-up fee up front.

    This situation as you say is primarily being driven by the '3' discussion, they want to get into the mobe market without shelling out loads on their own network up front, and they are moaning to try and reduce their costs of handing calls off to the big boys with their large, expensive networks.

    The same happened with Indirect Access, Carrier Pre-Select and LLU, rather than build their own network new operators want to piggy-back off the existing networks to build up customer base without much initial outlay.

    - -

    Michael, some marketeers are already doing something similar with the post. They put the lowest price stamp on the envelope and Royal Mail rather obligingly tries to charge the recipient for the remaining postage, plus a handling fee (£1). !!

  72. Thurstan R McDougle

    An older anology

    The "Railways Clearing House" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Clearing_House

    Back in the days of many railway companies you could buy through tickets between many stations in the UK. You might run over several companies trains to get there. This organization would sort of the inter-company charges, at previously agreed rates, obviously this is a perfect task for a computer to do these days! The ticket was paid for at the time of purchase (when else?), and then the clearing house would be used to transfer the relevant amounts to the other companies.

    There are less routes and presumably very few intermediate sections on phone calls so why can it not be done in this sort of way this day and age? I fact it should be possible for modern mobile phones to tell you immediately what the charge rate will be before it connects!

  73. Nathanael Bastone
    Stop

    I'm with most of the people here

    It's just not the British way to pay to receive a call, most of us are used to answering all calls and then if its a wrong number telling someone so, so that they dont keep calling thinking it is the right number. that saves us ALL money. in any case why change it? I am quite happy with my current PAYG phone. If PAYG phones are out of credit they can still be called and that is good for parents who give their children mobiles. Additionally, in the US, a lot of local calls are free, if this was so here, then maybe it would be ok, but i would prefer not to change, I don't want number portability!

    I don't know why this article was written, I can only imagine it was to piss off loyal reg readers who don't like the idea.

  74. Eurydice Sophie Exintaris
    Dead Vulture

    Port my mob number to my HOME?

    Why on earth would I ever consider doing that?

    Having friends, after a 10-year hiatus, call me out of the blue at HOME in the possible dead of the night (depending on where they are on the planet when they got drunk enough to call) is something a higher authority considers desirable?

    I like the portability and ... expandability of my mobile number(S).

    I like the fact that in europe, if my mother calls to chat I do not have to foot the bill. Students in North America still have to screen calls from boring/invasive/persistent family members or friends, so as not to pay! (I know. I was one. Voicemail got full really fast.) The responsibility should lie with the caller.

    Take this one level up. Have you ever gotten an unsolicited "amazing offer from our partners" call on your mobile? I have gotten dozens. If I were paying to receive every one of them, I'd screen them and never pick up. However, when you're in the midst of looking for a job say, or a family crisis, "private caller" could be anyone, and you _do_need to pick up.

    I believe that a referendum should be carried out, amongst the technologically educated class, to find out what we would prefer.

    Having lived on both sides of the atlantic, with 6 mobile numbers from 5 different countries, I know which model I would choose. The European one.

    See, in North America you may pay to receive a call on your mobile, but THERE IS NO TIMER ON YOUR LANDLINE CALLS. Their system was implemented in such a way that you get unlimited calls. There are no units, unlike in Europe where home-to-home calls are timed and billed accordingly.

    Over there, mobile phones reside in a particular area code. You cross area codes, you pay more. So a mobile phone isn't really mobile in the same way as here. With my UK number I can call London as well as Cardiff, for the same rate. I'd love to know how much it'd cost in Canada to call Montreal and Vancouver from an Ottawa area code. (area codes are by city over there, not even by region. Not very MOBILE then, is it?)

    Maybe it's a rant, I'll grant you that. But having seen both sides of the coin, I choose the one we have on this side of the pond. And I hope Ms.TelcoRegimenter will focus on putting a cap on intra-EU roaming rates instead!

  75. Joe
    Flame

    Whats Bill Ray going to think....

    .... about his idiotic* article if the day termination fees are enabled, El reg readers spend the next couple of months calling him to say 'sorry, wrong number' ?

    *Idiotic, because, as pointed out by several responders, his Skype analogy only holds up if we also get a termination allowance of around 45,000 minutes per month.

  76. Jeff Clarke
    Thumb Down

    another issue with this....

    apart from the many many other good reasons (explored in various ways above) not to allow this change to 'pay to recieve', no one else seems to have noticed that if/when these changes take place - what happens to all the existing mobile contract terms? - I for one will not accept being locked into a 18 month contract I just took out to get , say, 400mins/month, only for the rules to change, and most of those go in receiving calls instead.... also, all existing contracts will be based on the old scheme so the contracted calling rate would be too high, etc (since a primary reason to do all this, in Ofcom's eyes, is to reduce the costs of calling generally...)

    For these reasons, I would have thought that any rule change will have to include provisions to null and void all contract terms, otherwise its completely wrong.... and think of the pandemonium if every mobile contract user is able to suddenly change providers - And I bet top dollar that the mobile phone companies would not like having to null and void all their existing contracts - it would lead to a customer scrabble, whicc is never nice.

    I also think this is a bit like going back to the old ways when we had to pay more to call other networks.... we all liked it when we could call any network on our free mins - and I see this as a form of going back to the old ways.

    At the end of the day, the current system homogenises our call costs across the board, including the cost of the handset. Whereas, in the US, and other places "with lower calling costs" they DO NOT subsadise the handsets.

    As usual, 'they' in power are cherry picking bits of other countries life and assuming we can slot in the benefits without the problems - Life just doesn't work like that - its a hugh complex multi variable 'equation' where small changes can have large impacts... think cane toad in australia

    if we move to the US style of calling, why don't we:

    start using US $;

    have a chimp for a master;

    or go the whole hog, and become the 52nd state;

    get the rights to have a gun;

    get petrol at approx 50p/litre, etc, etc,

    Oh, I know, 'cos we're british and have gone our own way...

    Having said all the above, the sick part of me, in a way, wants to see this rubbish forced through, then when the world falls aparts (due to scores of people giving up on the mobiles, etc, hence a down turn in mobile telcoms = another dot com bubble bursting, etc), the authorities are forced to undertake another massive U-turn, which it is the Labour way (and although Ofcom is not labour directly, it was born of this labour theoryied time, and has shown to be just as incompetant). I.e. the authorities are shown to be the short term gain mugs they are.

    must stop ranting...its bad for the health

  77. Andrew Culpeck
    Flame

    NO TERMINATION CHARGES PLEASE

    "It would be interesting to know how many of those who swear they would never pay to receive a call happily use Skype"

    I dont use don't, and want don't need Skype but I do run a mobile on a shoe string about £10 every 3 mouths for a PATG phone service with no monthly bill. If I had to pay to recieve calls I would losse out and the phone compay would losse my account.

    If you like the US system so much go live there

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Really now.

    Let me explain just what exactly will happen.

    First, we will look at how it is commonly handled today from a consumer point of view:

    Joe Average has a fixed-line phone in his house. The phone company:

    1. Charges monthly for line rental

    2. Charges monthly for a basic plan phone contract op top of #1

    3. Charges on-contact-made when Joe calls someone

    4. Charges per-second after #3 has been established for duration of the call, rounding the price upward (10.5 seconds becomes 11, for example)

    And for a time, it was good.

    Ah, but then there were some numb nuts who devised a plan to yet again upset the logical view on things, and propose "pay to receive a call", without specifically defining what "receiving" and "call" actually mean in this context they invented.

    So, let's move back to Joe for a moment.

    Joe Average now still has his fixed-line phone in his house, but suddenly his bills are looking quite different.

    The Phone Company:

    1. Charges monthly for line rental

    2. Charges monthly for a basic plan phone contract op top of #1

    3. Charges on-contact-made when Joe calls someone

    4. Charges per-second after #3 has been established for duration of the call, rounding the price upward (10.5 seconds becomes 11, for example)

    5. Charges Joe on-contact-made for every incoming call on top of 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    All just to cover the "loss" introduced by the proposals of paying for receiving.

    And ofcourse, the Phone Company can be extra evil by spotting opportunity in the fact that a phone conversation is two-way; and change the way #3 and #4 are billed to suit their new business model, designed to cover the loss introduced by the raving EU monkeys.

    Who here has heard of and understands the concept of communicating vessels?

    The economy as designed by our governments and regulatory bodies works in exactly the same manner: when you add something at one point, all others will follow suit. Should you take something from a point, all other points will equally follow suit, until everything is levelled again.

    In other words; NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE.

    You can get stuffed with your pay to receive, I have my ancient CB radios already dusted off, cleaned and ready to run to avoid ever using a paid phone system again for the rest of my life.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Interesting discussion

    So, I recently moved from Blighty to the old colony. It is interesting to note that mobile phones are MUCH more expensive in the US than the UK. You get a worse level of service, and pay much much more for it. Because of the charges for incoming calls, all-in deals where you pay a fixed rate, and get unlimited voice and data are much more common though - rather than the UK system where you get so many minutes (which to all intents and purposes is unlimited since you get so many).

    As far as I can tell though, there is one big advantage to the US system. I am able to set up a Skype in number in the UK and route that onto the mobile. The charge for the skype call comes in at about 2p per minute, whereas the same set up in reverse would cost over 10 times that. With either a work mobile, or one on an unlimited tariff, that is my total charge for a skype-in call - even on an unlimited tariff in the UK I would be paying much more. It means people in the UK can call me for far less cost.

  80. Rob Crawford

    Titles be damned

    > So by the same token we should pay the postman for delivering the mail to us?

    Hate to point out the obvious, but the sender of the letter is paying for the postie to deliver the bloody thing

    > I disagree the person who wishes to make the transmission should pick up the entire cost,

    Why ?

    If I wish to talk to my bank then I phone them and pay for the dubious privilege. If they want to talk to me then they can pay for it themselves.

    Would you like the postie to turn up at your door step and refuse to hand over your mail until you pay him, I really don't think so.

  81. alex dekker

    Why not both systems?

    Given that the task of calculating who owes what to whom at the end of the day will be worked out by a computer, surely it can't be beyond the wit of Ofcom + the industry to allow for more than one charging model? Keep the 07 range as it is now - caller pays - and add a new number range for callee pays [say, 04]. That way everybody's happy. The GSM spec even allows for 2 lines per SIM [Orange Line 2 being an example of this], so you could even have both if you wanted :-)

  82. Steve

    Re PAYG with expiry date

    Last time I had a UK PAYG phone (2-3 years ago) that was exactly the situation. If I bought £5 of credit it activated the phone for outgoing calls for a month (incoming for 6 months). If I didn't make calls during that month I had to buy another topup.

    When did it change?

  83. Lars Petersson
    Dead Vulture

    Data Cap?

    If I had to pay to receive calls my phone would always go to voicemail. Easy...

    And if the author of this article has a cap on his internet connection, then he needs a new provider...

  84. Tom Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Pull the other one.

    "The only reason no one notices this is because the amount of bundled data is so huge that incoming Skype calls won't register - but that's a question of scale, not ideology."

    Are you going to say the cost of electricity to run your phone/computer, light, heat, rent the price of tea in China are all part of the cost of receiving a call?

    Fine, but it's NOT the same as giving money to the phone company -per call- and you know it!

  85. pctechxp

    I beg to differ

    If you are a PAYG like me, bunndles, if they are exist are a lot smaller than on contract so yes I would notice.

  86. Soruk
    Dead Vulture

    You can already get this

    Orange have for a long time offered the facility to have a geographic number on your mobile, and charged 10p/min for incoming calls on it (doesn't come out of your bundle) in addition to charging an arm and a leg to have this "service".

    (I don't think they offered having a normal 07 mobile number to run in parallel)

    Not too surprisingly it isn't one of their best-selling products.

  87. Sean Baggaley

    3 Mobile?

    Fuck 3. Seriously. They're trying to play the "poor little underdog" card while conveniently forgetting that *all* those "big, evil mobile networks" started out small too! All that infrastructure owned by Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2? They *built* it. Using their own damned money!

    3 claims it cannot compete because it's too "small". Really? So they've been borrowing money from their parents to put up a couple of antennas near their head office, have they? They *knew* what they were getting into. If they couldn't afford the investment, they have no right to complain that others *can*. That's the nature of business. You don't get a free lunch.

    Termination fees are unnecessary: abolish them entirely and set up something like the old Railway Clearing House (as mentioned in an earlier reply). Mobile phone providers are in the business of selling a service. That service is sold to the customer as the ability to both make *AND RECEIVE* phone calls. If I buy a phone, I expect people to be able to call me. I see no reason why this should be chargeable given the economies of scale involved.

    Mobile phone infrastructure isn't mechanical, it's solid-state, so maintenance is a known, fixed, cost. It doesn't change because more calls are being made on it. It only increases if the infrastructure itself is increased. And, again, that increase is a one-off capital expense -- building a mast -- plus a continuing, *fixed* maintenance cost. It's no cheaper to maintain a mast that's only handling two calls a day than one which is handling two thousand.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Who says people increasingly want one phone number that never changes ? One great advantage on not doing so is that you can change number and get away from those you'd rather didn't call. Imagine some pain in the neck getting your number, and you are stuck with it !

    And it is nonsense to claim that you are paying for a call because it is clocking up on your bandwidth limit. Where there is excess unused, then there is no additional costs, and the call is genuinely free.

    Let's see them start charging then and watch the size of the market shrink like a crisp packet in the fire.

  89. ambrosen

    I'll go for reduced termination fees.

    I'd happily not pay £11 a month for voice service on my landline except for the fact that I'd rather have a number where people can call me from anywhere in the world without having to pay an arm and a leg.

    And yes, it does appear that my DSL provider will connect my line without voice service, although I have to check this with them.

  90. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    "Last time I had a UK PAYG phone (2-3 years ago) that was exactly the situation. If I bought £5 of credit it activated the phone for outgoing calls for a month (incoming for 6 months)."

    Not sure who you were with, but that has never been my experience. Once my account is in credit it stays in credit. Are you sure you aren't muddling up a set monthly fee with inclusive minutes, with a genuine pay as you go ? I believe the mobile companies do steal your credit if you don't use it for ages, but without looking it up I think that's a far longer period than one would normally expect to leave credit unused.

  91. Darren B

    What about Same network calls?

    I assume there is no termination fee on (say) 02 to 02 calls? Oh of course, more chance to do us out of our valuable minutes.

    If this means cheaper calls then it should mean more minutes too. Though I am sure the networks will worm out of this one.

    And who pays termination fees when it goes from 02 to BT Landline?

  92. Flexy
    Thumb Down

    Point missed - spectacularly

    Generally, whether you know the person or not, incoming calls are unsolicited. The person calling makes the decision to call you, and you know nothing about it until the phone rings. With this concept in mind, why on earth would anyone expect to pay to receive the call?

    The problem is that the contents are unknown. No-one wants to receive a letter that has excess postage due on it, or buy goods until they've seen them.. You don't know that you'll want it once you've paid. The same applies to receiving a call.

  93. Schultz
    Alert

    Best for competition

    Surely the abandoning of termination fees would be the solution:

    (1) It's simple, no fancy accounting, but the consumer simply pays the incoming calls with the outgoing calls. As the number of the two should be equal (help me if I got the Math wrong), it should average out nicely.

    (2) The Telcos would have a nice motivation to make their products cheap, appealing and usable, after all they would only make money if the customers actually use their phones actively.

    (3) There would be a strong motivation to lower prices, because every cent of the outgoing call fee would remain in the providers pocket.

    Here we go, wasn't that hard, really.

  94. Grant Quinn
    Dead Vulture

    I've had another thought

    If 3 are complaining because they don't have enough customers, so end up paying a lot more on termination fees to other operators than they themselves receive in termination fees, then they should increase prices to cover their costs. They can either raise prices across the board, or they can charge more for cross-network calls.

    Bottom line: either charge enough to make money on your product, or don't sell it.

  95. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    No. No. And AGAIN, NO!

    I'm not scared of Bill Ray...

    Based on this, surely, if you're making a call from an (e.g.) O2 phone to another O2 phone, termination charges would not apply, as it's not travelling "outside" the network in the same way as an Orange-Vodafone call.

    So, will they waive the incoming charge for the receiving phone in this instance? Or will they charge anyway "to prevent confusion"? My money is on the latter. How about ported numbers? 07710 is an O2 prefix, but might be pretty much on any network at the moment, and, as such, neither the calling nor called party can tell which network the other phone is with, even if they're familiar with which codes generally come from which network. If I receive a call from an 07710 number, which is O2, and I am on O2, why the hell should I pay a termination charge to receive that call when the network isn't paying one? This winds me up enough when calling a number that I think is O2 and cheap, and then finding out after 15 mins that they've ported to Voda!!

    This is a money-spinner for the networks, and nothing else. They're envisioning the drop in profits from the caps in roaming charges, and wondering how else to pay for their yachts.

    And no, I don't use VOIP - I have a landline and a mobile, that's plenty enough. And, also, no, I don't want to move my landline number onto my mobile or vice versa. I like having two numbers. My mobile number is fairly freely available, my landline number is only known to close friends and family. And no, if they introduce making me pay to pick up calls, I will simply turn off voicemail and reject the calls that I don't recognise / can't be arsed - leading to less traffic for the networks.

    To summarise the above: No, No, and Thrice, NO!

  96. This_One

    Say no to 0870?

    saynoto0870.com

    or has this already been posted... useful site anyway !

  97. Claire Rand

    idea

    posted this elsewhere without response but anyway.

    ok consider yo (the phone company) want me to pay for incoming and outgoing calls, at the same rate, I'm going to want the following:

    1, no such thing as a 'premium rate' incoming call or SMS they *all* come from my plan, or the same as an outgoing call would for PAYG

    2, all 'premium rate' numbers must be *clearly* identifiable as such, and by premium rate I mean anything other than what would be included in a monthly plan. e.g. calls starting 0910 are 10p a min, 0920 are 20p a min up to 0998 for 98p a min (no 0999 for obvious reasons)

    3, anything starting 08 is free to call (from anywhere in the uk, from any device)

    4, 01 & 02 for landlines, other prefixes for other devices, e.g. fax machines and adsl lines with no phone as such attached.

    5, the 'cost' of my plan will obviously drop, or more probably my included minutes will double (at least) since the termination charge has now gone

    6, an end to 'the caller withheld their number', I either see the number of the phone calling me, *or* the number of the registered owner of that number, which they can route to a call centre, this number *must not* be premium rate

    the last one applies to everyone, international calls must be highlighted as such, even if there is no number to display.

    the point being you will charge me to answer the phone I will *always* know the number calling me.

    a 'value added' service I may be willing to pay for is for you (the telco) to send me the name of the person calling, or the company name alongside the caller id number, this I'd seriously pay a couple of squid a month for, as long as withheld numbers are barred.

    not objecting to the idea of paying for incoming calls, since *obviously* point 5 means the price to me hasn't really changed, unless I never dial out obviously in which case it has.

    this saves the telcos the trouble of playing with wooden money between themselves, and may actually improve service to customers, as a side benefit it may make phishing calls by phones much, much harder since you always see the incoming number, even without the name you can store the number your bank presents. no fool proof but better than now.

    *but* it would need a regulator with teeth to enforce it, and *no* opt outs of providing the caller id number for gov agencies or the police.. wtf do they need to hide the number for? programme the exchange to give out the front desk number ffs.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Xander

    Not quite £20, but I have word that on monday, Orange will start the new "Orange Infinity" plan. £95 a month, 2 year signin, Unlimited calls (to landlines and mobiles), unlimited texts, unlimited data, 500 minutes of IDD calls, and free handset insurance too.

    And yes, FUP.

  99. Kevin Kitts
    Stop

    This is crap...

    specifically, the same crap as capping internet usage. If you're going to bill me for the amount of data I send, or the time I spend online, then you *will* give me methods to filter out all data that I don't want to receive, otherwise it's a violation of my rights as a user. You can't force me to download advertisements I don't want if you're implementing a bandwidth cap, and you're sure as hell not going to charge me for incoming calls without a way to filter out all unwanted calls (by that, I mean a phone-book-like spam filter, not charging me for each blocked number on my account). Said filter will include the ability to block all numbers I wish to block, including single numbers, groups of numbers by area code, groups of numbers by business, and the final straw, to block all incoming calls unless I agree to receive the call - and then only after the phone company tells me the origin number, who it is, and where they are calling from (just like any collect phone call). And you will *not* charge me for the last option, as the call has *not* been connected yet.

    People need to stand up against this crap. They're taking away our bandwidth and giving it to businesses who want to waste our time (and make more money for themselves).

    If you don't believe me, answer this question: if your phone company charges you for incoming calls, and calls you on the phone to try to sell you services you don't have (or want), will they charge you for the connection fee? YES.

    I rest my case: phone companies (and ISPs), guilty as charged, for the crime of forcing us to pay more for less service - because they force us to download things we don't want, and then charge us more for doing so.

    End this now, before it gets any worse.

  100. michael

    re:Wait for it...

    when pay as you go was first out credit did expire but them 1 company made it unlimited and they all started I think it was organge I rember the advarts

  101. Robert Forsyth
    Stop

    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.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    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.

  104. Chris Glen-Smith
    Thumb Down

    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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