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Ofcom and banning revenue sharing (Read 7,889 times)
Dave
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Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Mar 4th, 2005 at 3:33pm
 
At present, the system works something like the following:

The caller makes a call using their telco (known as 'originating communications provider' or OCP). The call is passed to the telco providing the 0870/0845 NGN (known as the 'terminating communications provider' or TCP). The TCP then connects to the company/organisation being called (known as the 'service provider' or SP).

The OCP retains a small fee to carry the call and passes the rest onto the TCP. In some cases, especially with 0870/1, the TCP shares some of these call costs to the SP. Thus, the caller is effectively paying the TCP for providing the service to the SP.

If Ofcom ban revenue sharing, what will happen?

Will it just ban SPs from receiving revenue from TCPs? The TCPs may just provide different/extra services instead of paying SPs money and/or make even more profit than they do now. The TCPs (and ultimately SPs' phone systems) will still be subsidised by the caller, so the problem won't really have gone away.

Or will it stop payments from the OCP to TCP?

Banning revenue sharing (between the TCP and SP) on its own has no benefit apart from give SPs less incentive to keep callers hanging on. The only way to sort it all out is to align the rates of NGNs with normal geographical rates on all packages. Doing this would stamp revenue sharing out anyway, as SPs would have to pay TCPs for the service they receive.

The problem we have is explaining the issues involved to the ordinary consumer. Telling them that all those companies on 0870 are being paid at their expense is simple and gets straight to the point. Banning revenue payments to the SP will just make it even more difficult to explain the above issues to Joe Public. Maybe Ofcom thinks that consumers' concerns are simply revenue sharing with SPs and that consumers think that removing this will reduce call rates to these numbers.

It seems that Ofcom's text-book answer is that providers other than BT use their "commercial discretion" with regards what they charge for these numbers. What nonsense! If they don't force providers to align these NGNs with geographical rates then the rip-off will continue. To charge more than a normal call for a number is premium rate. The premium is being paid to the TCP!
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dorf
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Re: Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Reply #1 - Mar 4th, 2005 at 8:55pm
 
You are right Dave, and of course calls to NGNs would then still not be included in Monthly inclusive packages and the whole rip-off would effectively continue.

In fact the sly-boys would probably find some way of circumventing the ban, as they have done with 07 revenue sharing on PNS calls!

The only answer is that calls to NGNs have to be at the same rate as GNs to prevent any possiblities of abuses continuing and revenue sharing has to be banned totally (i.e. not only to terminating subscribers notionally)!
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Ofcom are completely ineffectual
 
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andy9
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Re: Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Reply #2 - Mar 4th, 2005 at 9:29pm
 
I don't agree that absolutely all revenue-splitting numbers should be banned. The ones that companies use for extra income as a reward for understaffing their call-centres should be the first out of the door with NEG and those doctors.

But there are some good uses. Call-through access numbers for cheaper phone calls from other companies should continue. Even people with 18866 and 1899 can find some foreign countries cheaper and more of them available. So you shouldn't chuck out 0871 and 0844 completely when 0870 and 0845 get clobbered.  At the moment it is possible to call over 150 countries and 100 countries' mobiles from the inclusive minutes on a mobile phone. It would be sad to see that go, even if it probably already is in a grey area.
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pelham9
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Re: Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Reply #3 - Mar 4th, 2005 at 10:36pm
 
ou are so right Dave.

That is why nearly every customer repondent to the to the Ofcom consultation said that 0870 and 0845 should be treated  as geographical numbers. But unless revenue sharing is banned throughout the 08xx range as well that too will be easily circumvented.

Even BT in their 2a reply said the same but then suggested that the scam could continue using 0844 and O871  numbers.  I personally think that this is what Ofcom will do thus leaving the Telcos and the commercial exploiters in status quo with minimal inconvenience.

In the GP surgery controversy though the DOH has banned 0870 numbers they have been persuaded by LED and GP leaders to keep LED's position intact by allowing 0844/0845 numbers. The DOH is even compensating the Doctors for their loss of revenue. This is the kind of manoevring I would expect - I am a medical doctor.

My own view is that the 08xx range of numbers except 0800 should be banned entirely. If the exploiters want to continue they should use the 09xx range and  Ofcom must make sure that this scandal does not happen again.
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Tanllan
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Re: Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Reply #4 - Mar 5th, 2005 at 8:38am
 
Of course one option would be to return to the idea (original arrangement?) of 087 and 084 being included in BT Together, mobile minutes and so on and requirements for income (revenue share) to be moved to 09X.

And then for the UK PRS default to be that of opted out, so avoiding many of the scams and abuses. But with the ability to opt in to, in stages for example, single drop 090 for TV voting and ISP low cost requirements.

Sadly this would halt many of the scams and abuses and so has always been regarded with a shudder by the industry.
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Dave
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Re: Ofcom and banning revenue sharing
Reply #5 - Mar 5th, 2005 at 3:14pm
 
If revenue sharing was banned, but the TCPs were allowed to keep their share, they may provide cheaper freephone numbers in return for acheiving certain call volumes. This appears to be the case with the BBC. It gives NGN providers more room to make even more dirty profits.

Quote:
The only answer is that calls to NGNs have to be at the same rate as GNs...

Ofcom have their "commercial discretion" blinkers on. They can only say what BT charge. Thus, I cannot see that they will set this directly. The only way would be to stop TCPs receiving any payments, that way BT will be able to align the rates of these numbers with geographical numbers and other providers will have to follow suit.
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« Last Edit: Mar 5th, 2005 at 3:24pm by Dave »  
 
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