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Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Range (Read 44,382 times)
NGMsGhost
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Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Range
Feb 13th, 2007 at 12:55pm
 
www.ofcom.org.uk/media/news/2007/02/nr_20070213b

03 numbers are being introduced as an alternative to chargeable 08 numbers like 0870. Calls to 03 numbers will cost the same as calls to geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02), and be included as part of any inclusive call minutes or discount schemes in the same way as geographic calls.

Revenue sharing – where the dialled party can receive a share of what the consumer pays to make a call – will not be permitted on calls to 03 numbers.

Ofcom intends these requirements to apply to calls from all types of line, including mobiles and payphones, and is seeking to confirm this by a change to General Condition 17, on which there will now be a short consultation.

Organisations using 03 numbers will offer consumers a single national point of contact without involving additional charges for the service, over and above the cost of calls to geographic numbers.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards said: “Consumers will be able to dial 03 numbers with confidence about the cost of their call. We expect public services and many others to view 03 numbers as a real alternative to higher cost 08 numbers.”

Ofcom will start allocating 03 numbers to communication providers during March 2007 and today sets out how these numbers will be made available to promote early adoption of 03. For example:

    * Numbers starting 030 will be designated for use only by public bodies and not-for-profit services;
    * Some 03 numbers are reserved so that service providers on existing 08 numbers can transfer to 03 by simply changing the '8' digit in the number to a '3';
    * Memorable numbers such as those starting with '0300' and '0333' will be made available. Ofcom will manage the allocation process for such numbers to ensure that they are distributed fairly between the communications providers who apply.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:26pm by NGMsGhost »  

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NGMsGhost
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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #1 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 1:06pm
 
So now Ed Richards describes all 08 numbers as being "higher rate" and to be avoided.

So while it is good to finally have such a statement from the CEO of Ofcom that 084/7 numbers are to be avoided by consumers how does he explain the fact that the 08 code also contains 0800 and 0800 numbers which are free of charge and that 0870 numbers will be converted to costing only the geographic rate like the 03 range but 0845 numbers will still be charged at a higher hidden premium rate even though they are stil marketed by many as local rate.  And what about 0871 numbers which are now to be ICSTIS controlled but sound just like 0870 numbers which will now be charged at geographic call prices.

Congratulations Ofcom for allowing the Police, Inland Revenue and many others to go on using 0845 by default due to the contractual agreements they have become locked into and for forcing all these organisations to get a new number if they want to do the right thing.

The National Telephone Number Plan on the 08 range is now completely bankrupt and utterly incomprehensible thanks to the total and utter ineptitude of OfCoN  Also 03 numbers will not be effective due to companies having to make the effort to change over to them.  03 would only have worked if all revenue sharing numbers on 03 had been made illegal and withdrawn from service and the companies concerned made to get 03 numbers instead.
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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #2 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 1:49pm
 
There is now another consultation which was published today: Raising Confidence in Telephone Numbers

The deadline is 14 March, so that's 1 month!  Shocked

Mind you the full length PDF is below 100 pages.
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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #3 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:01pm
 
Dave wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 1:49pm:
Mind you the full length PDF is below 100 pages.


Unfortunately Ofcom seems to believe that lengthiness usually equates to thoroughness, whereas all it actually does is to make responding to their consultations inaccessible to the ordinary citizen consumer and only possible for bodies will full time paid members of staff to trawl through these impenetrable and excessively wordy documents.

I suggest that everyone here responds using it as an opportunity to make the point that it is not acceptable for companies using 0845 numbers to be forced to change them over to a new 03 number and that Ofcom must act to make 0845 calls charged at geographic rates on 1st Feb 2008 in the same way as 0870.  Also Ofcom must not allow any new 0845 or 0870 numbers to be issued so that in time everything will head towards 03.

We also need to comment that it is not acceptable for 0844 numbers to not be subjected to any rules on price disclosure and that these numbers must be brought under the same ICSTIS control regime as 0871, even if it is a somewhat lighter touch control ICSTIS regime than hitherto.  There is still time to force the inclusion of 0844 numbers as ICSTIS has not even publised its proposals on 0871, yet which suggests a lot of internal arguments going on between ICSTIS, Ofcom and the NTS call centre industry.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:03pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #4 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:05pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 1:06pm:
So now Ed Richards describes all 08 numbers as being "higher rate" and to be avoided [...] how does he explain the fact that the 08 code also contains 0800 and 0800 numbers are free of charge [snip]

(I did a few deep cuts there!) Sadly enough peeps are paying premium rates to 0800 so it's worth ditching that too. The whole 08/09 space could do with clearning out and bringing in rules so that calls labelled "freephone" don't cost more than geographical. It's a true mess. Even dear old BT is no longer obliged to offer 0800 free to caller.

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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #5 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:09pm
 
=CM= wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:05pm:
(I did a few deep cuts there!) Sadly enough peeps are paying premium rates to 0800 so it's worth ditching that too. The whole 08/09 space could do with clearning out and bringing in rules so that calls labelled "freephone" don't cost more than geographical. It's a true mess. Even dear old BT is no longer obliged to offer 0800 free to caller.


Ah yes a very good point.

Any responses to the Ofcom consultation must demand that 0800 numbers also cannot be charged at above geograpic 01, 02 rates for calls from mobiles.  Otherwise we will be left with crazy situation of 0800 numbers costing far more from a mobile than geographically priced 03 prefixed calls.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:09pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #6 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:11pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:01pm:
We also need to comment that it is not acceptable for 0844 numbers to not be subjected to any rules on price disclosure ...

Interestingly, the summary says:
Quote:
1.6 We are also making changes to increase consumer protection from abuses on some existing 070 personal numbering services. For these numbers - which are often confused with mobile numbers - we are making it a requirement that customers get a free announcement about the cost of a call before the call begins, in any case where a call will cost more than 20p (per minute or per call).

So if it's possible to have a free announcement on price, why not have this for all numbers above 20p, or even better, all numbers above geographical. The latter could be an optional facility. But I thought that they ruled this out because telcos said it would be too expensive. Too expensive in lost revenue maybe from people who don't want to go through with the call when they find out how much it costs and another few seconds to many calls which will take up network capacity without generating revenue.

I am also pleased to see that they won't be making any significant changes to geographical numbers. The last consultation on Telephone Numbering proposed several solutions including giving some areas a second area code and having wide area codes, like 028 in Northern Ireland.
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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #7 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:23pm
 
Dave wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:11pm:
Too expensive in lost revenue maybe from people who don't want to go through with the call when they find out how much it costs and another few seconds to many calls which will take up network capacity without generating revenue.


Yes precisely.  The fact that more people will learn they are being ripped off over 084/7 calls was obviously the only respect in which the cost of it was too expensive for the telecoms companies.  The fact that a low margin company like www.18185.co.uk can already provide this service surely tells us that there is no cost in actually providing the free call price announcement.

I would have the announcement of the price per minute and for connection compulsorily turned on for all lines unless people decided to turn it off for any reason (i.e they would have to opt out).

I suspect Ed Richards realises that Stephen Carter run Ofcom made a huge mistake on this issue so I wonder if there is any we can persuade Ofcom to force 0845 numbers to be changed to geographic pricing on 1st Feb 2008.  There is still time for this in my opinion.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:24pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #8 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:43pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:23pm:
I suspect Ed Richards realises that Stephen Carter run Ofcom made a huge mistake on this issue so I wonder if there is any we can persuade Ofcom to force 0845 numbers to be changed to geographic pricing on 1st Feb 2008.  There is still time for this in my opinion.

I agree, although having 0870 (and possibly 0845) charged at 01/02 rates mixed in with 0844/0871 is completely confusing. Either all 084/087 revenue sharing should be moved to 09 (or failing that, another clear prefix), or 084/087 should be left as is. Although in no way ideal, the latter would at least mean that revenue sharing and non-revenue sharing wouldn't be mixed. Clear pricing information should be introduced.
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Re: Ofcom Announces Details on New 03 Number Range
Reply #9 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 3:30pm
 
Dave wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 2:43pm:
I agree, although having 0870 (and possibly 0845) charged at 01/02 rates mixed in with 0844/0871 is completely confusing. Either all 084/087 revenue sharing should be moved to 09 (or failing that, another clear prefix), or 084/087 should be left as is. Although in no way ideal, the latter would at least mean that revenue sharing and non-revenue sharing wouldn't be mixed. Clear pricing information should be introduced.


Pragmatically I believe the most practically acceptable and yet also ethically sound solution would be as follows:-

1. No new 084 or 087 numbers issued after 1st Feb 2008

2. All 0845 and 0870 move to geographic rate on 1st Feb 2008.  One year transition period after which their number must be changed to one in the 03 number range allowing time for adequate publicity and new leaflet printing.

3. 0844 and 0871 placed under ICSTIS control on 1st Feb 2008.  One year transition period after which their number must be changed to 09 and full ICSTIS rules applied.  Call queues should be limited to no more than 3 minutes on 09 numbers costing under 15p per minute.  Call queues should be limited to no more than 15 seconds on 09 numbers costing 15p per minute or above.

Therefore after 1st Feb 2009 all numbers charged at geographic rates would be on 01, 02 or 03.  All numbers charged at premium rate on 09 and all Freephone numbers on 08.  Simple and comprehensible and stopping all scamming.

Also mobile phones should be forced to connect numbers to agreed legitimate 0800 numbers from government information services, breakdown services etc free of charge.  Other 0800 numbers should be able to be charged at the current over minutes charge for bundled minutes packages but the standard geographic 01/02 charge on Pay As You Go mobiles.  If an 0800 number wants people to call it for free they must sign a declaration they are not a call routing service and be liable for the loss of revenue to mobile companies if they are proven to be such a service subsequently.  This would allow 0800 to be free of charge on a mobile for legitimate 0800 uses.  There are underlying business reasons why expecting mobile customers to be able to route all their calls via other call routing services using an 0800 number is not realistic.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:50pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Ran
Reply #10 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 3:55pm
 
I agree with NGM's comments in latest post.  Is there any realistic hope that OFCOM will listen to him at last?   Until I discovered this site, I used to wonder why my breakdown co had a geo no for mobiles.   Also, if all nos charged at above geo rates moved to 09 as suggested, I could legitimately argue that they were barred from my phone.    As many people, particularly with families, have call barring, this might concentrate the minds of those using premium rate as it would mean swathes of people could not be their customers (I know this would be a problem in terms of after sales service but I thik people would be aware of this by then before they bought)!
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Re: Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Ran
Reply #11 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:24pm
 
Barbara,

I'm glad to hear you agree with my suggestions, although I fear that telco friendly Ofcom will of course not do this because although what I have suggested is logical it is not profitable for their telco chums.

Taking the 09 calls access issue I certainly take the view that these calls should be barred by default on every single phone line and require a PIN number to access them each time.  And then in multi person housholds there could be a PIN number for each person that would identify that caller on the phone bill.  I t would be up the line subscriber to decide if they wanted to have more PIN numbers issued giving 09 access to other household members.  The current situation where anyone in the house can call numbers costing up to £1.50 per minute is like a form of blank cheque with no control by the account holder.

Unfortunately I fear this will not happen as Ofcom know that in the long run all phone calls will be made by voip using a computer like devices.  However one upside of voip telephony is that as all regular calls will be covered in your monthly broadband subscription every voip call that does not should require to make a separate payment for it by credit card or PayPal etc.  However I have fear that the forces of commercial banditry may still allow voip connections to exist which do involve a payment to the end user but where the fee for that call does not have to be paid separately each time but is simply added on to the monthly bill to your ISP.  So once again a hidden charge although what the excuse would be for not having technology to clearly agree to the extra charge each time beforehand i cannot begin to imagine.
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« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:31pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Ran
Reply #12 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:26pm
 
I agree with NGM Ghost as well, although I'm not happy with 0844 and 0871 numbers staying for a year as I believe the general public will believe the 0844 is 'local rate' and the 0871 is 'national rate' (Whatever local and national rate are or are not!!!!!!). However it may be the best compromise.
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Re: Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Ran
Reply #13 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:34pm
 
Keith wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:26pm:
I agree with NGM Ghost as well, although I'm not happy with 0844 and 0871 numbers staying for a year as I believe the general public will believe the 0844 is 'local rate' and the 0871 is 'national rate' (Whatever local and national rate are or are not!!!!!!). However it may be the best compromise.


Well if we had  my way I would have just banned all 084/7 numbers on 2 months notice about 8 years ago  before they ever became a problem but I was trying to propose something that Ofcom with its, "we must not intervene or regulate in a manner that is disproprotionate to business profitability" would go for.
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Re: Ofcom Info & Consultation on New 03 Number Ran
Reply #14 - Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:43pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 4:34pm:
Well if we had  my way I would have just banned all 084/7 numbers on 2 months notice about 8 years ago ...

Well you may be suited to Ofcom's Director of Telephone Numbering judging by your above response which has a numbered list with two number 1s! lol  Grin

NGMsGhost wrote on Feb 13th, 2007 at 3:30pm:
Pragmatically I believe the most practically acceptable and yet also ethically sound solution would be as follows:-

1. No new 084 or 087 numbers issued after 1st Feb 2008

1. All 0845 and 0870 move to geographic rate on 1st Feb 2008.

[...]

2. 0844 and 0871 placed under ICSTIS control on 1st Feb 2008. ...
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