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Say No to 090!
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# 1
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 1:44 AM
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Default Say No to 090!

You've seen the No to 0870 campaign, well here is my own campaign against 090 numbers!

Let's get started with those Astrology Charts:

Just Dial 020 7054 followed by:

0006: Aries
0007: Taurus
0008: Gemini
0009: Cancer
0010: Leo
0011: Virgo
0012: Libra
0013: Scorpio
0014: Sagittarius
0015: Capricorn
0016: Aquarius
0017: Pisces


If you are into Ring Tones, try:

0060: Radio Times RING TONES
0061: Top of the Pops RING TONES
0062: HIP HOP RING TONES

There are plenty more services in the number range 020 7054 (0000-9999)! Just use your free telephone call provider to locate what your're looking for!
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# 2
andy88
Old 21-02-2005, 2:31 AM
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I'm saying no to those as well
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# 3
sergeant121
Old 21-02-2005, 9:49 AM
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Whilst I agree with the (MSE) sentiment Paul (I never dial 09 numbers), I don't entirely agree such a campaign is necessary.

09 numbers are specifically Premium Rate (albeit that a few are cheaper to call than many 0844, 0845, 0870 and 0871 numbers) and anyone dialling one should know that. Indeed, ICTIS regulations mean they should know how much the call costs before dialling.

The whole point of the SayNoTo0870 campaign is that the use of 0870 numbers (and some 0844, 0845 and 0871 numbers for that matter) has been hijacked and many are now simply 'Disguised Premium Rate' because of poor (well, non-existent actually) regulation by Oftel/Ofcom. As a result, some callers are being misled into dialling these numbers thinking they are no more costly than a geographical call and/or are being kept on the line unnecessarily long to maximise profits for the organisation concerned.
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# 4
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 10:11 AM
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sergeant121:

The heading 'Say No to 090 Campaign' was really just a way of catching your attention! I don't know if the numbers I have listed have an 090 link at all. Given that there is no message about premium rate call costs I am not sure if there is an 090 number that links to them.

I am really only highlighting the fact that 090 numbers (like 0870/0845) have geographical delivery numbers.

I agree that most people do not realise that 0870/0845 numbers are more expensive than geographical numbers. And many people do not realise that 090 numbers can be a lot more expensive (up to £1.50p/min).

I would advocate that OFTEL should require telephone service providers bar calls to premium rate numbers unless the customer specifically requests access to them. In Hull, if you want to bar access to these numbers, Kingston Communications (the only line provider in Hull) will actually charge you for the privilege!
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# 5
bunking_off
Old 21-02-2005, 1:40 PM
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....depends how naive the telecoms provider is.

Most/many telecoms company use non-diallable/network internal numbers as the translation number on 090, precisely to stop people calling them directly. Looks like Thus (the assignees of the range 020 7054) are very trusting.

Problem with barring 090 by default is that there's lots of legit stuff on there...Pop Idol, Strictly Come Dancing, Who wants to be a millionaire...with no 090, these couldn't survive. Actually, I've changed my mind, maybe 090 numbers should be barred!

That said, I can't agree that "many people do not realise that 090 numbers can be a lot more expensive". It's a legal obligation to state the (BT) call charge when any 090 number is published or advertised. If people are too dumb to take any notice of that - and I acknowledge issues with rogue diallers - then that really is their problem.
I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
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# 6
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 1:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunking_off
I can't agree that "many people do not realise that 090 numbers can be a lot more expensive". It's a legal obligation to state the (BT) call charge when any 090 number is published or advertised. If people are too dumb to take any notice of that - and I acknowledge issues with rogue diallers - then that really is their problem.
Yes, legitimate companies will display the costs, but just how much smaller can they make the announcements in newspaper adverts!
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# 7
sergeant121
Old 21-02-2005, 2:01 PM
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Varjak
And many people do not realise that 090 numbers can be a lot more expensive (up to £1.50p/min).
Up to £5.92 per minute you mean!
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# 8
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 2:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sergeant121
Up to £5.92 per minute you mean!
Good Gracious Me!
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# 9
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 2:08 PM
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I was talking about 090 numbers!
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# 10
sergeant121
Old 21-02-2005, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Varjak
I was talking about 090 numbers!
I just lump anything starting 09 as 'verboten' so that includes 091 and 099 numbers too.

As a point of interest, 09997 cost £5.92/minute but 099991 and 099992 numbers, although still in the Premium Rate range, are FREE!
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# 11
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 2:30 PM
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Sergeant121:

That is why this number are just so confusing. Some telephone service providers make many mistakes in their charging tables. If they cannot get it right - what hope the poor consumer!
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# 12
Paul Varjak
Old 21-02-2005, 2:32 PM
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Sergeant121:

And when the cost of the call is determined by the sixth digit, I would defy even the world memory champion to get it right!
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# 13
Steve_xx
Old 21-02-2005, 3:01 PM
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Network service providers ought to be obliged to provide PIN numbers to all of their customers for the purposes of lifting a preset bar on all 00 (International) and 09 (Premium rated) numbers, on a call by call basis, if the custmers so wishes. Customers should not have to pay for this. This would put an end to 'rogue dialling' more or less at a stroke.

Network service providers won't be keen to do this. I wonder why that would be?
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# 14
bunking_off
Old 22-02-2005, 12:39 PM
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Steve_xx
Pretty simple why you don't have PIN access really....as an originating telecoms provider, to install such technology would cost £Millions. However, my take on an 090 number is <1ppm....we may collect 50ppm, but that all gets passed on to the terminating provider and ultimately the service provider. By all means get the service provider to pay for it, but don't blame the telco.

As I'm not BT, I can make a business decision whether to enable or disable access to 090 etc as a whole. As it happens, for many international destinations subject to rogue autodialler fraud, we do bar access as our judgement is that more customers are being inconvenienced via being defrauded than benefit from having the numbers available. However, it's a cat & mouse exercise because as soon as we bar access to one destination, the fraudsters just move elsewhere. Really, I would hold the writers of the computer operating systems responsible for building such insecure systems in the first place.

BT do not have the flexibility we do, and I sympathise with them. They have a regulatory mandate to provide access to all UK numbers, unless specifically told not to by ICSTIS/Ofcom. They *have* tried to over-ride this by barring numbers that they think are being used fraudulently on their own initiative, but have come a cropper when they've got it wrong - see http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/22/bt_court_case/

Paul V
Understand your issues around confusing tariffing, but things are a LOT better now than a few years ago : at least the 2000 number changes managed to coral things so that 01-02 is geographic, 07 mobile/paging, 08 up to 10ppm and 09 anything above (with exceptions) - before that it really was a lottery. Nevertheless, you're right that there's some bizarre things lurking in some providers' tariff tables....I notice 0899 is listed in BT's, and that's a network internal code that should never actually be diallable by end users...
I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
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# 15
Steve_xx
Old 22-02-2005, 3:02 PM
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Thanks for your response and I understand your points, though I don't necessarily agree with all of them.

BT offer a call barring service, chargeable at £1.75 per month. So your point that it would cost millions for BT to install kit does not hold since there is already the facility available via BT. I feel that customers should be provided, free of charge, with the facility to lift bars on a call by call basis should they so wish.

I understand fully the revenue sharing arrangments and that the service provider gets roughy half of the spoils. I believe that on the whole telcos don't really want to put a stop to this because as well as being extremely lucrative for the service provider, it is also lucrative for the telco.

I know very well that BT and other service providers cannot do as they wish. However, I feel certain that due to the amount of complaint that there is, that Ofcom will have to act and I believe that they ought to.

The National Numbering Scheme is a complex issue for those who have no concept of it and it is wrong that people are being absolutely conned into dialling telephone numbers (rogue dialling) that they have no idea they are dialling and they have no idea that they have dialled them until they are billed.
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# 16
bunking_off
Old 22-02-2005, 4:44 PM
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BT may well offer a (chargeable) facility to bar calls - I'm not sure if it offers a call by call over-ride by entering a PIN, but I'm sure someone will post one way or the other.

Regardless of that, I can categorically state that such a facility with PIN over-ride isn't available on my switches (which are of the same variety as BT's) without 6 figure investment. Applying call barring so that a customer has e.g. access to 090 barred without the ability to over-ride via PIN is far more do-able, but it involves manual configuration so we have to charge. It shouldn't, and an automated IT system would be better, so we're developing that : but we have to recover our costs somehow - go past BT and you'll find very few telcos in the UK that make any money (handkerchiefs out, please).

I understand your perception that the telcos clean up on this type of call, but the fact of the matter is that the retention by the originating provider is not particularly high (approx 0.5ppm daytime, less at other times)...no-one will get rich on that, and no-one will justify spending millions on the back of it either : hence barring becomes a chargeable item. The terminating provider does make more money, obviously - though it's a cut-throat market and I think your assessment that the service provider gets only half of the revenue is wildly inaccurate (it used to be like that years ago, but hasn't been for a v.long time).

I wouldn't argue for a moment with your assertion that it is wrong that people are conned into dialling numbers when they have no idea they're making the call. The problem is that ICSTISs scrutiny on this domestically has done a very good job, and the fraudsters have fled to use numbers which are less well regulated, e.g. south pacific islands.
I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
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# 17
Steve_xx
Old 22-02-2005, 7:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunking_off
BT may well offer a (chargeable) facility to bar calls - I'm not sure if it offers a call by call over-ride by entering a PIN, but I'm sure someone will post one way or the other.

Regardless of that, I can categorically state that such a facility with PIN over-ride isn't available on my switches (which are of the same variety as BT's) without 6 figure investment. Applying call barring so that a customer has e.g. access to 090 barred without the ability to over-ride via PIN is far more do-able, but it involves manual configuration so we have to charge. It shouldn't, and an automated IT system would be better, so we're developing that : but we have to recover our costs somehow - go past BT and you'll find very few telcos in the UK that make any money (handkerchiefs out, please).

I understand your perception that the telcos clean up on this type of call, but the fact of the matter is that the retention by the originating provider is not particularly high (approx 0.5ppm daytime, less at other times)...no-one will get rich on that, and no-one will justify spending millions on the back of it either : hence barring becomes a chargeable item. The terminating provider does make more money, obviously - though it's a cut-throat market and I think your assessment that the service provider gets only half of the revenue is wildly inaccurate (it used to be like that years ago, but hasn't been for a v.long time).

I wouldn't argue for a moment with your assertion that it is wrong that people are conned into dialling numbers when they have no idea they're making the call. The problem is that ICSTISs scrutiny on this domestically has done a very good job, and the fraudsters have fled to use numbers which are less well regulated, e.g. south pacific islands.
BT do operate a free call barring service for the 09 stream.You can have additional barring for £1.75 per month which will enable you to bar other types of numbers, ie international is one type. What I'm saying is that BT should offer it free. If they can offer free barring to the 09 stream then why not to other streams?

I accept your comment that beside BT that there are very few UK telcos who are making any great profit, but many are still in business and so presumably it is worthwhile for them to be so. It is, like may other industries, both a difficult and dynamic market.

I know that over the last few years there has been relentless depression of both national and international call tariffs and that telcos have looked hard at how and where to recover their falling margins. However, this argument is not entirely wholesome. BT and other telcos have cleverly ceased on the opportunity to to add an additonal layer of tariffing for international calls. I am of course referring to the the fact that a call made to an internationally registered mobile phone usually costs many times more per minute than the fixed line equivalent. BT started the ball rolling with this one by selecting just eleven countries to tariff differently from the standard landline rate. Today almost every country has a separate tariff for calling a mobile registered in it. I know that BT will cite the terminating party in the foreign domain as the bad guy by saying that they charge it such and such an amount to terminate the call on their network. However, this type of accounting between countries and networks has existed since time immemorial. BT has obviously not secured such a good deal in terminating charges for mobiles. Or could it be that retaining these higher termination charges means that BT get a bigger slice of revenue per call? I mean, we shouldn't foget that BT will have to charge termination fees for inbound foreign calls from both landline and mobiles registered abroad. It must be the case that they can use this as a bargaining tool to obtain lower termination charges for calls made from UK to overseas. Or maybe they don't actually want to because actually what has been entered into is a rather cosy cartel arrangement. The same point can be applied to domestic type calls. The plethora of 087 numbers in use means that BT can generate a hefty share of a 10p per minute call rate which they have to terminate on a geographical number. Yet 18866.com can offer a consumer an untimed call to a UK 01 or 02 number for just 1p. Bear in mind that BT will more than likely have to deliver this call, yet 18866.com must be making money from this, mustn't they?

I don't have any problem with BT or any other telco making money. I can well remember the days when BT was joined with the Post Office and the pair of them regularly turned in losses which meant that as nationalised industries they were bailed out and kept running by the taxpayer. The current status of BT is far preferable to that. At least now they contribute to the exchequer coffers, rather than draw from it, and that helps keep taxation lower than it might be. Long may that continue.
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# 18
andy88
Old 23-02-2005, 1:54 AM
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Here are two sides of BT's position; the lawyers are in

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02...ogue_diallers/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/22/bt_court_case/
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# 19
bunking_off
Old 23-02-2005, 3:06 PM
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Steve_xx
We're way off the original topic, but here goes...

I subscribe to 18866. However, to accuse anyone of over-charging because their tariffs are higher than 18866 is unfair. A lesson on the economics of 18866 : when you make a call to a geo number using 18866, BT charge 18866 to originate the call, and assuming the call is to a BT number one a charge is made to terminate the call as well. 18866 absorbs these costs into their call charges. Given that this inter-operator cost is typically between 0.3-0.7ppm (*) for EACH of origination & termination, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the profitability of a service that charges 1p per CALL. Still, if 18866 wishes to act as a charity, I'm quite happy to give them my business.

(*) depends upon the specifics of the connectivity, time of day and so on

On international calls, operators used to offer blended rates...this applied on the accounting at the international side, and was passed through to retail rates. So, e.g. France Telecom would charge UK operators a certain amount to terminate calls in France, knowing that it would cost them less to send calls to fixed lines, and more to send calls to mobiles.

Three things happened to disrupt this:

1) Competition at the national level meant that operators such as France Telecom were no longer a monopoly, hence these costs differences turned from being internal accounting issues to real money, as on specific calls they'd either make a large profit (landline destination) or have to pay more money out to e.g. Bouyges Mobile than they were receiving. Overall, though, the blended rate they charged the likes of BT covered their costs.

2) More people got mobiles, meaning that if there was a blended rate, it would have to trend up (it is a weighted average of two rates, and the weighting changes so more calls are going to the expensive destination).

3) Competition at the international level meant that while France Telecom were offering to terminate all calls at, say, 10c/min, a new entrant would offer to terminate solely calls to landlines at 8c/min, and solely to mobiles at 20c/min. If they were sensible, BT would then send all their French landline traffic to the new entrant (8c < 10c), but leave their mobile traffic on France Telecom (10c < 20c). As FT would then very quickly be making a loss, they'd abandon the blended rate.

...therefore, as blended rates were no longer typical for international accounting, these arrangements were passed onto the retail tariffs. Before this happened, I can recall some "interesting" call routings - because overseas telcos typically offered a single retail tariff for calls to UK (regardless of mobile or landline destination), and mobile termination rates are high in the UK, it wasn't unusual for calls from UK landlines to UK mobiles to be looped via e.g. the USA to pick up the lower rate.

As to BT using their dominance in UK landlines to influence termination rates overseas, I don't think this reflects the market dynamics. Although BT may have the vast majority of UK lines, >70% of inbound traffic to the UK does not use BT international capacity, hence the far end carrier has no direct interaction with BT : they pass the traffic to a competing operator, who then terminates the call domestically - BT's involvement in this inbound traffic is commonly only from the local exchange to the customer.

Don't misconstrue this as me being any kind of advocate for BT's rates...anyone who makes any kind of volumes of international calls and uses BT is a mug. Which perhaps explains why BT's share of the international market has dwindled.
I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
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# 20
Steve_xx
Old 23-02-2005, 4:05 PM
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Thanks for your reply. Yes, we have run off-topic here in a big way!

However, it is interesting to have your views, as you are directly involved in the industry. I'm not accusing anyone of over-charging and I can see that 18866 may be using their 1p untimed tariff for UK terminated calls as a 'loss-leader'. I was just posing the question "how do they do it"? It is fairly common amongst carriers to pitch some routes particularly low in the hope that a customer will put all of their call traffic to the one carrier, thereby allowing the carrier to recoup some loss. This is specially so with commercial customers who cannot easily reprogram their PBX's to route calls via multiple carriers, dependant on cost, time of day, day of week etc. The trick of course is to have enough knowledge to be able to cherry pick, but in reality few have this type of knowledge, and even fewer commercial customers have enough savvy to be able to reprogram their switches in accordance with frequent changes in the market place.
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