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Results: Should MSE support the terminate the rate campaign

Yes

45.68% • 74 votes

No

38.89% • 63 votes

Wait and see how it develops

15.43% • 25 votes

You may not vote on this poll

162 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 24th Jul 09, 11:29 AM
    • 8,116Posts
    • 42,310Thanks
    MSE Martin
    Should MSE Support the Terminatetherate campaign
    • #1
    • 24th Jul 09, 11:29 AM
    Should MSE Support the Terminatetherate campaign 24th Jul 09 at 11:29 AM
    A campaign has been set up by mobile phone company three, to argue for the abolition of mobile termination rates. This is where the network of the person you're calling charges up to 5p a minute to your mobile phone company for putting the call through.



    I'm in two minds as to whether I should put MSE and I should officially support this campaign, so I thought I would canvass opinions here.

    Please vote in the poll AFTER you've read the pros and cons - as well as other people's opinions that I'm sure will be posted below

    Pros

    This is a divisive extra charge, that is one big reason calling mobiles are so expensive. If it were to be ended it would be likely to make calling mobile phones much cheaper.

    It would also mean we could see the "unlimited call plans" we currently see the calling home phones to also be available from calling mobiles.

    The campaign is attracting growing support including some trade unions in the campaign for plain English

    Cons

    It's unlikely you will notice that this campaign has been organised and run by the mobile phone network three. It is likely it has a vested interest in the succeeding and will gain competitive advantage from it.

    When you sign up to the petition, it is three who technically (according to data protection laws) your data is going to. I am slightly concerned this isn't clear enough.

    It's also worth noting that ending mobile termination rate isn't without risks. There is a chance some mobile phone companies at a no longer making revenue when someone calls you will start charging when you receive calls (in much the way they currently do when we go abroad), though I would hope a competitive marketplace would stop this.

    Even so this would be a seismic change the mobile pricing and it is likely the network could try and recoup the money somehow with an other form of pricing alteration.

    Please vote in the poll

    Martin

    PS sorry this is slightly wordy due to my RSI I'm writing with speech dictation

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    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 28-07-2009 at 6:09 PM.
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Page 1
    • Really2
    • By Really2 24th Jul 09, 11:44 AM
    • 11,892 Posts
    • 21,291 Thanks
    Really2
    • #2
    • 24th Jul 09, 11:44 AM
    • #2
    • 24th Jul 09, 11:44 AM
    I think 3 have done a good job bringing costs down anyway. OK their customer service is pants but the coverage and pricing is the best on the market.

    Its a yes from me.
    • michaels
    • By michaels 24th Jul 09, 11:53 AM
    • 22,831 Posts
    • 104,557 Thanks
    michaels
    • #3
    • 24th Jul 09, 11:53 AM
    • #3
    • 24th Jul 09, 11:53 AM
    Interesting this is coming from 3 who are allowed the highest termination charges by offcom (as a new entrant) - indeed they had a PAYG product where you could 'earn' account credit by receiving calls, presumably based on the termination fess they were receiving exceeding their costs.


    I think these fees should be allowed as it is not costless for a mobile operator to maintain a network but they should be priced by ofcom much closer to the cost to the network operators - something similar was done for BT in that other operators were given access to BT subscribers at sensible cost to BT.

    If network operators were prevented from making any return on their investment what incentive would they have to build new infrastrucutre to improve coverage and offer additional services?

    Final point on 3 organising the survey - if it was 'independent' why didn't they put it on the no 10 website so that there were none of the data protection issues?
    Cool heads and compromise
  • tomterm8
    • #4
    • 24th Jul 09, 12:00 PM
    • #4
    • 24th Jul 09, 12:00 PM
    I voted no. The reason for that is that I don't really agree with asking money savers to give their personal details etc to a commercial third party such as three. I wouldn't disagree with supporting a petition on number 10's website, personally.
    • Conrad
    • By Conrad 24th Jul 09, 12:13 PM
    • 31,494 Posts
    • 55,821 Thanks
    Conrad
    • #5
    • 24th Jul 09, 12:13 PM
    • #5
    • 24th Jul 09, 12:13 PM
    Most of these campaigns are neave and simply transpose charges / cost to other parts of the bill / aquisition cost. My own bill is always less than 20 per month - and I want mobile phone employees to earn a fair wage.

    In our zeal to drive costs down we must all be prepared to reduce our incomes and thus pass on 'our' costs at a lower level.
  • meher
    • #6
    • 24th Jul 09, 2:15 PM
    • #6
    • 24th Jul 09, 2:15 PM
    for:

    it is consistent with being mse, so an mse thing to do is to support

    against:

    using mobile is not good for health apparently although none conclusive, may be some such charges keep us in check

    I've said no cos it's consistent of me to say no to everything
    • rash.m2k
    • By rash.m2k 24th Jul 09, 2:30 PM
    • 944 Posts
    • 257 Thanks
    rash.m2k
    • #7
    • 24th Jul 09, 2:30 PM
    • #7
    • 24th Jul 09, 2:30 PM
    If this gives three a competitive advantage I vote NO! Three have the worst CS out of the LOT!

    And this means they will bring their crap standards to everyone else. I'd rather pay a little extra and have better CS from the likes of Vodafone, O2 and CPW. (If you've had problems with these - they pale in comparison to 3 - but sure enough there will be exceptions).
    • Snooze
    • By Snooze 25th Jul 09, 6:19 AM
    • 1,946 Posts
    • 3,437 Thanks
    Snooze
    • #8
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:19 AM
    • #8
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:19 AM
    It's a waste of time. If you succeed they'll only move the 'cost' onto something else. If you seriously think that the operators will allow themselves to be out of pocket then you're deluded.

    R
    • fiish
    • By fiish 25th Jul 09, 6:26 AM
    • 728 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    fiish
    • #9
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:26 AM
    • #9
    • 25th Jul 09, 6:26 AM
    I do support some regulation of the termination rates, but not as the campaign would want them. Where the rates are a barrier to smaller operators like Three to do business, I agree that they should be lowered. However telcos do face a certain cost to carry the call and if the regulated rate is pushed too low it is we the consumers who ultimately suffer - margins in the UK market are tight enough already.

    So, no.
    Debt free and watching my savings shrink!
  • Inactive
    Interesting this is coming from 3 who are allowed the highest termination charges by offcom (as a new entrant) - indeed they had a PAYG product where you could 'earn' account credit by receiving calls, presumably based on the termination fess they were receiving exceeding their costs.
    Originally posted by michaels
    Indeed, I agree, they have an unfair advantage already, as well as dire coverage.

    It is time all networks were made to give an accurate geographical coverage map to all potential customers.

    Ofcom(edy ) is pants.
    • redux
    • By redux 25th Jul 09, 12:11 PM
    • 19,787 Posts
    • 27,542 Thanks
    redux
    Pros

    This is a divisive extra charge, that is one big reason calling mobiles are so expensive. If it were to be ended it would be likely to make calling mobile phones much cheaper.

    It would also mean we could see the "unlimited call plans" we currently see the calling home phones to also be available from calling mobiles.

    The campaign is attracting growing support including some trade unions in the campaign for plain English

    Cons

    It's unlikely you will notice that this campaign has been organised and run by the mobile phone network three. It is likely it has a vested interest in the succeeding and will gain competitive advantage from it.

    When you sign up to the petition, it is three who technically (according to data protection laws) your data is going to. I am slightly concerned this isn't clear enough.

    It's also worth noting that ending mobile termination rate isn't without risks. There is a chance some mobile phone companies at a no longer making revenue when someone calls you will start charging when you receive calls (in much the way they currently do when we go abroad), though I would hope a competitive marketplace would stop this.

    Even so this would be a seismic change the mobile pricing and it is likely the network could try and recoup the money somehow with an other form of pricing alteration.

    Originally posted by MSE Martin

    Personally, I view this is as blatant hypocrisy by 3, especially their comment We think Mobile Termination Rates are excessive and distort competition, when as michaels already pointed out above, several years after its launch 3 still has higher incoming termination fees than the other networks.

    I've read in the past of this asymmetry of rates being argued by rivals as a subsidy to the newer entrants, for instance if two people on different networks called each other for an equal number of minutes, there would be a net trade revenue flow to the network with the higher fees.

    A difference that might ensue from cheaper termination fees is that calls to mobiles from landlines might become cheaper. Ok, that could be quite nice, but where is there any actual advantage to 3 in that? No, their emphasis seems to try to set up the idea in consumers' minds that they 3 are the disrupters, the champion of an unpopular notion in the industry, the outsider being unfairly treated.

    There is another con, perhaps in more than one sense of the word:

    - if incoming termination fees were dropped, then it would be more difficult for the networks to support cheap incoming calls while roaming.

    And 3 has had a marketing position here as well, promoting the idea that it wanted to see roaming fees decreased, and in the past taking some unilateral positions to do so, particularly its Like Home idea, as well as its 25p a minute outgoing and 10p incoming calls

    But earlier this year, it abolished 3 Like Home. Off-topic, I'd guess a part of the reason could be they got hit for roaming data costs rather than calls

    A couple of months later, it increased its roaming fees from being cheaper to more expensive than the other networks, and all the time promoting the notion it wanted to see roaming and termination fees go down.

    I don't see why any of us should support such a schizophrenic and misleading marketing campaign, let alone that someone reputed for taking independent and perhaps initially sceptical positions, such as yourself Martin, help to promote it without stepping back and taking a wider look.

    Let's see 3 take some initiative with its own unilateral action and decrease its termination and roaming fees to level with or below those of the other networks, before allowing them to lecture us, or lending creedence to a position that can be seen as highly equivocated.

    In any case, I don't think mobile calls are expensive, but cheaper now than they've ever been. SIM-only or retention contracts can have typically 600 minutes, loads of text messages, and internet access for 20 a month. That can average 2 or 3 pence a minute for inclusive calls. And PAYG rates are 10p or less.


    Only the prospect that if mobile termination rates were dropped to exactly comparable with landlines, and landline deals then included forwarding free, would be a reason to go for this. But it's almost an Arcadian dream, when the UK market hasn't evolved that way, and there would be other consequences.

    Compare that to the USA, where that does happen. But incoming calls are charged 10 to 20 cents a minute on prepaid, and budgeted for in contract packages. US users may occasionally boast of unlimited minutes on their contracts. But that isn't necessarily competitive if they pay typically $50 to $75 a month for such deals, compared to the 20 or 30 that covers most UK users requirements. And US users also pay for incoming text messages; just try suggesting that here to people with habits in hundreds a month. The US mobile market is less competitive than the UK.

    I vote no.

    I won't join their campaign, and I'd have severe doubts about whether they will use the records they acquire merely for marketing to prospective customers, rather than genuine campaigning reasons.


    Let's face it: the Terninatetherate website shows logos for some of its corporate supporters, but while set up to look slightly grungy, and hence like an independent campaign, it entirely fails to explicitly disclose that it is owned by 3. Is that not just a bit too close to passing off? Does that meet the aims of the Plain English Campaign, which seems to support it?
    Last edited by redux; 25-07-2009 at 12:34 PM.
  • epz
    bear in mind one of the reasons people dont get spam automated calls on their mobiles is because it costs the companies money to make the calls. If it want away then i could set up a server to dial every mobile in the uk using something like skpe to sell the viagra for the cost of a pc and broadband connection.



    edit i should add if MSE were going to support a mobile pricing campaign the bait and switch tactics of the "unlimted" data rates should be highlighted. There are plenty of mobile viruses/apps that could be downloading stuff these days the fact the mobile companys have no way to limit your costs (even just a credit limit which would mean cutting off the service) potentially exposing you the 000's of pounds of a bill should be illegal.
    Last edited by epz; 25-07-2009 at 1:00 PM.
    • davidjones90
    • By davidjones90 26th Jul 09, 1:33 PM
    • 126 Posts
    • 32 Thanks
    davidjones90
    could this in theory not increase line rental costs etc?
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  • ocoste
    could this in theory not increase line rental costs etc?
    Originally posted by davidjones90
    I suppose it's possible David and is a concern expressed by others. However, I beleive there has been a sea-change in consumer attitude in this country. If Ofcom did take action publicly and the operators hiked their prices, i think there would be a cusotmer revolt. That's my personal opinion anyway.
  • ocoste
    I voted no. The reason for that is that I don't really agree with asking money savers to give their personal details etc to a commercial third party such as three. I wouldn't disagree with supporting a petition on number 10's website, personally.
    Originally posted by tomterm8
    Tom, you are asked for your name, postode and email. There's an opt-in box if you want to receive email updates. They do not ask for contact number so I can't see how 3 would benefit from this as a marketing excercise. I was happy to sign up in the hope it will take off and we can all see some savings on our mobile bills.
    • fiish
    • By fiish 26th Jul 09, 4:49 PM
    • 728 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    fiish
    I suppose it's possible David and is a concern expressed by others. However, I beleive there has been a sea-change in consumer attitude in this country. If Ofcom did take action publicly and the operators hiked their prices, i think there would be a cusotmer revolt. That's my personal opinion anyway.
    Originally posted by ocoste
    My opinion is similar, except that I don't think the price hikes would happen too near each other, I don't think they want to be the subject of a cartel investigation. The oligopoly is bad enough for us.

    Thing is, the networks' profit margins aren't that great right now. Making their operations even less profitable might actually harm us in the long run if it causes one or more of the operators to pull out of the UK market. T-Mobile is already showing signs that it may disappear.
    Debt free and watching my savings shrink!
    • almillar
    • By almillar 27th Jul 09, 12:57 PM
    • 8,100 Posts
    • 3,351 Thanks
    almillar
    If they don't receive revenue from the termination charge, they will look to get it from somewhere else, have no doubt about that! But at least it will be something more transparent. For example, if you pay Orange 20 per month for your mobile, how do you break down where that money goes? 7 subsiding your mobile, 5 to Orange for your service, 2 to o2 for the calls you made to 02 mobiles, 2 to Vodafone for the calls you made to their mobiles, 2 to T-Mobile, 2 to Three. At the same time your mate on Vodafone is having 2 of his line rental going to Orange. Seems wasteful and not transparent. Communication has got a lot cheaper, surely these are outdated, wasteful charges?
  • ocoste
    If they don't receive revenue from the termination charge, they will look to get it from somewhere else, have no doubt about that! But at least it will be something more transparent. For example, if you pay Orange 20 per month for your mobile, how do you break down where that money goes? 7 subsiding your mobile, 5 to Orange for your service, 2 to o2 for the calls you made to 02 mobiles, 2 to Vodafone for the calls you made to their mobiles, 2 to T-Mobile, 2 to Three. At the same time your mate on Vodafone is having 2 of his line rental going to Orange. Seems wasteful and not transparent. Communication has got a lot cheaper, surely these are outdated, wasteful charges?
    Originally posted by almillar
    Al, a slightly different though pertinant way of looking at it. It begs the question how much money do the operators spend tracking 'who owes who'. Is it all done via computers? I can't see them sharing systems and information, so if the charges were dropped, surely the Networks would make huge savings operating what must be a very complex charging system?
    • PinkPig
    • By PinkPig 27th Jul 09, 4:53 PM
    • 250 Posts
    • 147 Thanks
    PinkPig
    Elsewhere in the world it's very standard to pay to receive voice calls or text messages. The infrastructure to call mobiles is inherently expensive - and we enjoy pretty much universal coverage in the UK from all of the major networks.

    I cannot see why it is in the public's interests to get rid of this "termination" charge. Having a differential in cost between calling mobiles and calling landlines isn't a problem for me - if I want to save money, I call someone on their landline from mine and probably enjoy free off-peak calls anyway.

    This sounds mostly like a trick from Three to try and persuade consumers that the charges are much more unfair than they really are. Mobile companies will want their revenue from somewhere - I would rather pay to make a call to a mobile rather than pay to receive calls.
    • Alonso14
    • By Alonso14 28th Jul 09, 1:00 PM
    • 97 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Alonso14
    Surely getting rid of termination rates is a good thing - to simplify the scenario, I will only consider MTR's between UK networks. There would be no net flow of money out of the industry as a whole, however, it would perhaps bring smaller networks on to a level playing field - why should a bigger network gain an exponential advantage simply for being bigger? ie. the revenue they get from having a larger customer base should be enough, without gaining extra because more people will be calling their network from outside because a bigger proportion of the population is now on their network!

    As for saying that prices would go up... really? Three have already mooted a 35 as-much-as-you-like possibility, so if the other networks didnt match or beat this, then there would be a large exodus to the likes of Three, which they couldnt allow to happen. It would be interesting to see which networks benefit from MTR's (and inevitably, which lose out, as it is a "zero-sum" game (assuming UK isolation)), and by how much.
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