Out-Law News | 29 Sep 2005 | 2:27 pm | 1 min. read
They benefit consumers and businesses alike by enabling access to a range of services, including dial-up pay-as-you-go internet access, travel enquiries, tele-voting, telephone banking and many others. However, according to Ofcom, an increased use of these numbers (also known as Number Translation Services or NTS) has generated high levels of consumer concern about the lack of clarity in the pricing and marketing of these services.
Ofcom tried to tackle these concerns in October last year, but its proposals were not widely accepted. It is therefore consulting again, on new proposals.
These include a plan to end revenue sharing for all calls to 0870 numbers – with the result that these calls will cost the same as calls to national-rate geographic numbers. Those communications providers who wish to charge more than this rate would be obliged to advise the caller of the increased cost in advance, says the regulator.
Ofcom also wishes to re-classify 0871 numbers as premium rate, bringing them under the control of premium rate services regulator ICSTIS.
Ofcom does not plan any changes to 0845 numbers at present as they are used by many ISPs to offer dial-up pay-as-you-go internet services. Maintaining the current arrangements would protect these services for more than 5 million UK dial-up internet users, says the regulator.
Other proposals include:
The consultation will run until 6th December.