070 numbers were originally designed to be used as a personal or ‘follow-me’ redirect type services with a higher than normal termination rate so that companies can fund the service and redirection costs on behalf of the end user. Over the years, this range has been used to provide an increasing number of services, from hospital bedside phones to advertising response numbers and sophisticated personal assistant type services.
As the calling party pays for the call to the 070 which on some networks can exceed £1 per minute and with the number being confused with a mobile number, Ofcom have reviewed the market and set our their proposals to regulate the termination fee.
aimm believes that measures are required to improve pricing transparency for consumers and that high termination fee products (which determine the high consumer charges) could be moved over time to another range to provide number range transparency. There also has been fraud on this range taking advantage of the mobile-looking number.
Ofcoms proposals however, in aimm’s opinion would destroy the current range of services which are extensively used by consumers and small businesses.
We too often see regulatory actions chucking out both the baby and the bathwater, and we believe that Ofcom should have engaged with the 30+ companies providing 070 services to understand the range of services that are provided, a lot of which migrated to 070 after Ofcom’s 2015 NGCS review resulted in a decimation of the 08 services market due to high Access Fees.
Some of the statistics used to bolster Ofcom’s case are four years old and some are based on unverifiable data. We believe a national regulator should not use old data to examine issues as a lot of the historical issues have been resolved by improved industry standards.
Our response lays out our members concerns and proposes alternative solutions that could easily be considered.