In 2 May 2008, Ofcom published two consultations as part of its ongoing review of 087 numbers. Ofcom has now issued a notification which gives an update on the proposed timing of any changes to the rules on 087 numbers.
In May, Ofcom consulted on proposals on charges for calls to 0870 numbers. These included the proposal that all calls to 0870 numbers should cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02 numbers) unless communications providers comply with rules on publicising higher prices. At the time, Ofcom aimed to announce its conclusions on this by autumn 2008.
However, Ofcom's work on this consultation needs to take place alongside an ongoing dispute on wholesale termination rates, the rates that operators charge each other to end 0870 calls on each others' networks. Work on this had been suspended pending the recent judgement of the Competition Appeals Tribunal on mobile termination rate disputes which was published recently, and as a result this work has now restarted.
Ofcom continues to assess the proposals in its May 2008 consultation and the responses to that document in light of these developments. Ofcom aims to publish a further statement on implementing any changes to 0870 policy by the end of the year.
Ofcom aims to publish a statement on its proposal to bring the most expensive 087 numbers (including 0871, 0872 and 0873 numbers) within the remit of PhonepayPlus, in the autumn.
Unfortunately there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the future of 087 numbers, for both consumers and operators! Our view is that although Ofcom is trying to improve consumer confidence by providing greater price transparency about the call charges to 0870 numbers, they are actually confusing consumers even more.
We do not think that there will be any changes to 0870 numbers until sometime next year, we will of course be publishing any news about 0870 numbers on our web site and keeping our customers informed.
Ofcom is responsible for managing the UK's telephone numbers and for ensuring that best use is made of this resource. Ofcom allocates telephone numbers to a broad range of providers who may then sub-allocate them to organisations, businesses and individuals to use themselves.
Web site: www.ofcom.org.uk.