Ever called a 0800 number from your mobile phone, only to realise that you are paying to call the “free” phone number? Ofcom are on the case to help eradicate this problem.
The UK communications regulator announced this week that they intend to make UK call changes simpler for both fixed lines and mobile phones; including make free phone numbers just that, no matter what type of line is used to call them.
Currently, calls to 0800 numbers made from mobile phones can cost a huge 21p a minute, whereas calling that number from a landline phone is completely free. Ofcom plan to “clarify and simplify” the call charges associated with 08, 09 and 118 numbers, the prefixes usually used for banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services. Operators will be required to make all information regarding these charges both clearer and more transparent to customers.
The regulator is also targeting 0845 and 0870 numbers, attempting to remove the confusion surrounding their charges, as well as emphasising the new 03 number range which charges the same price as geographic numbers (such as numbers starting 01 or 02).
Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom, said:
“Consumers are often confused about how much they will pay to call these number ranges. Under our proposals, people will have much clearer information and there will be greater competition on prices.
By making calls to 0800 numbers free from all phones, we will clear up any uncertainty about making calls, especially from mobiles, to the benefit of consumers and service providers alike.”
The final decision regarding new rules is due in early 2013. The related consultation will be open until 27th June 2012.
If you are looking at buying new phone numbers for your business, whether it be geographical, 08 or a special memorable number, but are confused by all the options and charges, talk to our sales team on 01225 800 123 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is claimed that this is the world’s first TD-LTE network in the 3.5-GHz spectrum based in the UK. The first place to have this spectrum band is the Southwark area of London, where the network operator, UK Broadband (UKB), will be offer 4G on a wholesale model, with an aim of “announcing a city build in a couple of weeks” according to Nicholas James, CEO of UKB, who are operating the network.
The commercial launch of the network will be 1st May 2012, the network operator plans to offer a home hub-type of broadband access point. The service will be targeted at solutions where there is demand for faster wireless/mobile data capacity. A mobile device with a portable Wifi hotspot is due to follow in September 2012.
It is anticipated that, if successful, the network could be opened up to major UK mobile operators to form a roaming partnership to provide service to areas where there is no TD-LTE coverage.
Ofcom has been stalling on the auction of their part of the 4G spectrum since it was announced that it would be introduced early this year, so it is good for the UK market to see the technology already in place, allowing Londoners to use internet services such as VoIP or cloud email, quickly and efficiently, when they are out of the office.
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Currently, according to figures from Ofcom, just 54% of the current population in Northern Ireland have access to mobile broadband over 3G.
This is set to change with major mobile operators Three UK, T-Mobile and Orange all agreeing to jointly fund a £25m initiative. The project will upgrade current mobile broadband (3G) coverage in Northern Ireland to an impressive 94% by the end of this year.
Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, said of the agreement:
”This is excellent news for Northern Ireland. My Department has for a number of years recognised the importance of state-of-the-art telecommunications networks to the development of the economy.
News of an investment of this size in the growing mobile sector comes at an important time. My Department has consulted extensively on telecoms investment priorities for 2011-2015 and has received endorsement for proposals to examine ways to deliver improvements in high-speed mobile delivery.
This initiative should also help improve existing voice and 2G services across the country.
The news is a boost for Northern Irish businesses who are looking for flexible landline services, such as our award-winning Gradwell Mobile service, which uses Three UK’s 3G network to give business a landline phone number on a mobile device.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Gradwell Mobile, give us a call on 01225 800 808 or email email@example.com.
(Image by Piblet)
The study, 2011 International Communications Market Research (ICMR), discovered that while the availability of superfast broadband in the UK “compares favourably” to other European countries, the uptake is significantly lower than our mainland counterparts. The study claims that, in June of this year, 59% of UK households have access to superfast broadband services from either Virgin Media or BT based ISPs, but only just over 4% of UK households are actually using them using the service.
Ofcom suggest that the typically higher price of superfast broadband compared to ADSL and the fact that it’s available in areas of existing high-quality connections may be what is limiting uptake.
Another reason suggested is the lack of familiar options for end users, as major ISPs such as 02, Sky Broadband and Orange have not launched their own superfast services to compete with BT and Virgin; this is probably due to the lack of unbundled style alternatives to BT’s own Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) offering, unlike ADSL broadband.
Within the ICMR report there were some other interesting findings:
- just 19% of UK broadband subscribers use Skype and similar services to make internet phone calls, compared with 28% in Italy and 26% in France
- UK consumers spend an average of £434 on telecoms services (based on 2010 figures)
However, 2012 looks to be a bigger year for superfast broadband. There has been lots of interest from small businesses in services such as our own , and our FTTC services (available early 2012) to run internet-based services such as or cloud-based storage on fast and reliable connections.
If you would like to find out more about superfast broadband, talk to Gradwell. We offer both Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) superfast services and they won’t cost you the earth. Get in touch on 01225 800 808 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An article in The Telegraph stated Ofcom have demanded understandable information from ISPs for consumers about achievable speeds and traffic management restrictions at certain times of day. If ISPs do not comply with these requests Ofcom will use its legal powers to force them.
The regulator believes that current information provided to consumers “does not go far enough and needs to be made clearer and easier to understand” to combat complaints from consumers of being mis-sold. Under the current rules ISPs can advertise maximum speeds that just 10 per cent of users can actually able to receive as the standard speed.
Ernest Doku, from broadband comparison site uSwitch, said of the decision: “We can now expect consumers to know upfront about average speeds and the effects of traffic management on those speeds before they sign up to a broadband package. This is a huge step forward for broadband customers.”
The existing industry-led initiative was encouraged by Ofcom, but it was noted that the information provided is only likely to be used by technically savvy consumers, leaving those without tech knowledge in the dark. The regulator noted that the remaining challenge is not about punishing ISPs, but about communicating clearly too all consumers.
If you’re fed up of paying for a speed you’re not getting talk to Gradwell. Our broadband packages are sold on service, not speed. We just give you exactly what your line can. Get in touch on 01225 800 808 or at email@example.com.