Ofcom Mobile Sector Assessment Interactive Executive Summary

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1.11

For many, the quantity of minutes, texts and in some cases data we receive in typical service ‘bundles’ has dramatically increased. However, the benefits of this trend are unevenly distributed, with contract customers appearing to have fared better than those who rely on pay-as-you-go services.

Comments

John Hodgson on 30 August 2008 at 12:05pm

I would disagree - Vodafone is one provider where it can a be a distinct advantage being on Pay-as-you-go. I also think that similar pay-as-you-go options are appearing across all networks. An example being spend £5 in the week get the weekends free - only available to pay-as-you-go customers.

These sort of options if explored by customers can and do save money with equivalent usage type on contracted packages which would cost £20 per month, but you do not benefit from free weekends.

Carl Townsend on 30 August 2008 at 9:25pm

I get 600 minutes per month to any network any time and 3000, (er....unlimited???) texts per month from Orange.
(Why do they advertise these as unlimited, when they have a fair usage policy of 3000?? - it's false advertising
I would like to send texts abroad, but they will charge me 20p per message. 5 messages and that's £1. Considering it barely costs them anything to process text messages, this is absolutely crazy... I spoke with Orange and they will not include overseas texts as part of my package. I even offered to have the number of texts reduced to 1000 per month, and my call minutes halved to 300 minutes per month. They were not interested.

I also want to have 0800, 0870 and 0845 numbers incuded in my monthly minutes allowance.
At the moment I have to rely on www.saynoto0870.com to get round these hideous money grabbing numbers and use the proper geographical numbers.

A Hayes on 1 September 2008 at 2:20pm

Yes, I get much more bundled - but I'm paying more for it.
£35 for bundled SMS and talktime, and unlimited (fair usage applies that is quite restrictive e.g. streaming video is banned even though the device links direct to YouTube) with my new contract
£35 for 500 min talktime and unlimited (fair usage applies - but even my teenage son hasn't yet managed to top 2000 SMS a month) text but no data with my partners contract.
£25 for my old contract where all I got was 60 mins talktime, unused minutes rolled over.
£17.50 for my original contract when I got 30 minutes talktime only, unused minutes rolled over.

Harry on 1 September 2008 at 3:27pm

Earlier in this report you talk about a blurring of the lines between fixed line and mobile numbers. Quite right. Non-geographical numbers used to be a way of ensuring that consumers could make a call to a national number at a local rate, or a national number who had a call-centre abroad but still charged at a national rate, or a freephone number that was guaranteed to be free. All these were a form of protection to the consumer.

What we have now is an abuse of this principle. Freephone, local and national non-geographic numbers are a boon to companies who excessively profiteer, and to mobile networks who charge extra for them when they are actually easier to connect.

It is intolerable to the consumer - absolutely intolerable by any measure - that people have several hundred minute contracts, with many to spare each month, yet quite straightforward NGN calls are always charged extra. It's the job of the regulator very specifically to outlaw this abuse.

It's quite legitimate to charge extra for a range of numbers under the title of Premium-rate, but NGNs are not premium rate. They are more correctly described as reduced rate and must always therefore be included in contract minutes.

A failure of the regulator to require this from all mobile companies makes the regulator an irrelevance. I expect to see it in the final report and for mobile operators to respond to it immediately or be considerably fined for not doing so.

John Nutting on 2 September 2008 at 8:12am

I had contracts with Vodafone so I could take advantage of bundled extras - Picture Messages (MMS), roll over minutes, inclusive data (emails), cheap evening and weekend calls (stop the clock), discounted roaming rates. Vodafone continually eroded (took away) these benefits one by one, so that by the end of my second 18 month contract, I was left with none of the above, only a bare allowance of texts and minutes. They no doubt reserved the right to vary their conditions. Is there anything to prevent providers offering loads of benefits to lure customers into signing contracts, and then gradually remove the benefits during the contract period? Vodafone ignored my protests and only after I'd joined another network did I receive 'begging' calls from Vodafone almost daily offering new incentives for me to stay with them. I refused their offers, as I felt whatever they gave now could easily be taken away again anytime soon.

Mark Haris on 3 September 2008 at 11:43am

Contract, commitment and cost are the reason's we get slightly better deals, however with 18 months of commitment it’s not so good at £35 per month.

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On this experimental site we encourage you to leave informal comments alongside the Executive Summary of Ofcom's Mobile Sector Assessment consultation, published on 28 August 2008.

Alternatively, you can download the full consultation document, and/or respond formally to the consultation (closing date 6 November 2008). You can also follow the debate over the next few months on the team's blog, Mobile citizens, mobile consumers.