Ofcom Mobile Sector Assessment Interactive Executive Summary

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 A particularly important question is how, if at all, the mobile termination rate regime should change after the current charge control ends in 2011. Now is the right time to engage in a strategic debate about the future of that regime. The growing debate about the possible changes to the structure of mobile termination (such as ‘bill and keep’ arrangements) deserves careful consideration.


Paul on 29 August 2008 at 9:35am

Clearly someone at Ofcom has got to much time on their hands to be thinking about bringing call termination charges to mobile users.

All I can think about is calling all my foes and making them suffer at a cost......Not a good idea



Kevin on 29 August 2008 at 10:24am

Ofcom, I can guarantee you right now, that by introducting fee's for recieving calls will destroy the mobile phone industry for personal use.

If you want everyone to go back to landlines only, then its a good plan.

Noboby is going to pay to recieve calls, that is why the service that reverses charges on landlines does not make money. The extreme vast majority of people refuse the operator when this happens. The mobile phone industry as we now it now will die with this idea if it implemented.

Do not cut regulation, increase it.

David Biggins on 29 August 2008 at 10:39am

One change that should under no circumstance be countenanced is the introduction of any regime under which mobile users can be charged for receiving unsolicited calls.

This represents an un-necessary and unwarrantable transfer of commercial cost from the sender to the receiver.

The risk here is that with such a transfer, commercial mobile phone spamming may become sufficiently cheap as to allow it to rival landline junk calls (already an unmitigated evil for many users, and one which all measures such as CLID, telephone preference service and other precautions substantially fail to mitigate) or worse, to the level where it becomes a commercially viable alternative in some companies to email spam.

It is bad enough receiving junk phone calls and landline email. The idea that users should both receive them on a mobile and pay for the privilege is totally unacceptable.

Frankly, I see no reason whatsoever to change the current regime where the caller pays the full cost of any call to a mobile.

Terry Bernstein on 29 August 2008 at 10:54am

The "Penny Post" was created so that the initiator of a message accepted the responsibility and burden of the cost, not the unwitting recipient. Recipient payments are an unfair charge because they remove most of the element of choice about whether to pay for a service or not. In effect they are a tax enforced by fear ( of not receiving vital communication).

Mike on 29 August 2008 at 11:01am

I pay for my "free" minutes and I also pay for each minute of a call outside of my bundle. The same applies to my family and friends who call me from their mobiles. I would not want to pay to receive calls as I sincerely believe that I pay enough already.

Russell on 29 August 2008 at 11:16am

Just don't charge the recipient. It's a model the post office dropped with the adoption of the Penny Black and is both iniquitous and unequitable. "Reciever pays" deserves no consideration whatsoever.

Charlie on 29 August 2008 at 11:21am

If you are even considering passing on termination charges to the receiver of a call - forget it.

This would be insane and open the door to all sorts of cold callers and text spammers.

Duncan on 29 August 2008 at 11:30am

At no time has the UK consumer been used to the idea of paying to receive calls; any move to introduce such a model for mobile to mobile or mobile to landline calls would, I feel, result in a decline in the market as more and more people seek to prevent uncontrolled spend and thus bar calls from originators which would result in a charge to the receiving party. I know I would. If you wish to stagnate the market, this would be a very effective way to do it!

Brian Bristol on 29 August 2008 at 12:22pm

As a consumer the current termination rate regime works well and should NOT be amended. The call receiver should not be charged to receive calls.

Brian Bristol on 29 August 2008 at 12:22pm

As a consumer the current termination rate regime works well and should NOT be amended. The call receiver should not be charged to receive calls.

Martin Bonner on 29 August 2008 at 12:39pm

It is critical that in general all the costs of a call are paid for by the maker of that call. Clearly there is an exception for 0800 numbers. It may also be appropriate to make an exception for international roaming where there are additional costs which cannot be predicted by the caller (the alternative is an announcement that "this call is going to cost .... extra" - but that may violate the recipients privacy).

Requiring the caller to pay may need continued regulation to ensure that service providers do not try to generate excessive profits from callers (who are not /their/ customers).

Robin Bradshaw on 29 August 2008 at 2:00pm

I have read that you have considered the possibility of charging termination fees to the receiving party, have you taken leave of your senses? Such a move would immediately render hundreds of thousands of pay as you go phones useless.
Parents like to give a cheap mobile to their children so they can contact them, naturally children will waste any credit they are given on ringtones and wallpapers etc etc almost immediately and then the phone will be useless as you wont be able to call it.
Then there is at affront to the sensibility's that paying to receive unsolicited marketing calls would be.
Charging the customer to receive a call is what has kept the American market rubbish and is not something you should try to emulate over here.

Barry Sonders on 29 August 2008 at 2:27pm

Introduction of termination charges would only assist in further obfuscating the total cost of a price plan to the consumer. While undoubtedly advantageous to the providers, every-day users would suffer. In the large majority of cases, if you are receiving a phone call, you have no idea of the importance of that call to you before answering it, and are thus unable to place monetary value on it. Thereby, the public would be pressured into increasing their spending.

C. Cosgrove on 29 August 2008 at 5:49pm

I would have to vote against any form of 'termination charge'.

If I wish to phone someone, that is my decision and I should carry the cost. You, as the recipient, may not want to receive my call, so why should you pay for any part of it ?

Further, this brings the mobile phone system closer to the e-mail system where the cost of sending 'spam' is extremely low. The cost of 'spam' is of course carried by the ISPs and the recipient who has to deal with it.

No, I think it is fairly simple : I want to phone you, I pay for it; you want to phone me, you pay for it.

I can understand why mobile phone companies would like this, given the fragmented nature of the industry : all the carriers involved in one call would get a direct share in the revenue for that call. I would, however, think that, within a very small margin of error, calls from System A to System B would be balanced by traffic in the opposite direction.

K. Roper on 30 August 2008 at 12:15am

Fees for receiving calls? How can this possibly be a serious suggestion? We don't want it. Simple.

The current system of 'caller pays' works for the consumer. Any change to this will allow the dishonest to find yet another way to abuse the system and circumvent any 'protection' put in place.

david bagshaw on 30 August 2008 at 9:27am

Termination charges should not be allowed at all, including roaming. I accept somebody has to pay for the international leg of a call. The call originator should have an anoucement of additional charges with the option to drop the call without any charge.

I am personally have suffered recieving unwanted calls while abroad without being unable to determine the caller either due to lack of clid or clid witheld.

Ian Graham on 30 August 2008 at 2:25pm

In terms of decision making it is the caller who decides to make a call and therefore should bear the full cost. A recipient cannot influence this decision and therefore should not be charged for something over which they have no control. If recipient charging is to be considered then what must also be considered is 100% accurate caller ID and the option for recipients to refuse the call.

Steve on 30 August 2008 at 10:27pm

If I have read the summary correctly then: ‘Come on’ OFCOM, what sort of service do you think subscribers want and should have forced onto them? I have no intention of having to accept a charge where for example the caller has with-held ID. Such calls can be from an advertising company or anyone. How do you expect a user to know if the call is off a family member with urgent information and has come via ex-directory landlines with caller id withheld etc? Why should anyone have to stand the charge to find out if the call merits their time and money? I should be able to answer free of charge safe knowing the caller pays, -they after all know the purpose of the call and hence have already established the approx cost they want to pay, the recipient has little knowledge. Do you not think that paying for making the call is enough or do you want to bite the hand that feeds the system?

T. Peacock on 1 September 2008 at 12:49pm

Sorry? You want me to PAY to RECEIVE calls? I think not.

Do you really think people will pay to receive spam calls (yes, that includes marketing)?

Why would you even consider that, if not to increase suppliers profits at the expense of the public? Remind me, who do you represent?

There should be no euphemistic 'termination' fees, even on international calls. The caller pays.

M Morgan on 1 September 2008 at 1:17pm

When you make a call, whether it be from a landline or a mobile, you know what it's going to cost and you can choose to make it a long or short call.
When you receive a call, you have no such option short of being rude.
Making the receiver pay is going to benefit nobody.
However, I do think there is merit in exploring whether operators should offer an automated reverse charges facility for those emergency situations when you need to borrow a phone or use a payphone, in which case the recipeint will hear a short message along the lines of 'phone number X wishes to reverse charges, press 1 to accept, 2 to decline.'

Jax on 1 September 2008 at 1:23pm

Heh, those kind of charges is why I can't call my friends in iceland who stray near the "out of credit" zone, even though i'm fully prepared to pay the full cost myself.

In this scenario I just end up using instant messenger instead thereby bypassing the mobile industry altogether.
No to receive charges!

Maurice on 2 September 2008 at 11:24am

1. I should like to agree strongly with David Biggins' comments above and others who have made the same points. David puts it better than I would.

2. Before I retired I spent a lot of time working overseas in the third and second world. The present regime for mobile calls when in other European countries reminds me strongly of the extortionate charges (e.g. $2 per minute) then levied for landline international calls in places like Nigeria and for mobile international calls in the Lebanon of some years ago. This is of course all down to excessive termination charges on top of charges for international transmission. In South Africa last year I called a German mobile which was also in South Africa and was charged for two legs - SA to UK and UK to Germany, while the recipient would have been charged for receiving the call from Germany. This whole system needs radical revision and simplification - it has become a utility. After all the charges to the consumer for calls to another UK mobile network are minimal or non-existent.

A Hayes on 5 September 2008 at 9:07am

If the comments above are correct and the suggestion is to charge the call cost to the recipient, that's not acceptable.

Whether this system works (or not) elsewhere, the practice in the UK for both mobile and landline calls has been initiator pays. I can't see it being an easy task to overturn the cultural attitudes to this, even if there was a clear statement of benefit to consumers as a result of making the change (such as call charges being massively reduced).

The summary makes no case for this suggestion, other than to raise it for discussion. Why would we consider it, what benefits for us, the consumers, would it bring?
Unless this can be articulated, the debate will be short and in the negative.

This does make me query who the regulator feels they are in place to protect.

Francisco on 12 October 2008 at 9:44am

Under no circumstances should mobile operators be allowed to charge consumers to receive calls. This would have several effects:

1) Less people would have mobiles (meaning that some people may not be able to call for help if they get into trouble).

2) As it has been mentioned above, the recipient has no control over who calls them.

3) As has been mentioned before, it would make telemarketing calls the bane of many peoples' lives (especially as they would have to pay for that blight in their lives).

However much I hate them, I do agree with roaming charges. This is because their is another person's choice to consider -- the person who is calling. The caller is calling a British (in this case) number and should only have to pay for the call to Britain.

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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.

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