Changes to UK Non-Geographic Numbering – Applicable 1st July 2015
As a result of an Ofcom consultation into the charging of Non Geographic Numbers (NGN), you may be aware of the Ofcom NGCS (Non Geographic Charging Structure) review.
Ofcom are implementing a number of significant changes which affect the way in which calls to NGNs are advertised and charged to callers. The changes will affect call pricing for 084, 087, and Freephone calls and also pricing to receive calls on NGN numbers.
The aim of the consultation was to simplify the charging structure and bring a level of transparency to the cost of calling NGN numbers for consumers.
- Implementation of a Service Charge + Access Charge model for numbers in the 084, 087, 09 and 118 ranges – also termed as the “unbundled tariff structure” for the charging of NGNs.
- The Service Charge is set by the Range Holder of the NGN number and is one of 80 price points regulated by Ofcom. The full list of Service Charges and their allocation can be found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/numbering/index.htm#service . Service Charges listed in this sheet are inclusive of VAT.
- The Access Charge is set by the organisation billing the consumer for calls to the NGN number(s). The Access Charge is not regulated by Ofcom and is a single Access Charge set at Tariff Level. The company setting the Access Charge must make this clear to their customers on bills and inform new customers of the charge when they sign up to a new contract.
The total price of a consumer call to an NGN from 1st July 2015 will therefore be calculated by:
SERVICE CHARGE + ACCESS CHARGE = TOTAL CHARGE
Ofcom’s consultation states:
• One Access Charge per tariff package, for calls to all unbundled non-geographic number ranges, though the Access Charge may be included in a bundle of inclusive minutes for some or all non-geographic numbers;
• The Access Charge to be set as a simple 'pence per minute' rate;
• Each individual 084, 087, 09 or 118 number to have a single Service Charge that applies to calls to that number from all fixed and mobile phones;
• With the exception of 118, there will be caps on the maximum rate of the Service Charge, according to the unbundled non-geographic number range. For example, the cap on the rate of the Service Charge for numbers in the 084 ranges will be 7p (inc. VAT) and the cap for numbers in the 087 range will be 13p (inc. VAT);
• Phone companies to publicise the amount of the Access Charge for each tariff package they offer consumers; and
• Organisations and service providers to include their Service Charge whenever the number is presented (i.e. in advertising and marketing).
Promotion and advertising of 084, 087, 09 and 118 (DQ) numbers wording must be changed
The promotor of the number must follow the new format for notifying callers of the call charges to ring the NGN.
From the 1st July 2015 wording to support the advertising of a number must be as follows:-
“Calls will cost x pence per minute plus your phone company’s Access Charge”
Charges must be clearly displayed at point of sale, on company literature (print, on-line) and on all advertising.
Calls to 0800/0808 will be free to call from mobiles and landlines
From the 1st July 2015 calls from mobiles to Freephone numbers must be free. Freephone number operators will be charged an additional fee for receiving calls from mobile networks – this will be called a mobile origination charge and will be a pence per minute.
How will it affect me?
The changes will affect pricing for all calls to NGNs and to receive calls on NGNs including the increase in changes to receive calls on Freephone number from mobile networks.
Customers operating NGNs will have to comply with the new wording for notifying callers of the charges.
PhonepayPlus and the Advertising Standards Authority will be responsible for enforcing the requirements and information should be sought from them or independent legal advice.
I generate a revenue share from 084/087 numbers – will this affect my rates?
Yes. Range holders have supplied to Ofcom the Service Charge for their number ranges. This will affect the costs and revenues applicable on incoming calls.
Maximum service charges set by Ofcom.
From the 1st July 2015 Ofcom has stipulated the maximum service charge that can apply for each number range
084 – 7 pence per minute maximum
087 – 13 pence per minute maximum
What about ported numbers?
As the Service Charge is set by the Range Holder the pricing for incoming calls to ported numbers may differ from the rates for non-ported numbers. Check the range holder and then the rate to call the NGN to determine the rebate (the rebate rate sheet is available on request).
Surcharge for mobile origination on 0800/0808
The mobile origination surcharge will be added to your usual 0800 inbound pence per minute rate which will be the total cost for the call originating from a mobile.
Where can I find the official guidance?
Ofcom have created the UK Calling website to help consumers and businesses understand the changes. http://www.ukcalling.info/
The Ofcom Master list of Service Charges can be found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/numbering/index.htm#service
The NGCS review and final statement http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/simplifying-non-geo-no/final-statement