118 cost capping
Ofcom announced in November, that from 1st April 2019, Directory Enquiry (DQ) service charges will be capped at £3.04167 (ex VAT) per 90 seconds. These changes apply to all DQ services on 118 numbers that are retailed to consumers. Ofcom define DQ users as consumers and do not take account of any other customer type using DQ services. CP’s are required to strictly adhere in respect of the amount they bill their consumers.
The responsibility sits with the range/number holder to change the service charge on the Ofcom numbering system and separately update any commercial arrangements. Details should be known in early February, following which we will send further communications about updates to Affinity configuration that we will undertake and any options available.
Intra-EU price caps
In November, Ofcom issued a briefing on the retail price caps for intra-EU communications, which are due to change from 15th May 2019.
Consumers should be charged no more than €0.19 (+VAT) per minute for calls made (including any connection charge) and €0.06 (+VAT) for SMS sent from the UK to any fixed or mobile number in an EU Member State.
End of contraction notifications
We communicated at the start of December that Ofcom had proposed to implement a new regulation, requiring Providers to send end-of-contract notifications to their customers. At that time, Ofcom were suggesting that these notifications were to be sent to residential and small business customers (ten individuals or fewer) only.
On 14th December, Ofcom issued another Consultation, for which responses need to be in by 1st February 2019. In this Consultation, Ofcom have widened the audience of the notification to all Customers, Residential and Businesses of all sizes. They have also included an additional requirement to send a notification annually, to all Customers who are out of a fixed term contract. The notification should provide information about their contract and their provider’s best tariffs.
For information about how Aurora can help you to manage this process, please either refer to the previous communication we sent, or contact your Service Relationship Manager.
We will send further communication once Ofcom have issued their final statement on this regulation.
Mobile number portability
Ofcom want to simplify the way that Consumers and Businesses switch mobile provider, in order to reduce the following difficulties experienced with the existing process:
- Unnecessary time and difficulties progressing the switch
- Double payment
- Loss of service
It’s thought that the experience of these difficulties deter Customers from switching mobile provider which means they miss out on competitive packages and continue paying higher prices.
Ofcom have proposed the change to an ‘Auto-Switch’ method, which allows Consumers to request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC), or Non-Porting Authorisation Code (N-PAC) by text message, telephone, or their online account. This removes the need for Consumers to verbally contact their Provider if they do not wish to do so.
Ofcom require Providers to be compliant with the ‘Auto-Switch’ method by 1st July 2019. We are currently reviewing ways we could potentially enhance Affinity to make it easier for our Customers to use Auto-Switch.
070 Cost Capping
In October, Ofcom issued a Final Statement relating to new rules they are imposing to cap the wholesale cost of calling 070 numbers. 070 numbers are often mistaken for mobile numbers, but cost much more to call. From 1st October 2019, the cost of calling 070 numbers will be aligned with the existing cap set by Ofcom for calls to mobile numbers – currently around 0.5 pence per minute.
Bundles Mobile Fees
In September, Ofcom issued a Consultation on helping Consumers to get better deals in communications markets, specifically aimed at mobile handsets. Ofcom are concerned that if mobile customers, on bundled handset and airtime deals, do not take action at the end of their minimum contract period, their contract rolls forward and they continue to pay the same price. In many cases this includes the cost of the handset, which they have already paid off.
When a mobile customer signs up for a bundled handset and airtime contract, providers are often not transparent about how much of the price they pay is for the handset and how much for the airtime. As a result, customers are not aware how much they are paying for each.
We will send further communication once Ofcom have issued their final statement on how they will be expecting Providers to meet this regulation, and what the deadline is for compliance.