The mobile network excessive ‘access charge’ RIP OFF
OFCOM are on the side of telecoms companies, not consumers & businesses!
Lets try and STOP the Mobile Network Access Charge RIP OFF
The UK Mobile phone network are raking in hundreds of millions of pounds (if not billions) a year in hidden charges at the expense of unwitting mobile phone users.
I have worked in telecoms for over 20 years and have never seen a telecoms rip-off that affects consumers and businesses as big as this one. I call for OFCOM to ban this extortionate practice and protect all of us. Put simply we think OFCOM should introduce legislation to cap the amount that mobile phone companies can charge for ‘Access Charges’ when consumers make a call to a number starting 084, 087, 09 and 118.
Currently this can add as much as 45 pence per minute to a call that is advertised at just 1p per minute – and the consumer has no idea this is what they will be charged until their mobile phone bill arrives.
Why ‘Access Charges’ were introduced
1st July 2015, OFCOM introduced ukcalling.info, the biggest change in telecom industry for over a decade. It was designed to make call rates to 084, 087, 118 & 09 clearer for everyone.
OFCOM introduced two new concepts. Calls to premium numbers (starting 084, 087, 118 & 09) are now made up of a Service Charge and an Access Charge.
To work out the actual cost of the call the callers has to add both together ie:
The Service Charge goes to the company who advertises the premium number. By law, this cost must always be shown wherever the premium number is advertised. For example: a company with the number of 0871 781 8181 must state “Calls cost 13p per minute, plus your phone company’s Access Charge”.
The caller then has to add the Access Charge to the declared Service Charge to find the total call cost. The Access Charge belongs to the network being used to make the call – companies like O2, EE, Vodafone, BT, Sky etc.
An OFCOM video explains the Service Charge and Access Charge in full detail https://vimeo.com/120674707
What OFCOM overlooked:
In bringing about this change, OFCOM has made call charges clearer for users but failed to make them cheaper! In fact, call costs have become higher as a result of the new OFCOM rules.
Big mobile companies now charge as much as 45p per minute for their Access Charge regardless of the price of the Service Charge.
This means that a call to a number where the Service Charge is just 1p could end up costing 46p a minute. (1p + 45p = 46p).
Similarly, in the example given above, a caller would pay 58p per minute. (13p + 45p = 58p).
Often, however, it’s not easy for a consumer to find out in advance what a mobile company is going to charge. They only find out when a hefty bill comes in at end of the month, or their Pay as You Go plan has suddenly run out and they have to top up again.
Below is a list of Access Charges from major mobile companies:
PENCE PER MINUTE (PayAsYouGo/PayMonthly)
EE – 44p / 40p
O2 – 45p / 45p
Vodafone – 45p / 45p
Three – 45p / 45p
Virgin – 45p / 45p (was 36p / 36p, increased rates aligning with big operators)
The Case against excessive Access Charges – The RIP OFF!
When we call a plumber or carpenter and dial a premium number starting 084 or 087, we know we will pay a charge for calling that number. However, what we do not realise is that the plumber or the recipient of the call actually makes a meagre penny or two while the middlemen, the big mobile networks are earning a fortune on the back of the plumbers, carpenters and the consumers!
It may cost 46p to call an 084 number while the Service Charge is only 1p! Even a zero-rated 0845 number may cost 45p! Mobile companies are making a whopping 45 times more than the company the consumers are trying to call.
Phoenix Communicatiosn is a fair telecoms campaigner working towards fair price for every call. We have found that:
As a result of un-capped Access Charges left by the oversight of OFCOM, mobile companies are making millions which may well may be billions at the expense of consumers & businesses. The 2015, 2016 and 2017 revenue reports of mobile companies stand witness to this.
The total service charge market size is approximately 388m GBP. However, when you add in the access charge the market size becomes £1.6Billion of which Access charge represents approximately staggering 76% at £1.2Billion.
It is like paying more toll for using a road than for fuel! It is extortionate to charge 76% Access Charge on an actual cost of 24%!
Virgin network used to have an Access Charge of 36p per minute but they decided to increase the Access Charge in July 2016 to 45p to be at par with all big networks.
With all the big mobile networks charging similar prices, like a cartel, the consumer is being held to ransom. Rather than market competition reducing Access Charges, in reality the operators are keeping Access Charges high.
The solution – What We Want!
By signing this petition you demand OFCOM to regulate Access Charges as follows:
- Cap Access Charges at a reasonable level. Phoenix Communications proposes 20p per minute for all mobile operator and 8p per minute for all fixed line operator.
- Ensure that the total Access Charge collected by the operators is not higher than the Service Charge levied by the companies who answer the call.
- Show realistic example prices of Access Charges wherever the Service Charge is advertised, not simply state ‘plus your network operator’s Access Charge’,
As per our proposal all adverts will be completely transparent to the cost of call –
“Calls costs 10p per minute plus 20p if called from a mobile or 8p if called from a land line.”
“Calls costs 30p per minute from mobile or 18p from a land line.”
We demand a fair price for every call!
If you would like us to review your telecoms expenditure give us a shout on 0800 107 9444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org