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OFCOM: STOP Mobile Network Access Charge RIP OFF!

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STOP Mobile Network Access Charge RIP OFF

 Mobile phone companies are raking in hundreds of millions (if not billions) of pounds a year in hidden costs at the expense of unwitting mobile phone users.

We call on OFCOM to ban this extortionate practice and protect consumers.

We request OFCOM to introduce legislation to cap the amount that mobile phone companies can charge for ‘Access Charges’ when consumers make a call to a premium 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 until the bill comes in.


Why Access Charges were introduced

1st July 2015, OFCOM introduced, the biggest change in telecom industry for over a decade. It was designed to make call  rates to premium numbers clear 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 consumer has to add both together ie:

The Service Charge goes to the service 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 user 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


What OFCOM overlooked:

In bringing about this change, OFCOM has made call charges clearer for users but failed to make them cheaper! Actually 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 service company consumers are trying to reach!


RightCall’s Findings:

RightCall is a fair telecoms campaigner working towards fair price for every call. RightCall has found that:

As a result of un-capped Access Charges left by the oversight of OFCOM mobile companies are making millions or well may be billions at the expense of consumers.  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 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. 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:

 1.     Cap Access Charges at a reasonable level. RightCall proposes 20p per minute for all mobile operator and 8p per minute for all fixed line opearator.

2.     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.  

3.     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!



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