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Minutes Directory Enquiries (DQ) Consumer Issues Sub-Group Meeting 6 Layout image
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Directory Enquiries (DQ) Consumer Issues Sub-Group

Meeting 6

Venue: Oftel, 50 Ludgate Hill London EC4M 2pm, Monday 4th November 2002

  1. Introductions
  2. Alastair Robertson SACOT

    Alex Campbell (Chair) Oftel

    Andy Holliday telegate Ltd

    Caroline Wallace Oftel

    David Carver CMA

    Ian Watson (notes) BT

    Liz Vallarelli Vodafone

    Martin Rayment BAA

    Moore Kennedy NIACT

    Paul Whiteing ICTIS

    Peter Sayers CFB

    Richard Allen Telewest

    Tom Hickey Conduit

    Gareth Morgan BT Apologies

    Gwyneth Williams WACT Apologies


  3. Review of previous minutes
  4. The previous minutes were agreed and Dirk Amtsberg thanked in his absence for their accuracy and the speed with which they were produced.


  5. Agree note-taker
  6. Ian Watson - BT


  7. Industry Group Updates

    2. Billing and Interconnect update – AH, Telegate
    3. It was reported that the group was now much more focussed on deploying enhanced billing facilities rather than basic interconnection as the latter was now implemented. In recognition of this the group is now chaired jointly by Dirk Amtsberg of telegate and Sue Coxon of Accurate Billing.

      In response to questions, Ian Watson and Andy Holliday explained that the billing and settlement process for implementation on December 10th worked but was restricted in its capabilities. At first, all calls to 118 services will appear on BT bills in the ‘Other Calls’ section. They will eventually move to a new ‘Directory Services’ section. All 118 calls on BT bills will show time and date of call, number dialled, call duration and call charge. No information on onward connection will be provided.

      Ian Watson reported on how complaints and refunds would work. Each DQ service provider would provide a contact number or address through which customers could seek redress. The exact policies would vary from provider to provider with reputable ones seeking to offer quality services at acceptable prices.

    4. Implementation (Umbrella) group update – CW, Oftel
    5. It was reported that the group had received a very useful presentation from BT’s Age and Disability team on TextPhones, TextDirect and the need for DQ service providers to consider their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act. ICSTIS are now a very welcome and useful part of the group and continue to provide advice and guidance on consumer issues related to 118 services and their promotion. The group has considered the issue of ‘code portability’ to allow service providers to change host networks should they so wish. Other topics discussed at the group’s meetings are covered elsewhere in these minutes.

    6. Network Announcements – TH, Conduit

    Tom Hickey reported on progress in developing an acceptable network messaging solution for the end of parallel running. Individual companies signing a memorandum of understanding setting out their aims have formed the group. Oftel have said that if the MoU group can demonstrate a practical, commercially viable method to deliver information on the new 118 services to consumers calling 192/153 after the end of parallel running, then they will consider reallocating the 192 code to a specific network operator to enable this to happen. The MoU group have agreed a Request for Proposal and this has been sent to as many potential suppliers as possible and responses are awaited.

    In response to questions, Tom said that the intention was to deliver information about appropriate 118 services to consumers on an even-handed basis.

  8. DQ and Payphones – CW, Oftel
  9. It was reported that Oftel had met several times with BT Payphones to discuss 118 and associated issues. BT’s public payphones can only charge on a pence-per-minute basis and cannot accept fixed fee charges. Charges are usually higher from a payphone than from a landline. At present, for 192 and 153 services, BT Payphones charge 20p per 110 seconds, a price subsidised for social telephony reasons. The proposal is that call charges for 192/153 from BT payphones should stay at this level until the codes are withdrawn. No objections to this approach have been received.

    In response to questions, CW said that other payphone providers and hotels were free to promote codes and charge for them as they saw fit. She also advised that it was not yet clear how individual service providers would handle refunds for calls made from payphones.

    NAP 6.1 AC (Oftel) to take the issue of refunds for payphone customers to DQ IWG.


  11. Paul Whiteing reported on progress to date. All the necessary documentation to allow the applications for prior permission to launch service on December 10th is now available from ICSTIS and their website. So far (4/11/02) only 6 applications have been received with the closing date of November 15th approaching. Following the initial batches of applications, there will be a further review of 118 by ICSTIS in early 2003 and this may lead to further public consultation. Proposals for a separate code of practice as suggested by Vodafone could be considered at that point.

    In response to a suggestion that the paragraphs in ICSTIS’s Guidelines covering refunds could be placed together and strengthened, PW pointed out that the guidelines had to reflect and reinforce the underlying Code of Practice. Following another question, PW and CW said that it was not ICSTIS’s role to monitor whether callers were incurring artificially high charges through operators delivering their services slowly – this is an area for consumers to exercise choice in.

  12. Consumer Guide – AC, Oftel

Alex Campbell invited comments on the Consumer Guide that had been distributed prior to the meeting. Several comments, questions and answers were discussed:

  • In Q13, it was suggested that the text "and who has paid to be mentioned first." should be added to the end.
  • In Q17 text will be added to say that call connection to adult services would not be permitted.
  • If a DQ call is call-connected to an engaged tone then the caller will continue to pay any time-based charge.
  • The document can be passed to anyone wanting to see a copy. The current version is on the Oftel website.
  • The procedures for obtaining refunds for calls made from payphones may be included following discussion at DQ IWG.
  • It would be possible to run a ‘connect-to’ service for ex-directory numbers if there was agreement between the directory service provider and the ex-directory customers.

  1. DQ 118 Numbers and Phonebooks – IW, BT Directories
  2. Ian Watson reported that the editorial group developing the leaflet for inclusion with BT’s Phone Book’s had met and were making progress quickly with the aim of having copy approved by December 1st so that leaflets could be distributed in January with the York Phone Book.

    NAP 6.2 Ian Watson to send draft copy of the Phone Book leaflet to Caroline Wallace for distribution to the Consumer Group.

    In response to a question it was agreed that information on TextDirect services could be included in the leaflet at each service providers discretion.

  3. DQ and Carrier pre-selection

CW provided a report on how 118xxx codes would be treated by carrier pre-selection services and the consequent impact on call barring services. In summary:

  • Oftel consulted on whether 118xxx codes should be within or without the ‘all calls’ option for carrier pre-selection. As a result, 118xxx codes will be within the all-calls option.
  • Due to technical limitations on a large proportion of BT’s exchanges, the decision on CPS has meant that 118xxx codes will be treated as premium rate services for the purposes of call barring.

However, it is planned that one particular tariff or small range of tariffs will be available so that any 118 service that wishes to can use one of those tariffs and not be classed as a premium rate service for call barring purposes. It has been suggested that the tariffs selected should be fixed fees.

DC (CMA) said that this approach would be a welcome relief for business customers who were likely to be concerned at enhanced services and time-based tariff being available to their employees.

  1. Consumer Research
  2. It was noted that the latest figures were posted on the agenda.



  3. Action points review
  4. No.



    Complete by



    Oftel and Industry

    To consider comments received and change the consumer guide accordingly

    By next meeting

    Discharged. AC to note and include comments above. Guide to be published by the end 11/02.



    to include ACTs Secretariat onto distribution list





    Find out how existing CPIs relate to DQ services.

    by next meeting

    Discharged. These are unlikely to impact 118 services as the providers will be to small to trigger measurement.



    Raise in IWG how 118 numbers should be presented on Phone Bill

    by next meeting

    3 responses have been received. Oftel will pursue others.



    AC, Oftel

    To take the issue of refunds for payphone customers to DQ IWG.

    By next meeting




    IW, BT

    Send draft copy of the Phone Book leaflet to Caroline Wallace for distribution to the Consumer Group

    When ready



  5. Any Other Business
  6. MK (NIACT) asked if the TAC’s could have details of the complaint handling numbers. Oftel agreed to try and make these available.

    DC (CMA) asked whether it was known if the consumer associations would be running research. PW (ICSTIS) advised that Which? Will be running an article on 118 services in December 2002 and will be seeking feedback from their readers.

  7. Arrangements for next meeting

The next meeting date is proposed for Tuesday 4th February 2003 at 2.00pm at Oftel.

Ian Watson

November 19th 2002

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