Dispute between Cable & Wireless and BT about BT’s NTS call termination charges for ported numbers

03 June 2010

Dispute between: Cable & Wireless plc (C&W) and British Telecommunications plc (BT)
Case opened: 2 February 2010
Case closed: 2 June 2010
Issue: C&W asked Ofcom to resolve a dispute under section 185(1) of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) between C&W and BT in relation to the charges set and paid by BT for calls to 0845/0870 numbers ported between C&W and BT as notified by NCCN500 on 1 April 2004 and effective from 1 May 2004 until 31 December 2005. 
Relevant instrument:  Ofcom resolved this dispute using its powers under Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Act.

On 2 June 2010, Ofcom issued a final determination under sections 188 and 190 of the Act resolving this dispute. A non-confidential version of the determination is available under related items.

Update note 11 May 2010

On 10 May 2010, Ofcom issued a draft determination in relation to this dispute (please see related item). Ofcom will be consulting on its proposals until 5 pm on 24 May 2010.

Please submit responses by this date to:

Paul Dean
Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA

Or by e-mail to paul.dean@ofcom.org.uk

End of update note

This dispute concerns allegations by C&W that the way that BT implemented NCCN500 contravened the provisions of the Standard Interconnect Agreement and General Condition 18 in respect of the treatment of calls to NTS numbers ported between C&W and BT.C&W considers that, as a result of this conduct, C&W made overpayments to BT, and BT made underpayments to C&W during the period when NCCN500 was effective.

Ofcom considers that, on the face of the referral, there appears to be a dispute between the parties that commercial negotiations have failed to resolve. Ofcom considers that the dispute meets the relevant statutory criteria and it is appropriate for Ofcom to handle it in accordance with section 186 of the Act.  Ofcom has accordingly accepted this dispute for resolution.
In resolving disputes Ofcom must act in accordance with the six Community requirements that give effect to Article 8 of the Framework Directive.
In summary, those requirements are:

  • to promote competition in communications markets;
  • to secure that Ofcom contributes to development of the European internal market;
  • to promote the interests of all European Union citizens;
  • to act in a manner which, so far as practicable, is technology-neutral;
  • to encourage, to the extent Ofcom considers it appropriate, the provision of network access and service interoperability; and
  • to encourage such compliance with certain international standards as is necessary for facilitating service interoperability and securing freedom of choice for the customers of communications providers.

Scope of the dispute: The scope of the dispute is to determine whether BT should pay to C&W an adjustment for potential overpayments made by BT to C&W and potential underpayments made by BT to C&W, plus interest, for calls to ported NTS numbers in the period 1 May 2004 to 31 December 2005, as a result of the approach taken by BT covering payments for calls to ported NTS numbers in this period; and if so, the level of that adjustment.

Procedural matters: Guidance on the resolution of the dispute can be found in Ofcom’s Guidelines for the handling of competition complaints, and complaints and disputes about breaches of conditions imposed under the EU Directives.  See http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/enforcement

All representations on the scope of the dispute should be submitted to Ofcom by 5 pm on 9 February 2010.

Stakeholders interested in the outcome of this dispute should notify Ofcom by 5 pm on 9 February 2010 describing the relevance of the outcome of the dispute to their business.

Stakeholders with information and evidence relevant to this dispute should submit this to Ofcom by 23 February 2010.

Stakeholders who wish Ofcom to join them as parties to the dispute must provide evidence that they are in dispute, as set out in Ofcom’s Guidelines.

Case Leader: Paul Dean ( e-mail: paul.dean@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/01037/10/09