Alleged winback call by BT towards a Carrier Pre-Selection ("CPS") customer

25 February 2005

Complainant: Tele2
Complaint against: BT
Case opened: 9 February 2004
Case closed: 26 April 2004
Issue: Winback call made by BT to a Tele2 CPS customer alleged to be a breach of BT's obligations under General Condition 1.2.
Relevant instrument: Communications Act 2003, General Condition 1.2

Tele2 alleged that a call made by BT to one of Tele2's existing customers on 16 January 2004 was an attempt by BT to winback the customer.

As the customer in this instance had already transferred to Tele2, Ofcom investigated Tele2's complaint as an allegation that BT may have breached the General Condition 1.2. which prohibits the use of certain information provided in the context of negotiating Network Access and/or interconnection arrangements for purposes other than for which the information was supplied.

As part of its investigation into this complaint, Ofcom used its formal powers under section 135 of the Communications Act 2003 (the "Act") to obtain a set of statements from BT regarding their methodology for making CPS winback calls. Under the same powers, Ofcom also obtained from BT a transcript of the phone conversation of 16 January 2004 which triggered Tele2's complaint.

The above statements outlined BT's examination of periodic call patterns over a reasonable time period to produce a list of potential CPS winback calls. BT stated that its Retail business is using the Group's own call traffic information to identify CPS winback prospects for contact by the appropriate BT Retail department. BT also stated that this was the methodology they had used to make the call to the Tele2 customer which prompted the Ofcom investigation. Furthermore, BT has confirmed it is not using information from other communications providers in identifying and contacting winback prospects.

Ofcom believes this information provides a satisfactory and credible explanation regarding the context of the call.

Therefore, Ofcom believes it has no evidence that BT was using information acquired from another communications provider in breach of General Condition 1.2 to make the call on 16 January 2004. On this basis, Ofcom does not have reasonable grounds to believe that BT is contravening the General Condition in this instance. Before taking enforcement action under section 94 of the Act, Ofcom must be satisfied that a communications provider has breached this threshold.

Ofcom has therefore closed its investigation.

Case Leader: Steve Burniston (e-mail: Steve.Burniston@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00747/01/04

Text published when the case was opened

Alleged winback call by BT towards a Carrier Pre-Selection ("CPS") customer

Complainant: Tele2
Complaint against: BT
Case opened: 9 February 2004
Issue: Alleged winback call by BT to a CPS customer in breach of BT's obligations under General Condition 1.2.
Relevant instrument: Communications Act 2003, General Condition 1.2

Tele2 alleges that BT contacted one of its existing CPS customers on 16 January 2004. Tele2 alleges that this call breached the Carrier Pre-Selection Save Notification issued by Oftel on 7 November 2003.

Ofcom notes that the CPS Save Notification concerned "save" activity, which covers the 10-day period prior to customer transferring their business to another communications provider. In this complaint, the customer had already transferred to Tele 2. Therefore, the alleged call from BT appears to be "winback" activity - an attempt by BT to regain the customer's business. Ofcom has characterised Tele2's complaint as an allegation that that BT may be in breach of General Condition 1.2 in carrying out "winback" activity.

Ofcom notes that BT has recently appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal regarding the CPS Save Notification. The outcome of that appeal may or may not have an impact on how General Condition 1.2 should be interpreted as a matter of law.

Case Leader: Steve Burniston (e-mail: Steve.Burniston@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00747/01/04