Dispute between: THUS plc (“THUS”), COLT Telecommunications ("COLT") and British Telecommunications plc (“BT”)

26 May 2005

Case opened: 1 March 2005
Case closed: 25 May 2005

Issue: THUS, COLT and BT were in dispute regarding the extension of Signalling Transfer Point (“STP”) working for all call types. As a result of failure to resolve the matter through commercial negotiation, THUS referred the matter to Ofcom for resolution. COLT was subsequently added as a party to the dispute.
Relevant instrument: Ofcom intended to resolve this dispute under Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Communications Act 2003

THUS and COLT have withdrawn this dispute. Ofcom therefore closed the case on 25 May 2005.

Text published when the case was opened

Dispute between: THUS plc (“THUS”) and British Telecommunications plc (“BT”)

Case opened: 1 March 2005
Issue: THUS and BT are in dispute regarding the extension of Signalling Transfer Point (“STP”) working for all call types. As a result of failure to resolve the matter through commercial negotiation, THUS has referred the matter to Ofcom for resolution.
Relevant instrument: Ofcom intends to resolve this dispute under Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Communications Act 2003

Update note - 22 March 2005
Ofcom has received a request from COLT Telecommunications ("COLT") to be joined as a party to this dispute. It appears to Ofcom that COLT is in dispute with BT regarding the extension of Signalling Transfer Point ("STP") working to all call types, and therefore COLT has been added as a party to this dispute.

The scope of the dispute has been amended as set out below:

The scope of this dispute is to determine:

  1. whether BT is obliged to provide STP working for all call types, as requested by THUS and COLT;
  2. whether BT should be permitted to make an additional charge for providing STP working for all call types; and
  3. whether BT should be required to remedy any net overpayment or extra expenses THUS and COLT claim they have incurred due to BT's refusal to provide the service requested.

Ofcom does not intend to determine within the scope and timetable of this dispute:

  1. the level of any additional charge, if any, made by BT for STP working for all call types, if Ofcom concluded that it may be reasonable for BT to make an additional charge for providing STP working for all call types.

End of Update note

STPs are used to provide improved utilisation of the signalling network by eliminating the need for direct links between signalling end points (switches) and enabling aggregation and efficient distribution of signalling links. BT currently provides STP working for all dial-IP and voice 07xx and 08xx calls.

In order for THUS to optimise use of its own network to achieve efficiency savings, THUS has requested BT to extend STP working to other call types, namely:

1xxx (Indirect Access) calls from BT's network to THUS’s network;

8xxx (Carrier Pre-Select) calls from BT's network to THUS’s network;

09xx (Premium Rate Services) calls from BT’s network to THUS’s network; and

01xx and 02xx (geographic egress) calls from THUS's network to BT’s network.

THUS believes that its request for STP working to be extended to the call types set out above is a reasonable request which BT is obliged to meet in accordance with SMP condition AA1.

BT has argued that the timescales, reconfiguration and costs involved, together with BT’s DLE closure programme, make the extension of STP working, as requested by THUS, unviable.

Scope of the dispute:

The scope of this dispute is to determine:

a. whether BT is obliged to provide STP working for all call types, as requested by THUS;

b. whether BT should be permitted to make an additional charge for providing STP working for all call types; and

c. whether BT should be required to remedy any net overpayment Thus claims it has suffered due to BT's refusal to provide the service requested.

Ofcom does not intend to determine within the scope and timetable of this dispute:

a. the level of any additional charge, if any, made by BT for STP working for all call types, if Ofcom concluded that it may be reasonable for BT to make an additional charge for providing STP working for all call types.

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. Please see related items.

All representations on the scope of the dispute should be submitted to Ofcom by 8 March 2005. Stakeholders interested in the outcome of this dispute should notify Ofcom by 8 March 2005 describing the relevance of the outcome of the dispute to their business.

Stakeholders with relevant information and evidence in respect of this dispute should submit this to Ofcom by 22 March 2005.

Case Leader: Ruth Gibson (e-mail:Ruth.Gibson@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00818/02/05