This statement sets out the decision of the Office of Communications ('Ofcom') in relation to retail pricing arrangements for calls from the BT network to 0845 and 0870 'number translation services' (NTS) numbers. Ofcom is publishing this statement as a result of Oftel's public consultation on this issue, which was launched in September 2003. Oftel's consultation document was published in response to two different sets of concerns. Firstly, Oftel was aware of growing consumer concerns about prices for these calls being uncertain and possibly misleading, particularly when advertised as being 'local rate' or 'national rate' calls. Secondly, there were also industry concerns that the current BT retail pricing arrangements for these calls (in particular the link between 0845/0870 calls and BT's standard retail price for geographic local and national calls) resulted in revenue uncertainty for Communications Providers that terminate these calls.
Following consideration of the consultation responses and detailed economic, legal and technical analysis, and mindful of recent industry developments, Ofcom has decided to implement a slightly modified version of the option known as Option 1(b) in the consultation document. This includes the following measures:
Ofcom is also carrying out a further statutory consultation on a proposed change to the way that 084 and 087 number ranges are designated in the National Telephone Numbering Plan to make it clearer to the industry the basis on which these numbers are allocated. Ofcom is also carrying out a statutory consultation on the changes required to the telephone numbering application form for 08 numbers, should the proposed changes to the National Telephone Numbering Plan be implemented.