Review of the 070 personal numbering range
1.1 Numbers beginning with 070 have been designated as Personal Numbering Services (PNS)[ (-1-)].
1.2 Historically, Ofcom, and before that, Oftel, have had continuing concerns about abuses of the 070 number range and have sought to tackle the problems through enforcement action and in a number of reviews.
1.3 Amongst the recommendations in Ofcom’s review of telephone numbering (Safeguarding the future of numbers[ (-2-)]) in 2006, Ofcom stated its intention to close the 070 range and migrate users to the 06 range. This was based on a very high level of consumer complaints in late 2005 which arose as a result of significant scamming activity on the 070 range. Since that time, the number of complaints about 070 numbers has fallen and, in particular, since PhonepayPlus has started to take enforcement action in this area. That said, the level of complaints for the range remains high relative to 070 call volumes and scamming activity appears to continue on this range.
1.4 We consulted on our proposals on 15 October 2008. We have taken into account responses received as well as updated complaints data in finalising our analysis. This document sets out our conclusions.
1.5 Overall, an assessment of the current level of consumer detriment associated with the range together with an assessment of the costs associated with migration leads to the conclusion that closing the range is not, at present, the most suitable option. In particular, it is not clear that current consumer detriment would be reduced significantly by migration of PNS to another number range, as it is likely that price confusion and scamming activity would persist on any new range that PNS is migrated to.Our assessment of the costs associated with migration indicates that these would heavily outweigh any benefits from reduced consumer detriment. Nonetheless, we will monitor the level of detriment associated with these numbers and leave open the option of revisiting the matter, if the situation changes.
1.6 We have decided to impose a number of other measures which we consider more appropriate in light of the detriment that currently exists:
- support and monitor the current enforcement programme being carried out by PhonepayPlus. Since May 2008 PhonepayPlus has made 10 adjudications relating to 070 numbers with fines totalling £625,000 and this activity appears to have had a significant impact on 070 complaints;
- require originating communications providers to publish their tariffs for calls to 070 numbers more prominently and to make them easier to understand for consumers, thereby improving the level of pricing transparency associated with 070 numbers; and
- provide new guidance to ensure PNS providers who sub-allocate 070 numbers carry out due diligence of sub-allocatees in order to ensure that sub-allocatees comply with the provisions of General Condition 17 and the National Telephone Numbering Plan.
1.7 In addition, we have removed the requirement for pre-call announcements on this range, which we requested operators to carry out in December 2007, due to the impact on alarm systems and associated risks to life and property.
1.- The formal definition of these services, as set out in the National Telephone Numbering Plan (the “Numbering Plan”) is: “a service based on number translation that enables End-Users to be called or otherwise contacted, using a single Personal Telephone Number, and to receive those calls or other communications at almost any Telephone Number, including Mobile Numbers.” Further definitions can be found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/ioi/numbers/numplan170608.pdf
The full document is available below