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EDITOR’S BLOG 29-10-15 Another one bites the dust?

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Hello and Happy Thursday! More trouble for the UK telemedia market. The unbundling of the NGCS that came into effect on 1 July seemed on the face of it to be none too onerous. Transit charges were moved from the originating to the terminating operator, which wasn’t ideal but could be lived with. Now BT has doubled the tariff and added an extra ‘pence per call’ element on top of that.

This has thrown all manner of low cost number ranges effectively into the bin – they are now more costly to terminate than they yield in service charges.

Many within the industry are looking at challenging this move and AIME speaks for everyone when it, rather straight lacedly says that the impact this would have has been considered… quite.

Let’s be clear here. These aren’t a load of high-rate adult things that are being hit: this is going to hit the call centres and helplines of the world. Things normal people use all the time.

This is a very curious move.

There does right now seem to be a war against PRS going on. The 120 day rule and associated issues that we have covered over the past few weeks had the industry if not on its knees, then had its knees a-trembling. This latest move further weakens the business case for these services.

Clearly consumers like them, even though they are not seen as a cash cow for the operators so why be so hard on them? At a time when consumers are facing the prospect of no roaming charges right across Europe in 2017, it seems that at home they can’t use the services they want to because they are being made so hard to run that no one will want to offer them.

The cost will get passed on to the consumer who will see an 80% price hike in the cost of calls to these numbers. The PRS industry will get the blame, People will stop using them – it is an absurd move and one I can’t fathom.

Usually I would offer some invective as to how big carriers see themselves as brands and don’t want to be tarnished by poor services etc… I may even put on my Stalin t-shirt and start railing against the rampant capitalism that this move invokes – the long predicted end game of capitalism where it simply eats itself.

But I won’t. What’s the point? Maybe it is just the dying off of an old world order? Maybe the transformation to a wifi powered, Apple-centric world has begun and obviates the need for these services so we may as well bin them? Maybe BT just wants to milk the last of the cash from this while it can?

It is madness. Simple services that are used by millions and which really do assist businesses of all stripes are being profiteered out of the market. It can’t be just to make a quick buck, but right now I don’t see why else this is being done.

And on the virtual eve of World Telemedia Prague too. Well at least it gives us something to talk about there.

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