on 04-10-2008 22:47
Best of luck to you.
on 05-10-2008 02:31
We are talking about regular landline numbers (020, 0161, 0121, etc) that forward to VoIP systems. These numbers are increasingly being used by companies and home users alike as business or even home landline numbers, and so O2 have NO right to block any of these numbers.
O2 had better not be doing the blocking you describe above as they can land themselves into trouble (as you said, breach of contract), and above all, there is no possible way they can control or enfoce such a ridiculous thing.
I use a local Manchester number to phone my wife abroad, this number obviously forwards via VoIP to her wherever she is. If O2 would be so silly as to block this number, I would simply get a new number to forward to my wife's location. These numbers are local and only cost around £2 per month, and are as easy to change as socks. Therefore, O2's little whim is completely unenforceable.
Oh, and I've been using this number from my mobile for a couple of years now, no word from O2 (not that I expected to hear anything from them anyway).
Besides, going back to the breach of contract, they have no way of proving that a certain phone number forwards to a VoIP service, and even if it does, they have no way of proving it forwards abroad. For example, my own home landline number is in fact VoIP, so I could be calling my home all the time for all they know, in which case they would have blocked my home number and land themselves into the trouble mentioned above.
Even if they try to block whole ranges of numbers (again, silly thing to do as most of them will be real home numbers), there are sooooooo many VoIP companies offering such numbers that they will be forced to block a substantial percentage of all landline numbers in use today.
There is absolutely nothing wrong, illegal, immoral or even 'underground' about using this kind of VoIP services to phone internationally at affordable rates. If there is anything immoral and wrong that would be any person or telecom network who try, by any means, to restrict customers' access to these freely available services in order for said customers to use the telecom networks own, highly-priced services instead. Apart from immoral and wrong, this could also get to be illegal if such practices result in breach of contract and like legal mishaps.
Come to think of it, perhaps it'd be good if O2 blocked my wife's local number... Then I could take legal action, get out of my contract and keep my N95 for free
on 05-10-2008 02:38
Just look for SIP providers and DID (Direct Inbound Dialling) numbers on the net and you will find loads of services you can use, all with UK local numbers that are given to you and belong only to you for however long you pay them for (i.e. not public access numbers).
on 05-10-2008 03:00
due to a very small minority who abused the 08numbers as international access numbers which was costing O2 millions
What's costing O2 millions?!?
Let's take a present-day example. If I call number 0161-0000001 which is, say, my friend who is in Manchester, I can talk to him for all my 400 inclusive minutes per month and I will not get charged anything other than my monthly contract charge. This isn't costing O2 anything more than my monthly charge - in fact, it costs O2 less, as they have to have a profit (otherwise they wouldn't give it to me at this price).
Now, if I call number 0161-00000002, which happens to be, say, my other friend's number, who is in Australia and gets the call via VoIP forwarding, again I can talk to him for all my 400 inclusive minutes and get charged only my monthly charge again as normal. Again this is costing O2 exactly the same amount as when I called my friend in Manchester. No more. Not even a penny more.
So much for costs.
Now if you are not in fact talking about costs, but you are talking about potential earnings, then things change.
In this case, perhaps in the second example where I phone my friend in Australia, O2 has a lot more potential earnings but they are losing it because they are not competitive enough to get my business.
It should be clear that they are not losing any money they already have. They could only lose money they already have if, for example, I could find a way to hack their network so that instead of 400 minutes I could use 100000 minutes for free.
But in our case, they are simply not making money they could make. And that happens simply because of competition. International calls nowadays are a very competitive business, in which many VoIP companies who play it right are making a lot of money. If O2 is not playing it right, they are just going to lose that kind of business to other competitors who can make better offers - that's competition in a free market.
On a footnote supportive to the telecoms, O2 and all established carrier providers are perfectly well-positioned to provide VoIP services themselves if they wanted to. They can certainly get to grips with the technology and knowledge all these newly-sprang-up VoIP companies seem to have in abundance, and then compete with them, i.e. offer VoIP services to their already huge customer base.
They wouldn't even have to market them as such. They would only have to install the systems in place, then offer cheap international calls on a par with VoIP companies. I am sure the overwhelming majority of mobile customers would prefer O2's international call service, which would have you do no weird tricks to phone abroad (get applications, forwarding numbers, calling cards, PINs, add credit online etc), rather than the cumbersome VoIP services that require you to do all the aforementioned work in order to phone abroad affordably.
on 05-10-2008 13:34
If anyone can recommend a good alternative for calling an Australian mobile that can utilise my 'unlimited' UK landline call allowance (HA! unlimited my foot) please let me know!
on 05-10-2008 13:47
First you could say, plain and simple, that you have a problem: you can't get through to such and such number. What do they say in that case? Do they say "no sir you are wrong, you CAN get through to these numbers"?
Then just inform them that this is unacceptable and you are contacting Ofcom straight away to investigate.
As for alternatives, checkout TruPhone (look for it on google and it will come up). If you cannot get that to work (it's an application that needs installing on your phone), PM me for other solutions.
on 05-10-2008 14:40
I'm pretty sure they will block the Glasgow numbers eventually, and probably all the other UK-based Rebtel access numbers once they see me using them, so I feel it's important to inform Ofcom of this deceitfulness as soon as I can!
on 05-10-2008 20:06
Before someone jumps up with comments like "it's in O2's policy that they may exclude from your inclusive minutes allowance calls made to any number ranges which O2 reasonably believes are being used for call forwarding services", they have no legally sound way of believing a certain number or number range is being used for forwarding, as VoIP numbers can be forwarding to the house next door for all they know, and it's very easy for each individual user to set this forwarding for themselves.
Therefore, any such argument from O2 that they believe such and such number are being used to forward abroad simply cannot stand against a customer's word that "they don't".
The EU is already hot on mobile networks' tails regarding their disproportionately high roaming charges, and indeed the EU is winning by gradually forcing mobile networks to reduce charges, bit by bit.
O2 and the rest of the gang need to be reminded that it wouldn't take much for the EU to take notice of this appalling way they are trying to stamp out the competition and act accordingly - surely nobody in the mobile networks' management wants it to get to that level.
Ultimately, it is indeed all about competition. If O2 is blocking this number range as you say, then they are actually acting against competition rules and legislation by preventing their customers legitimate access to competitive cheaper services and by forcing them to use their own, higher-priced service instead. If this is the case, then O2's policy is irrelevant as the policy itself may well be found illegal should the matter escalate to reach a court of law.
on 06-10-2008 01:15
You've only proved that another area works and jumped to an incorrect conclusion at this point. Are you sure that the Rebtel network wasn't down in the London area?
I have tried my Rebtel numbers from a friends O2 account and it connects fine, have tried from my spare Virgin Mobile phone, a Vodaphone, an Orange, and several landlines - no problems there either. It's only my O2 account that cannot access these numbers and Rebtel numbers are the only numbers I can't access
He did say he tried from another O2 phone and from other mobile and landline networks and the numbers worked.
on 06-10-2008 11:45
Have any of you actually read you your terms and conditions. It is not O2 that is breach of contract but it is yourself. For example,
PAY MONTHLY TARIFF TERMS (July 2008)
Unless a data or BlackBerry Bolt On is taken, your tariff will include O2 Web Daily under which data will be charged at £3 per MB up to a maximum of £1 per day (00:00am to 23:59pm). Once you have reached your maximum daily charge of £1, O2 Web Daily allows you unlimited use of Telefónica O2 UK Limited's Edge/GPRS/ 3G networks (as applicable to your handset), for personal internet use via your mobile phone. All usage must be for your private, personal and non-commercial purposes.
You may not use your SIM Card:
in, or connected to, any other device including modems;
to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable Voice over Internet (Voip), P2P or file sharing; or
in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other O2 customers.
If O2 reasonably suspects you are not acting in accordance with this policy O2 reserves the right to impose further charges, impose network protection controls which may reduce your speed of transmission or disconnect your tariff at any time, having attempted to contact you first.
***This section itself is repeated 4 times throughout the pay monthly terms and conditions so it cannot be overlooked!***
Inclusive Minutes and Call Charges
Inclusive minutes on O2 Pay Monthly tariffs can be used for calls made in the UK to:
standard UK landlines (starting 01, 02 or 03); and
07 numbers allocated to UK mobile network operators that provide mobile services with substantial national coverage (this currently includes the five major operators O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3, and providers such as Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile and BT Fusion),
all provided that O2 may exclude from your inclusive minutes allowance calls made to any number ranges which O2 reasonably believes are being used for call forwarding services, onward calling services or numbers that pay a revenue share.
All tariffs include access to voicemail menus and voicemail retrieval at no extra charge. Calls to voicemail are not decremented from your inclusive allowance. Calls to selected telephone helplines are also free of charge and not decremented from your inclusive allowance.
4. Things we may have to do
(c) bar certain numbers from the Service on a temporary or permanent basis in order to prevent fraud or in circumstances where we would suffer a direct loss.
These are the terms and conditions that you agreed to. On the basis of that agreement then O2 allow you to use the network and to hold your contract with them.
By taking legal action then you are openly admitting that you are breaching the T&Cs so O2 can then legally serve you with a notice of disconnection. They can then disconnect your account but you would still be liable for the line rental charges until your contract was due to expire.
Whether you want to use Voip or feel that you should be allowed access to this service is completely irrevelant. O2 clearly state that in no way they support this and you should not have agreed to the T&Cs if you werent going to abide by them.
O2 and many other network take a hard stance on these international access services because depending on the set up they can cost the network a substantial amount of money. TMobile generally block a wider range of these numbers and 3 will simply charge you outright. In the US, the network AT&T had successful raised lawsuits against such third parties that offer free or cheap calls.
O2 can tell when a number is being used for call forwarding services. The technology used by network can be very sopshicated. There are so many of these numbers that O2 do not target each individual account so rather than charge you or disconnect the account they block the access numbers themselves but should they charge you outright they are within there rights to do so.
If you are breaching your side of the T&Cs then why should O2 have to abide by them. Why dont they just reduce your allowance and double you call costs because they feel that they should be allowed too? Yes Voip may be the way forward in the future and calls internationally should be cheaper but considering i can call anywhere in the USA/Canada and Europe cheaper than i can call my local UK bank thats not to bad going...
By abusing the system. It has consequences for everybody else. Such as 08numbers now being chargeable or increased charges elsewhere to cover any costs.
You should leave O2 and approach different networks to find there stance of these calls because currently O2 do not support what you are looking for. Any legal advice will tell you the same as it is stated in your T&Cs.