Potentially the most important change is the proposal to end revenue sharing on 0870 numbers from February 2008. This will mean that businesses will have the choice of continuing to use their existing 0870 numbers and start paying for the calls received or face the daunting prospect of having to migrate to new number ranges. Either way this will mean significant cost and upheaval to the businesses concerned.
The impact on businesses should not be under-estimated. Loss of revenue share coupled with the prospect of now having to pay for 0870 call delivery could amount to many thousands of pounds. Similarly, the cost and effort in promoting new contact numbers to customers and suppliers could be even higher. Having to re-print and update brochures, headed paper, business cards, websites, signage etc with new contact numbers may again run into many thousands of pounds.
If businesses do choose to migrate to new NTS number ranges the choice is not simple. Ofcom have opened up a new 0370 range specifically for migration, but it is very likely this range will result in charges for call delivery and 0370 numbers will not be available to callers from outside the UK. Some businesses may well look at migrating to 0871 numbers, where revenue share would still be available, but this range will now be monitored by the premium rate regulator ICSTIS and this could result in a number of restrictions such as not being able to queue inbound calls.
There is no doubt the area is very complex and businesses should seek independent advice on the best numbering strategy to suit their identified needs. There is one website that aims to help businesses understand the regulatory changes and provides advice on the options available and the best way to manage the changes effectively.
The 0870 Advice website was set up as a joint initiative by Gold Numbers Ltd and Performance Telecom Ltd to help their existing customers to manage the change. It is now available to all UK businesses and offers a wealth of information and advice on the subject. There is also an opportunity to obtain specific, targeted advice from their team of experts.
If you are one of the 600,000 UK businesses that currently use 0870 numbers and want to be fully prepared for the future make sure you visit www.0870advice.com