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Review of Non-Geographic Numbers – Response to Consultation and Draft Decision – ComReg 18/65

ComReg has published its Response to Consultation (ComReg 18/65) which is a response to consultation 17/70 including a draft decision on proposed measures to improve the effectiveness of the NGN platform in Ireland. The review covers five types of NGNs (1800, 1850, 1890, 0818, and 076) which are used to provide telephone services such which are used to provide telephone services such as charity helplines, telephone banking and customer services.

In its first consultation, ComReg set out its preliminary view that certain issues with the NGN platform, as currently structured, are resulting in consumer harm, particularly:

  • retail tariffs for NGN calls are not sufficiently transparent and consumers often do not know, or are unable to estimate, the likely cost of a call to an NGN;
  • many consumers do not understand the differences between the five classes of NGNs; and
  • retail tariffs for NGN calls can be high, particularly for NGN calls made from mobile phones, and because most NGN calls are not included in consumers’ “bundles” of call minutes.

It would appear that a significant number of consumers are deterred from calling NGNs, or else they call them reluctantly and only where necessary (i.e. where they have no other option). ComReg remains of the view that this is to the detriment of consumers generally and, in particular, to those who may be financially and/or socially vulnerable. There is also a negative impact on the many organisations which use NGNs to provide services.

ComReg remains of the preliminary view that the following two measures are justified and proportionate, in order to address the issues outlined above in an effort to eliminate or reduce the resulting consumer harm:

  1. introduce a new ‘Geo-Linked’ retail tariff measure for the 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076 NGNs; and
  2. reduce the number of NGN types from five (1800, 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076) to two (1800 and 0818).

Please find the Response to Consultation here ComReg 18/65 Response to Consultation  Review of Non-Geographic Numbers

ComReg invites and welcomes the views of all interested parties and will consider all information submitted to it on foot of this further consultation that will run until 22 August 2018.

Please note the date for responses to this consultation has passed.

 

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