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Oftel gets tough over prefix charges

Unless BT and the other network operators reach agreement on the costs, Oftel will impose them itself
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Telco watchdog Oftel announced Tuesday that it will impose charges for permanent carrier pre-selection (PCPS or CPS), if telecoms companies fail to agree costs amongst themselves.

PCPS makes it easier for customers to benefit from the cheapest call deals available from competing telecom networks. Currently companies such as Quip promise cheaper overseas calls, but users must dial a three or four digit prefix when dialling from a BT line. PCPS will automatically route telephone calls onto different networks specified by the customer.

Prefix numbers are widely used by ISPs to earn extra revenue from BT in order to offer unmetered Internet access.

Albera Networks was commissioned by Oftel to study BT's cost proposals for implementing CPS, which is due to roll out in December 2000. Albera concluded that many of BT's projected costs were reasonable, but recommended that some charges be reviewed after CPS is implemented.

Oftel understands that negotiations between BT and other operators are proceeding well, but is prepared to determine charges should these negotiations break down.

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