07624* is billed by Three and T-Mobile as an international text?

If this is accurate, it’s just ridiculous. Got it in via the anonymous form.

Here’s what I understand has been going on.

The 07624 UK number range is operated by Manx Telecom — the Isle of Man telecoms company.

For some reason, T-Mobile customers and Three customers are being charged international rates to send text messages to that block of numbers. How do I know this? Well, the anonymous commentary — there is a heck of a lot — indicates subscribers to those networks have been complaining and asking for clarification.

The number range is in use all over the place — as a quick Google search shows. Even the BBC News 24′s operates 07624 800 100 (bottom of the page on tha tlink).

Surely it’s a bit naughty for these operators to classify a number range that you, I and anyone else would recognise as thoroughly ‘British’ as an international rate text?

Can anyone shed any light on this? Are the end-users with the proof of this on their bills just a tiny exception? A temporary billing error?

,

  • http://blog.roam4free.ie Pat Phelan

    I cant be a thousand per cent sure Ewan but I think a lot of the UK based roaming sims also use this prefix.
    correct me if I am wrong?

  • http://adam-bird.blogspot.com Adam Bird

    Ewan, it’s the same for messages to Cable & Wireless Guernsey (CWG) and Jersey Telecom. They are classifed as Europe Zone 1 by T-Mobile

    In the case of Manx, I understand that they charge a 4p SMS interconnect fee to the mainland operators instead of the standard 3p. Which gives a bit of revenue for the aggregator but could explain why it costs the consumer more. However, I don’t believe this increased interconnect fee is required by the CWG and Jersey

    When speaking to Ofcom and the networks about this, it seems the non-mainland carriers are in a bit of a juristiction no-mans-land. It’s not just interconnect fees, for example Ofcom doesn’t require/enforced number portability between the mainland operators and non-mainland.

    We run thousands of virtual mobile numbers and it is for exactly this reason we try and stay clear of those provided by the non-mainland operators.

  • http://www.sendmytxt.co.uk Alex

    I feel sorry for the consumer. They get told ‘normal network rates’, even if it’s not said clearly they assume it. Then they get their bill, and voila.. it’s cost them a lot more to text than they were expecting.

    Ewan’s Google link provided a whole list of companies in mainland UK that use 07624 numbers. I mean, even the BBC have one.. how more ‘British’ can you get than that?

    No wonder this industry has such a bad reputation sometimes.. sigh

    Alex

  • Njar

    this will also effect voice calls – i.e. you mentioned Tyntec launching long codes for Voice and SMS. Some/all of the carriers will treat the voice call as international (or semi international)..

    It’s not really a secret as such, but it’s not exactly ideal.

  • http://www.technokitten.com technokitten

    I concur with Njar. It’s not news, it’s been going on ever since we’ve had text to win as the early ones pre-dated shortcodes. At that point, most of the long numbers provided were Jersey or Guernsey Telecom which when it comes to the UK are treated as ‘foreign’ (ditto the Isle of Man). And you were indeed charged 20p as your normal rate instead of 10p. And these weren’t usually included in your text bundle. Probably still aren’t as they’re ‘foreign’. Then again, if you text a short-code, it’s never part of your text bundle either.

    I agree it’s very misleading to customers.

    But as annoying is if you visit the Isle of Man (which I have done a lot in the past and plan to go again in the future, for it is a very pretty place) is that as a visitor using your mobile, you get charged a fortune on roaming charges on your mobile, but if you use a landline from the UK to the Isle of Man, it’s your normal long distance rate. And the numbers look just like local UK numbers. Grrr. It’s a quirk of the UK that neither the Channel Islands nor the Isle of Man are in the UK. They are in fact part of the British Isles. So they can do things as they see fit.

  • http://www.myadhan.com Nasser

    I actually worked this out a few years back when I was using http://www.csoft.co.uk as a 2-way SMS gateway when testing my services and also the reason why I dropped them.

    Here is the old email:

    From: Nasser Ahmed, 03 Nov 2004 19:42:24
    Subject: Issue 16343: 2 Way 07624 Number

    Description: After getting my service 2 way live, I recently got a bill back from my mobile operator stating that 07624 is charged as an International premium text message. Thinking this was just my provider I checked up on the 07624 prefix to find out that its actually a Manx Telecom number from the Isle of man. This is not good at all as all my advertising and promo material states the number is a UK number charged at UK rates, which in fact it’s not. I need to change this number ASAP with a full refund of my setup and monthly rental paid. I’m not too happy that this wasn’t stated up front in the signup for the 2 Way service, along with all the adverting and promo material which has been paid for and printed up for distribution. This is in fact, one big mess I need sorted out ASAP.

    As you can see I was a little upset…

  • http://www.myadhan.com Nasser

    My Analysis back then showed the following charges for the 07624 prefix text messages:

    TMobile: 0.20p
    Vodafone: 0.24p
    Virgin: 0.20p
    O2: 0.25p
    Orange: 0.14p

    None of the operators include messages to 07624 in text bundles or free texts.

  • APA

    The main problem here is that Ofcom doesn’t feel responsible for whatever reasons. But they definitively should protect consumer interests. And as the Isle of Man is part of the UK number range and very closely linked to the UK in many ways, I can’t see how Ofcom can get away with their wait and see approach.

    No consumer can expect to be charged higher fees for sending SMS or for calling the IOM than he/she will be charged for the same services to any other UK operator.

    That’s the bottom line and it’s about time to draw some public attention on this fraudulent behaviour of the respective UK operators.

  • John

    Nasser has hit the nail right on the head.

    Messages to channel island telcos et al are charged to other operators at a high termination rate – consequently they can pass a higher revenue share on to their customers (the BBC) than other companies using mainland long number routes.

    The question is – do Manx and the others explain to their customers (the BBC) why this is the case, and that messages are being charged at a higher rate? The BBC (who are normally whiter than white) don’t tell the views this, so I’d guess that these companies are mis-representing the business.

  • John

    APA,

    ironically, if OFCOM did come in an sort out the termination rates between the mainland the channel islands/mann, then manx and the others would lose a load of their business because they wouldn’t offer such attractive revenue shares. Problem solved, but not in the way you might have expected.

  • http://reassuredgmail.com Njar

    Actually on Orange and O2, the SMS can come out of one’s bundle. It’s a matter of shortcode configuration. Usually costs 12p to Voda, 10p to Three, T-Mobile and Virgin, and either ‘talk-plan’ or 10/12p to O2 and Orange. But on balance and in working practice SMS into shortcodes don’t come out of inc texts. You can of course now run ‘free-text’ services which mimic the idea of 0800 numbers. They’ve only recently become available cross net.

  • Mark

    In a similar vein, I was somewhat surprised to see my bill after making calls to a client in Alderney. Three had charged me for ‘international’ calls, even though the STD code is thoroughly UK-looking. I recognise that there’s a geographical element to this, but surely that’s a small cost for the networks to swallow to avoid upsetting customers who think they’re phoning the UK as part of their bundled minutes?

    I’m a big fan of Three (esp X-Series) but this one counts as a black mark against it!

  • http://www.itagg.com steve procter

    This is indeed old news. However iTAGG started pressing over a year ago for the range we use via Jersey to be treated as national rate rather than the international rate. 3UK came on board with this last year, leaving just poor old T Mobile back at evening class doing a Geography GCSE retake.

    steve/itagg.com

  • http://www.sendmytxt.co.uk Alex

    John,

    AFAIK the interworking between the islands and the UK networks is 3p. The exception is T-Mobile, which is 4p, and Three, which is, bizarrely, nowt.

    If T-Mobile are paying Manx et al 4p+VAT, where is the justification for charging at international rate? I can understand some true international destinations being expensive as the interworking can reach the giddy heights of 8-10p. However, at worse case scenario having to ‘spend’ 1p more but doubling how much they charge the end user is just not cricket.

    Now this is the point where someone pipes up about Vodafone and Orange and how much they charge for their MSISDNs versus the Islands.. I can’t mention figures as it’s all under the usual NDAs but it’s safe to say the cost for a ‘mainland’ MSISDN seems to be a lot higher than the Islands.

    Alex

  • http://www.sendmytxt.co.uk Alex

    Steve, re: T-Mobile, it’s a Hertfordshire thing. I’m surprised they can find the way out their own offices in Hatfield without getting lost, let alone figure out where Jersey is :)

    Says the man who even after a year living in Hertfordshire regularly gets lost around Hatfield and its myriad of roundabouts, and used to think til not that long ago that Jersey was just off the coast of Cornwall..!

  • http://reassuredgmail.com Njar

    John – Rev share on channel island long numbers isn’t the reason they’ve been used. Commercials to run them, set up speed and availability are greater reasons. Vodafone UK will outpay revenue on big mobile numbers (subject to some terms). Besides just because some of the UK networks treat channel islands/manx as offshore, it doesn’t mean that they themselves have been getting charged more to deliver to them – i.e. there’s no more revenue to be paid out, since it stays with the UK carriers and isn’t passed on.

    The T-Mobile thing is for a different reason Steve. More to do with continuity of internetworking fee agreements across the T-Mobile group. The situation won’t be changing any time soon either.

  • http://www.itagg.com steve procter

    roundabouts in herts!!! Oh god yes I remember why I left. That one that has 4 mini roundabouts on a big one – and you effectively go round them the wrong way. oh what a messed up place ;-)

    as for Jersey – is that the one in the irish sea? or am I thinking about Sky?

    steve/itagg.com

  • http://www.myadhan.com Nasser

    Just to mention the 07624 charges I quoted were from Novemebr 2004. They have more than likely changed now.

    Also, some of the FREETEXT services are still charging standard rate for outbound. I tried to text “Infomob” on 83248 which was mean’t to be free but charged me. I’m not sure who the provider is?

    The sad thing is even after 3ish years operators and still charging top whack for aledged UK mobile numbers. This could be discussed further but the bottom line is that the end customer is being mislead.

    Maybe Ewan should start a petition once he is fed up of his N95???

    Nasser :)

  • http://www.sendmytxt.co.uk Alex

    We taking bets on how long it’ll be before the word ‘arse’ appears in the same blog posting as ‘N95′? :)

    I don’t know how Ofcom would see this legally, as although these numbers are part of the UK numbering plan they’re not technically in the UK. Therefore the operators could claim they’re allowed to charge it as international. However, as so many SMS aggregators use these types of numbers, and they are ‘sold’ to all intents and purposes as standard UK mobile numbers, they might have to sit up and take interest.

    If the main UK operators made it a little bit easier to get hold of long numbers on their own networks at a half decent price, and perhaps with a bit of revenue share along the way, the whole industry wouldn’t be so fond of the offshore solution. I mean, it’s not just me is it? There’s not a huge amount of aggregators out there that I know of that offer Vodafone long numbers, or the like.

  • rich

    I was billed by 3 for txts to 07624*, I complained they said it was a billing error and credited the txts in the next bill.

  • Justin

    Quite frankly my opinion on the matter is that the Isle Of Man is a crown dependency, and is not a part of the UK. In the Isle Of Man goverment’s own words, and I quote;

    “As a Crown dependency, the ultimate responsibility for the government of the Island is vested in the Crown. By long standing convention, the U.K. Government does not legislate for the Island except with the specific consent of the Island’s Government. ”

    Hence why Ofcom cannot interfere.

    The Isle Of Man has also recently further strengthened it’s international identity (1st May 2007 – http://www.gov.im/lib/news/cso/internationalide.xml)

    Originally the Isle Of Man was included in the UK numbering scheme, and still is until this day, and I quote wikipedia;

    “The telephone service in the United Kingdom was originally provided by private companies and local councils. But by 1912–13 [2] all except the telephone service of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire and Guernsey had been bought out by the Post Office. The Post Office also operated telephone services in Jersey until 1923 and the Isle of Man until 1969 when the islands took over responsibility for their own postal and telephone services – although the Isle of Man remained part of British Telecom until 1987″

    I believe that like Ireland, the Isle Of Man should have it’s own country code, and be seperated from the UK numbering scheme once and for all, if it refuses to play fair ball.

    If it is part of the UK numbering scheme, it should be regulated by ofcom, the same as any of the mainland operators.

    Maybe the Isle Of Man should keep their 6 digit numbering scheme, and adopt the international dialling prexfix (+466) (IOM), because at the moment, as far as I can see, they are being (+27737′s)… I’ll let you work that out for yourselves.

  • http://www.sendmytxt.com Alex

    Guernsey and Jersey are international too, according to my latest T-Mobile bill.

    Isle of Wight and the Isle of Sheppey next in the masterplan from the geography committee in Hatfield?

  • domino

    I found this post because I’ve recently taken up a contract with Three that includes free texts, yet I’ve been charged 25p (inc VAT) for texts to Twitter, that come up as “Manx Mobile”. I had no idea these would not be included in my allowance.

    I shall follow Rich’s (comment 20) example and complain, but I feel duped – I took up this contract *because* of the free texts, knowing that I’d use them to send messages to Twitter.

    Thank you for posting this – at least I know now why I’ve been charged…

  • http://www.experimentalist.co.uk www.experimentalist.co.uk

    When i text a 07624 or 07624 number the texts come out my O2 free texts bundle. I am O2 pay as you go.

  • tia

    can anyone tell me if i call 07624 numbers from o2 network, will they charge the number as international or as a uk number? will i be able to use monthly free minutes to call that number? anyone have an idea? thanks

  • http://aql adam beaumont

    Hi Folks

    the high interconnect rates on non-mainland long numbers are a problem.

    However, your only other real choice if you want a “true” UK number is voda long numbers. We can offer these – there are only a handful of providers that can, – this is because (1) vodafone don’t have too many partners and (2) the connection to vodafone for this service is very complex.

    the market for long numbers is also changing – we’re open to negotiation on price depending on your usage model..

    cheers

    adam/aql

  • Jenni Lloyd

    Like Domino above I have just received a nasty surprise in my first 3 bill, as I am a Twitter user. I expected to be able to Twitter using the texts included in my plan – but have instead been charged 25p per text for sending international messages. Discussing it via the Indian call centre has not been an easy experience and I’m now looking for a way to escalate my complaint. Is this a legitimate charge or am I justified in seeking reimbursement? I feel as though I’ve been misled – any ideas?

  • Mike

    Oh come on!

    “I found this post because I’ve recently taken up a contract with Three that includes free texts, yet I’ve been charged 25p (inc VAT) for texts to Twitter, that come up as “Manx Mobile”. I had no idea these would not be included in my allowance.

    I shall follow Rich’s (comment 20) example and complain, but I feel duped – I took up this contract *because* of the free texts, knowing that I’d use them to send messages to Twitter”

    Did you ask 3 if Twitter texts were included? They’d probably not know how Twitter SMS are sent, and Twitter might change provider, you can hardly expect an MNO to track every possible service. Or would you have them automatically stop SMS sending/arriving if a service provider changed their aggregator? Maybe block the service/any service likely to be more pricey than normal?

    ‘Can ‘o’ Worms’ doesn’t do it justice….

    Mike

  • http://reassuredgmail.com njar

    anyone know anyone at Twitter? It would be easier to just get them to change to a proper UK carrier..

  • Ewan

    I’ll email them..

  • http://whatleydude.vox.com/ James Whatley

    Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always known that sending Twitters cost me 25p.

    This is why I use http://m.twitter.com instead. SO much cheaper.

  • Jon Bray

    Can someone confirm which UK networks ‘do not’ charge for receiving Twitter Text messages? I use O2 and don’t get charged but I’ve heard 3 users do. Does anyone have a list of the current charges for sending and receiving Twitter alerts from each me the UK networks? I want to setup a results service for my Sports Club but I’m concerned if people will be charged to receive the texts. Thanks, Jon

  • Ewan

    Jon, it’s free to receive — it’s just sending messages (apparently with both 3 and T-Mobile) that it costs extra.

  • Jon Bray

    Ewan, Thanks. Jon

  • http://www.tobeon.co.uk Tobeon

    Orange don’t charge, twitter txts come out of my free txts ^_^

  • James Turner

    Yes it's TRUE I investigated using a service by cardboardfish (NextGen Mobile LTD) BUT it would appear that because it relies on using an 07624 that some operators charge any text as if it was being sent “internationally” at 20-25p – my operator “3″ charged me more than expected. This might be OK if it was made clear somewhere BUT it isn't!!

    It would like like a real grey area that some companies may be making the most of??

  • dave

    The 07624 range is the range for manx mobiles (isle of man) it is classified as international as the isle of man has its own government, currency and laws. Although it is part of the UK due to the fact that most of its laws were british, it is still an international country. It has its own parliament, Tynwald, the oldest in the world. Sorry but it is not necessarily the companies taking advantage, rather a harsh reality. Its the same for us who live here, we get charged international rates to ring the UK, so it works both ways, and believe me, its more expensive!!!

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    Dave – the point is international calls should have a different country code otherwise consumers don't know they're making an international call.

  • http://www.rickyc.co.uk Ricky Chotai

    the twitter number is 07624 and charges me on t mobile internationally. :(

  • http://www.rickyc.co.uk Ricky Chotai

    the twitter number is 07624 and charges me on t mobile internationally. :(

  • Duncan Hill

    “The 07624 UK number range is operated by Manx Telecom — the Isle of Man telecoms company”

    Firstly, 07624 is an Isle of Man number, not a UK number.

    “For some reason, T-Mobile customers and Three customers are being charged international rates to send text messages to that block of numbers”

    Because it's an international number, not a UK number.

    “Surely it’s a bit naughty for these operators to classify a number range that you, I and anyone else would recognise as thoroughly ‘British’ as an international rate text?”

    The Isle of Man may be “British” (a crown dependency, I think) but it's not part of the UK.

    07624 is not even in the ranges used by any other mobile providers (which start 075, 077, 078, 079), in fact 076 is otherwise allocated to UK pagers, some of them charge more than 07624!

    Maybe you should do some research on telephone numbering before dialling numbers unaware of the potential charges. If you don't like the otherwise free Twitter service, then you don't have to use it. Use another site instead.

    As for “the point is international calls should have a different country code otherwise consumers don't know they're making an international call” – then you should bring this up with Oftel and the ITU. It's nothing to do with Twitter.

    It's not just +44 numbers that are affected. In North America, the country code 1 is shared by Canada, the USA and many Caribbean nations.

  • Duncan Hill

    “The 07624 UK number range is operated by Manx Telecom — the Isle of Man telecoms company”

    Firstly, 07624 is an Isle of Man number, not a UK number.

    “For some reason, T-Mobile customers and Three customers are being charged international rates to send text messages to that block of numbers”

    Because it’s an international number, not a UK number.

    “Surely it’s a bit naughty for these operators to classify a number range that you, I and anyone else would recognise as thoroughly ‘British’ as an international rate text?”

    The Isle of Man may be “British” (a crown dependency, I think) but it’s not part of the UK.

    07624 is not even in the ranges used by any other mobile providers (which start 075, 077, 078, 079), in fact 076 is otherwise allocated to UK pagers, some of them charge more than 07624!

    Maybe you should do some research on telephone numbering before dialling numbers unaware of the potential charges. If you don’t like the otherwise free Twitter service, then you don’t have to use it. Use another site instead.

    As for “the point is international calls should have a different country code otherwise consumers don’t know they’re making an international call” – then you should bring this up with Oftel and the ITU. It’s nothing to do with Twitter.

    It’s not just +44 numbers that are affected. In North America, the country code 1 is shared by Canada, the USA and many Caribbean nations.

  • hannahmulberry

    Yes you are correct, the whole thing is a ridiculous sham. Basically Manx Telecom is based in the Isle of Man and like many Manx Businesses benefits from a government backed monopoly with its Telecommunications facilities. The legal loop hole or 'excuse' is that the Isle of Man is used as a testing ground for G3, G4 and up until a few years ago, no mobile network could even be accessed on the island other than Manx Telecom. However rules have been relaxed in the Isle of Man, but unfortunately UK phone companies such as O2, T-Mobile, 3, Orange and Vodaphone etc. still treat the Isle of Man – Part of the British Isles and just 80 miles from Liverpool, as an 'International Jurisdiction'.

    They claim that all call made to and particularly from the Isle of Man (Which also links to Guernsey's phone Network which is not international) is classed as an international call and charged at international rate. Further, they refuse to recognize the significance of the UK connection that the Isle of Man has and will not allow calls made from there to be included in peoples free minutes. Basically if you have a contract with the above companies your free minutes are pointless.

    The mobile phone companies blame the Isle of Man and the Isle of Man say that its up to the phone networks how they operate thier tariffs. Either way many companies such as chat lines etc. have recognized the benefits of deceiving customers with the 07624 code so that calls can be charged at international rate. Further, an agreement with the Isle of Man government has been arranged with these companies to ensure that they receive the full cost of the call, less Manx Telecoms local rate Hence the reason why companies use the facility. Clearly showing that Manx Telecom and the Isle of Man government do have sway over the pricing structure of calls.

    As the Isle of Man is outside UK control, the policy is left to the the MHK's (Manx MP's) to police and investigate. Unfortunately and we go back to the start of this piece. Manx Telecom is government regulated. That is to say that its government has its finger in the pie of the profits from the Tax that the company makes. Coupled with the lure of a unique pricing policy for unscupulous businesses to exploit, it offers and attractive money making scheme at the expense of both the UK and its own Islands population.

  • hannahmulberry

    Yes you are correct, the whole thing is a ridiculous sham. Basically Manx Telecom is based in the Isle of Man and like many Manx Businesses benefits from a government backed monopoly with its Telecommunications facilities. The legal loop hole or 'excuse' is that the Isle of Man is used as a testing ground for G3, G4 and up until a few years ago, no mobile network could even be accessed on the island other than Manx Telecom. However rules have been relaxed in the Isle of Man, but unfortunately UK phone companies such as O2, T-Mobile, 3, Orange and Vodaphone etc. still treat the Isle of Man – Part of the British Isles and just 80 miles from Liverpool, as an 'International Jurisdiction'.

    They claim that all call made to and particularly from the Isle of Man (Which also links to Guernsey's phone Network which is not international) is classed as an international call and charged at international rate. Further, they refuse to recognize the significance of the UK connection that the Isle of Man has and will not allow calls made from there to be included in peoples free minutes. Basically if you have a contract with the above companies your free minutes are pointless.

    The mobile phone companies blame the Isle of Man and the Isle of Man say that its up to the phone networks how they operate thier tariffs. Either way many companies such as chat lines etc. have recognized the benefits of deceiving customers with the 07624 code so that calls can be charged at international rate. Further, an agreement with the Isle of Man government has been arranged with these companies to ensure that they receive the full cost of the call, less Manx Telecoms local rate Hence the reason why companies use the facility. Clearly showing that Manx Telecom and the Isle of Man government do have sway over the pricing structure of calls.

    As the Isle of Man is outside UK control, the policy is left to the the MHK's (Manx MP's) to police and investigate. Unfortunately and we go back to the start of this piece. Manx Telecom is government regulated. That is to say that its government has its finger in the pie of the profits from the Tax that the company makes. Coupled with the lure of a unique pricing policy for unscupulous businesses to exploit, it offers and attractive money making scheme at the expense of both the UK and its own Islands population.

  • Kierax

    02 does include any 07624 (manx mobile numbers) as inclusive free minutes, i have been with 02 for 4 yrs now and it has always been the case.

  • http://twitter.com/rebelsims Rebel Simcard

    Its adds to real confusion in the marketplace.

    already the 070xx higher diversion rate numbers and now 07624 that also look like normal uk mobile numbers getting charged is bad for the uk industry. where were these people on who set up the numbering plans and mixed in the sneaky numbers that through loop holes get away with this.

    Many innocent users now are getting charged for call they think they are getting free as part of thier monthly allowance of cross network calls.

    With number portablity and open voip market it does not make sence these companies can get away with these charges.

    on top of that t mobile charge and orange dont and t=now they both one network in uk.

    whats will be next will t mobile stop charging to 07624 or will it join orange and 02 and allow it ?

    lets see what happens

    Rebel simcard

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