Opal Warning to Channel: Make Sure it’s Not Black September for Your Customers

A new report from Opal, the provider of NGN technologies for the channel, has revealed tens of thousands of UK businesses could face soaring 0870 telephone bills in September because of failure to act over new Ofcom legislation.

With the increases impacting on many partner’s customers, Opal is urging the channel to ensure there are no nasty surprises when September’s bills arrive – and that switching clients to an alternative service is quick and easy.

Ofcom changed regulations around the use of the number sequence ‘0870’ on 1st August 2009, in an attempt to promote transparency for the consumer. The number is currently used by tens of thousands of businesses across the UK, to generate income through call rebates, often to finance enhanced call services.

However, Opal’s research indicates that despite extensive advice from their telecommunications provider, up to a third of UK businesses using the number sequence have been unable to implement the changes in time – due to time and manpower constraints.

This means those businesses have now been automatically migrated to a new tariff from August 1st where they will be charged for all calls to their 0870 number usage for the very first time. With increases many multiples of the original cost, it really could be black September for thousands of businesses as the first bills arrive since the new legislation.

Andy Hollingworth, Opal’s director of wholesale, said: “The Ofcom legislation means that many companies, often through no fault of their own or their providers, will now face enormous bills in September for essentially the same service, something that is made all the more challenging by the continuing recession.

“However, as many of our partners will already know, this presents an opportunity to achieve real standout in the market and offer, or continuing offering, added value through advice and consultancy – something so important in the current climate.

“And it’s important to remember, moving a customer to an alternative number sequence can be done extremely quickly and easily, and Opal provides numerous options for partners to help their customers replace the lost revenues.”