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Plain English rates for mobile phone users

Plain English Campaign congratulated campaigners and welcomed the recommendation from Ofcom that mobile termination rates should be lowered. Ofcom’s proposals could see mobile termination rates gradually lowered over the next four years, from the current 4p a minute to 0.5p, providing the recommendation survives opposition during the remaining 12 months of the consultation period.

Heading the ‘Terminate the Rate’ campaign are BT and 3, with support from many other organisations, including Plain English Campaign.

Chrissie Maher, founder of Plain English Campaign says, “We have been pleased to support the team managing the ‘Terminate the rate’ campaign. This proposal is a great achievement for all the campaigners. It shows just how important it is for the customer to have more clarity in mobile phone bills and tariffs. It isn’t always clear what is involved in these charges and when you’re left in the dark it’s difficult to know whether you’re getting a fair deal.”

BT has pledged to pass on the reductions to consumers. But it expressed concern that consumers and businesses would not see the full benefit of lower rates until 2015 under Ofcom's plans.

"In this case, what is being proposed is just the elimination of excessive prices and the mobile operators have had plenty of notice that termination rates are likely to fall," the company said in a statement.

Ofcom’s spokesperson stated, “As rates fall and operators adapt, consumers will benefit from cheaper calls and competition in both the UK fixed telecoms and mobile markets."

BT and Ofcom have been members of Plain English Campaign for many years. This recommendation reflects their commitment to providing clear information for consumers in the communication industry.

Plain English definition of mobile termination rate

When you call a friend on a different mobile network, or call their mobile from your landline, their network will charge your operator a fee for carrying the call.

This is called a Mobile Termination Rate (or MTR) and is currently charged at around 4.7p or more for every minute of the call. The billions of minutes for which this fee is charged adds up to billions of pounds for UK consumers every year.

We think MTRs are excessive and distort competition. So we want the industry regulator Ofcom to lower the rate to reflect actual costs.

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