Ofcom has found against BT in an ‘own initiative’ investigation into the telco’s porting conveyance charges.
The investigation stems from a complaint by Gamma and Vodafone concerning BT’s Average Porting Conveyance Charges (“APCCs”). The case was resolved in November 2015, but prompted Ofcom to open a wider investigation into BT’s compliance with its cost orientation requirements under General Condition 18.5, which states that porting charges be reasonable and based on the incremental costs of providing portability.
Number portability enables subscribers to retain their telephone number(s) when they switch between communication providers (CPs). Porting charges are levied between CPs to recover certain costs associated with number portability.
Ofcom’s Final Determinations found that BT’s charges to Gamma and Vodafone for APCCs from January 2015 did not comply with the requirements of GC18.5(a), and Ofcom concluded that BT should amend its charges accordingly and make repayments to Gamma and Vodafone.
The wider investigation was put on hold following BT’s decision to appeal the Final Determinations, but on 4 November 2016 the Competition Appeal Tribunal handed down its judgment, which dismissed the appeal.
On 2 December 2016, BT informed Ofcom of its approach to implementing the Final Determinations, and confirmed that it will act in compliance with the principles set out in the determinations in respect of all communications providers. In particular, BT provided assurances regarding its intentions to contact all affected communication providers to agree arrangements for paying any backdated APCC adjustments that are due.
Ofcom now says it is satisfied with the assurances that BT has provided in respect of complying with the principles set out in the dispute determinations, and making repayments to any affected communications providers, and has decided to close the investigation.
A Vodafone UK spokesperson said ‘We welcome today’s decision which promotes fairer competition and is good news for customers wishing to retain their number when switching suppliers.’ At the time of writing, mobile was awaiting a response from Gamma.