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11TH ICSTIS FORUM

11 April 2006


ICSTIS held its 11th Forum on 21st March 2006 at the Manchester Radisson Edwardian Hotel. The Forum featured presentations by Ofcom, the Information Commissioner's Office and the Wireless Application Service Provider Association.


For the first time in ICSTIS’ history, the Industry Forum took place outside its typical London home, with the 11th event being held in the pleasant surroundings of the Manchester Radisson Edwardian Hotel.

Opening proceedings for his final Forum as icstis Chairman, Sir Peter North remarked on the geographical move and welcomed a number of first time attendees that had taken the opportunity to participate in the afternoon’s events.

The Forum featured a range of topics and was supported by a number of outside speakers, including Nic Green from Ofcom, Jenny Wolfe from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and Leon Perlman from the South African Wireless Application Service Provider Association (WASPA).

In the first half of proceedings, George Kidd, Director of icstis highlighted a number of key issues affecting icstis and the industry.

Click here to view George Kidd's speech.

This was followed by a presentation by Alan Stone, Chairman of the Industry Liaison Panel (ILP), who summarised the ILP’s first meeting and outlined its future workload.

Click here to view Alan Stone's presentation.
 

These updates were followed by a detailed summary of Ofcom’s work on numbering by Ofcom Competition Policy Manager, Nic Green, including proposed changes to the premium rate and number translation ranges, together with an insight into Ofcom’s thinking behind the need for an overall change to the numbering regime.

Click here to view Nic Green's presentation.
 

ICSTIS Deputy Director, Paul Whiteing then spoke about ICSTIS' recent consultation on Consumer Refunds and a brief update about the forthcoming 11th Edition of the icstis Code of Practice.

Click here to view Paul Whiteing's presentation.
 

At this point, the Forum divided into a number of groups and, over a 45 minute period, discussed some of the issues including numbering, consumer refunds and monitoring. A summary of this session is as follows:

Numbering

  • What views do you have on these proposals and their possible effects?
  • What consumer interest tests could Ofcom implement to stop the allocation of numbers to ‘scamsters’?
  • Should Premium Rate be limited to the 09 number range?  If not how would this be managed?


A number of views were fed back. Below are a handful of comments that acquired a broad consensus:

  • Sub-structures within number ranges can be difficult to manage and communicate to consumers
  • Numbering reviews cannot replace a strong consumer information campaign about the existing system
  • Number range information does not empower the consumer
  • Cost surcharges could cause confusion
  • Unknown consequences for selective call barring


Refunds

  • Who should be responsible for handling refunds when it is clear there has been a service failing and the ICSTIS Code of Practice has been breached?
  • Does this responsibility differ in the fixed line and mobile environments?
  • What role should icstis play in developing customer service best practice?
  • What examples of customer service best practice currently exist?


A number of views were fed back. Below are a handful of comments that acquired a broad consensus:

  • Service providers should provide refunds to consumers in the fixed line environment
  • Mobile networks should provide refunds to consumers in the mobile environment
  • Service providers may find it difficult to reimburse full amounts to consumers given the revenue sharing that has taken place


Monitoring

  • In 2006/07, icstis plans to be more proactive in undertaking monitoring of services. Given the plethora of services and promotions that exist at any one time, where should icstis focus its monitoring resources for best effect and what technological support would enable icstis to more comprehensively monitor services?


A number of views were fed back. Below are a handful of comments that acquired a broad consensus:

  • Monitor known rogues
  • All monitoring should be based on significant information gathering amongst the industry and outside agencies


Following a brief interval, the Forum then moved to its two final speakers, Jenny Wolfe, from the ICO and Leon Perlman from, WASPA.

Jenny Wolfe explained a number of the requirements that telecommunications companies were compelled to observe under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. She emphasised the supportive overlap between icstis’ Code of Practice and some of the ICO’s requirements for the telecommunications industry.

Click here to view Jenny Wolfe's presentation.

Leon Perlman then gave a short presentation about the regulatory model in South Africa, which shares a number of features with ICSTIS’ UK model.  This session was of particular interest to those who were either considering involvement in the South African market or who already had interests there. The feedback received after the Forum demonstrated that this had been a welcome addition to the event programme.

Click here to view Leon Perlman's presentation.

Sir Peter North gave his closing address and thanked all attendees for their contributions and input. In concluding, Sir Peter North thanked all those with whom he had worked with throughout his chairmanship of ICSTIS and wished them well for the future.