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FIRST COMPANIES AWARDED PERMISSION TO PROVIDE PHONE-PAID BROADCAST SERVICES

9 October 2008


PhonepayPlus today announced the first companies to be granted permission to provide phone-paid interactive broadcast services.


PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, today announced the first companies to be granted permission to provide phone-paid interactive broadcast services.

Following significant interest, PhonepayPlus will continue to review applications and will announce further permissions awarded in the coming months.

In February this year, Ofcom announced that it would amend television broadcasting licences to make licensees directly accountable for phone-paid services in programmes. Broadcasters, in turn, often rely on their telecoms service provider to ensure services are compliant, so PhonepayPlus announced at the same time a prior permission regime for service providers to help make sure consumers receive a fair deal.

The service providers that have today been granted permission to provide interactive television phone-paid services are:

  • Dialogue Communications Ltd Eckoh UK Ltd
  • Harvest Media Group plc
  • Interactive Telephony Ltd
  • iTouch Ltd
  • Minick UK Ltd
  • Mobile Interactive Group
  • Netsize (UK) Ltd
  • Oxygen8 Communications (UK) Limited (formerly Opera Interactive Technology Group)
  • Sky Interactive Ltd
  • Telecom Express Ltd
  • Teletext Ltd
  • WIN plc

 

These companies are now able to provide any kind of broadcast phone-paid service. However, PhonepayPlus will not hesitate to revoke its permission where there is evidence a provider has not met all of the conditions contained in the licence.

PhonepayPlus Chief Executive, George Kidd, said: "Viewers clearly enjoy having the means to vote in a talent contest, enter a competition or otherwise interact with a television programme."

"Today's announcement marks the latest step toward rebuilding trust in these exciting services. Broadcasters and service providers are clearly committed to ensuring their processes are compliant and transparent and these licences will ensure they deliver their promise to viewers."

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For further information, please contact:

PhonepayPlus press office on (020) 7940 7440.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. PhonepayPlus is the organisation (previously known as ICSTIS) that regulates phone-paid services - the goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bills and mobile pre-pay accounts. Further details of its work can be found at www.phonepayplus.org.uk

2. Service providers looking to provide such services must meet a number of conditions in order to gain prior permission. These include:

  • Ensuring that all valid viewer responses are made available for the broadcaster to consider in good time; Closing telephone lines promptly when an announcement is made to that effect;
  • Selecting competition winners at random from all correct entries (unless there is a tie-breaker or other skill-based outcome);
  • Where service providers contract third parties to help deliver the service, clearly identifying which company is responsible for each activity associated with the service; and
  • Banning changes to operational systems or procedures without express authorisation from one of the provider's senior managers.