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Simon Bates appointed Director of Standards and Communications at PhonepayPlus

2 April 2009


Simon Bates appointed Director of Standards and Communications at PhonepayPlus.


PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, today announced the appointment of Simon Bates as Director of Standards and Communications. Simon, previously Head of Communications, has been performing the role on an acting basis since November 2008. He assumes responsibility of the organisation's communications, customer service, investigations and enforcement functions, effective immediately.

Simon was previously at Ofcom where he acted as spokesman on matters as diverse as internet regulation, public service broadcasting, consumer telecoms and spectrum management. Before that, he ran the international communications programme for networking company 3Com. Simon began his career in PR agencies, working in the London and Sydney offices of Hill and Knowlton.

Phone-paid services are products or services - such as competitions, directory enquiries, TV voting, helplines, adult entertainment, downloads, new alerts or interactive games - that are charged to users' phone bills or pre-pay accounts. They have quickly become a valuable part of everyday life: almost every second person in the UK has used one in the last year.

Millions of people use phone-paid services everyday without a problem though some people, unfortunately, have encountered problems. Occasionally these issues have attracted widespread public attention; ranging from the internet dialler scams in 2004 to subscription ringtone services the following year to several popular TV votes and competitions in 2006-7.

PhonepayPlus is responsible for pre-empting and preventing problems in the market, and protecting consumers. One of the ways it does this is by informing the public so they are able to make informed purchasing decisions and are not duped by misleading promotions. The PhoneBrain campaign in 2008 (www.phonebrain.org.uk) - which explained the opportunities and threats in the market to school children via targeted lesson plans - is one such example.

"Everyone in the UK has access to a phone and most people, therefore, are consumers of phone-paid services," Simon Bates said.

"The work we do to protect consumers, and to help industry comply with our rules, is important and communications is at the very heart of it. I look forward to working closely with industry and consumer groups to build trust in these exciting, valuable services," he continued.