How do 070 numbers work?
When someone calls an 070 number, their communications provider pays a wholesale termination charge to the service provider for the call to reach the recipient. The caller is then charged a retail price by their service provider, this could range from 45p to £1.50 per minute.
Hospital communication and entertainment unit provider Hospedia, which supplies almost all of the UK’s hospitals, uses 070 numbers for bedside telephones. Usually, while patients aren’t charged to make outgoing calls, relatives are charged as much as 50p per minute for an incoming call.
Furthermore, up to 20% of calls made to 070 numbers were considered to involve fraudulent activity as the high termination rates serve as an incentive for a range of scams. A cap would help to disincentivise some of this behaviour. Some of the most common types are:
Service provider fraud. These include missed call scams where someone may return a missed call from an 070 number or fake job adverts with an 070 contact number.
International artificial inflation of traffic. 070 providers or those who have an agreement to benefit from the termination charge can organise for large numbers of calls to be placed from countries whose telephone companies don’t recognise the difference between 070 and 07 UK mobile numbers. This can mean that the provider charges the scammer the lower 07 rate rather than passing on the much higher 070 termination rate the provider will have to pay.
Identity-related fraud. Service providers don’t usually recover any of the termination charge from the recipient of the calls, ie, their own customers, this means they don’t know their identity. This leaves 070 numbers open to criminal activity with recipients’ identities being concealed.