Posted on: 6th February 2024, by Alison Kerevan
Welcome to the February newsletter, combining news from Magrathea and around the industry.
Billing Increments – Keeping Tariffs Simple
Clients may be aware that quite a few international destinations have introduced different billing increments on termination traffic, such as 60 seconds followed by 1 second increments, 60 seconds increments for the entire call and even 30 seconds followed by 6 second increments. We have seen these adopted by multiple carriers and also absorbed by overall increases from others.
We always try to prioritise simplicity and transparency when it comes to our wholesale tariffs so, at this time we are using a combination of routing and pricing to avoid having to pass the various increment options onto clients, however in some situations this does potentially mean we don’t offer the most competitive rate for specific destinations.
We do have the option to offer the different increments in our tariffing for anyone that is particularly price sensitive on these destinations, so do please contact us if this is something you might be interested in.
Current countries adopting this include: Indonesia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, Mexico and Brazil.
MAGIC Portal gets extra security
Now that MAGIC is widely used by our clients we are constantly working on new features and improvement and we are pleased to release two factor authentication.
- Log in to the magic portal as usual and click on the person icon in the top right menu, choose settings from the drop down menu.
- You will be prompted to enter your password again -you will then see a QR code.
- Using an authenticator app (e.g. Google Authenticator) you can use your mobile phone to scan the QR code.
- You will then be prompted to “enter code” under the QR code, this confirms your two factor authentication setup.
Next time you log in to the Magic portal you will be prompted for the current code that appears on your authentication app.
If you aren’t familiar with MAGIC, check out our short video here https://www.magrathea-telecom.co.uk/introduction-to-our-magic-portal/
More choice for Fibre Broadband, and new Ofcom rules
Our broadband portal now offers All Points Fibre products alongside BT’s fibre and partial fibre solutions. If you aren’t already signed up to our broadband package please do get in touch and we will give you access.
Whilst on the topic of broadband, if you do sell this to your customers you need to be aware of a statement from Ofcom, published in December, that essentially says providers must give a short description of the underlying technology of each service they offer at the point of sale and in any contract or contract summary. The information must be clear and unambiguous. They specifically note that the use of the word Fibre on it’s own is considered ambiguous.
This new guidance will be referred to in the General Conditions and must be followed by September. The full statement can be found here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/273204/Statement-improving-broadband-information-for-customers.pdf
Important Reminder NOT to Recycle Ported Numbers
There is the occasional case of a problem situation occurring whereby a range is imported for an end user, but then subsequently reused by the CP for another end user once the original end user has terminated their service. For example, an end user terminated service with their CP without porting the numbers elsewhere and the CP has reused some or all of those numbers.
Re-using ported in numbers in this way is prohibited under the industry porting guidelines and so you should take care to ensure this doesn’t happen on numbers that you have ported in for an end user.
Once an end user has terminated service on their numbers, one of two things should happen. If part of a range is no longer in use, the unused numbers should be quarantined as they cannot be re-used. If it’s a complete range that is no longer in use, these should be returned to the range holder – we can arrange for this to happen if you email email@example.com.
We perform regular audits of numbering to make sure that where ported numbers have been deactivated, they are returned to the range holder where possible but if you can flag these to us as well that is really helpful!
Magrathea Secure RTP
Magrathea’s Secure RTP product allows for both the voice and signalling traffic associated with a telephone call to be protected from interception and monitoring through the use of TLS to protect the SIP signalling and SRTP to provide encryption of the audio RTP traffic.
The product is designed to give you greater peace of mind about the integrity of the calls being sent to your network.
For more information about our Secure RTP product please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0345 004 0040.
Call Screening – Telephone Preference Service
If you or your customer makes sales or marketing calls within the UK you are required to check the TPS database, so you do not contact any member of the public who has registered there (unless they have specifically given permission to do so).
Magrathea are now able to help our clients meet their obligations by applying a block, realtime, on any call attempt to a number on the TPS list.
For a much lower charge than getting a full TPS licence we will manage the call blocking, database updates and reporting requirements for you. If this service is of interest please do get in touch.
Ofcom decision and another consultation on tackling scam calls
Despite the long list of consultations we summarised in the January newsletter, as expected, we now have a response to the CLI consultation that Ofcom issued last year.
In brief, Ofcom have decided not to mandate the implementation of CLI authentication (a STIR/SHAKEN style solution) at this time, although they still believe it has potential to be effective. Their reason for this is that it would clearly be very complex, costly and time consuming to implement and that alongside complications with roaming mobiles and international calls, the solution would likely be limited in its success at reducing calls with spoofed CLI.
Instead, they recognise that other measures can be effective and simpler to implement so have set out plans as follows:
- Seek to block calls originating abroad that present a UK caller ID (this is in addition to the network caller ID block implemented last year);
- Research options to enable industry to correctly identify UK mobiles roaming abroad, which would allow us to block calls originating from abroad, presenting a UK mobile number, for anyone other than those legitimately roaming – the NICC are working on this already;
- Ofcom also want to progress the work being done around improving call tracing to help identify the source of calls much faster and more reliably – the NICC are also working on this already;
- Ofcom will continue to monitor industry initiatives and International progress in this area, including the recently formed “One Consortium” led by i3Forum which is bringing together the international community on this topic.
- Finally, Ofcom have launched an enforcement programme which will see them checking that industry have implemented the regulations and guidance already in place.
The full document can be found here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0036/276687/01-24-cli-authentication-update.pdf
As mentioned above, Ofcom have agreed that the existing measures should help reduce spoofed calls and so they plan to monitor that all providers are following the guidance and sticking to the regulations in this area. An approach we supported in our response last year.
As our clients will be aware, we already carry out extensive checks and monitoring of ourselves in order to comply with the latest requirements and it is getting results. The number of complaints raised in relation to calls transiting our network have fallen month on month, proving that the additional monitoring does make a difference. For details of their programme see here https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/bulletins/enforcement-bulletin/open-cases/enforcement-programme-phone-and-text-scams
New consultation – Blocking Presentation Caller ID
The aforementioned suggestion that networks should begin to extend blocking of calls based on CLI beyond network number is discussed in a new consultation which can be found here https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0031/276727/further-action-scam-calls-consultation.pdf
In brief, Ofcom are proposing to extend the current requirement to block any call that originate overseas but have a UK network CLI to include blocking any calls that have a UK presentation CLI too. There are of course some legitimate exceptions where calls should be allowed and these are:
- Where a UK mobile user is roaming overseas and calling back to the UK;
- Where a caller is dialling a foreign mobile phone which is roaming in the UK;
- Where traffic has originated on a UK network;
- Where the traffic has originated from a UK customer who hosts on a overseas network or cloud service.
We are already involved in the NICC task group looking at the standards for this change and are keen to hear from any client who has a use case that may be negatively impacted by a regulatory change. At this stage, without some strong examples of additional use cases we can be certain that this consultation will result in this being a mandated change. The change is expected to be implemented within six months of a statement being made so is likely to be later this year. If you would like us to consider your views in our response to Ofcom please do get in touch promptly.
Skills shortages in Telecoms
Our MD has been busy this month attending meetings organised by UKTIN (Talent Advisory Group) and DSIT, alongside others in industry, academia and government. It is recognised that more needs to be done to educate, attract and retain people into our sector and that the problems of skill shortage are not simple to overcome and need a wide variety of tactics to make a difference.
Focussing specifically on women, Tracey was delighted to be able to chair the second face to face meeting of the Comms Council UK Women in Telecoms last week when we heard from Ofcom on their new pledge to support more women entering the sector. CCUK also announced their new mentoring scheme, available to any member of the WIT group.
Membership of this group is currently free to any individual women in the industry so if you would like to get involved please do email email@example.com to get added to the list.
Cavell Summit Europe
We are very excited to be joining the Cavell Summit as Bronze sponsor this year. This event, taking place in London on 12th March, is full of interesting panel sessions and key notes. A few of our team will be there on the day, and Tracey is chairing a round table session, so please do be sure to say hello if you are going to the event.
What’s on our minds…
January was full of planning and prioritising for the year ahead and we managed to find a great new person to add to our support team. So, in February the team will be focussing on settling in Jay and teaching him how we take care of our clients and our network.
Jay Dhaliwal is at the start of his career journey into the technical side of telecoms with us, we hope he will build on his knowledge of the sector and gain key skills to investigate faults, manage escalations and provide excellent support to our clients across all of our products and services. The wider team are all involved in our induction programme, ensuring Jay fully understands our values as well as the technical side, and also this creates a strong support system around Jay to help him thrive at Magrathea.
As always here at Magrathea we appreciate your comments and feedback, if there is anything you would like to contact us about, or you would like to opt out of receiving future newsletters, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The information contained in this guidance is for your information only and is not intended to be relied on. It does not constitute legal professional advice, nor is it a substitute for you obtaining your own legal professional advice. Magrathea accepts no liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or statements in this guidance or for any loss which may arise from your use of this guidance.