6p! Six whole pence!

BT are to charge six pence if you press "3" after dialling 1471, according to this BBC News item. However, just using 1471, writing the number down, and then dialling it manually, will remain free. This seems to make no sense, as surely automating this process in the exchange must reduce exchange load and have a lower cost for BT – Brian?

4 Replies to “6p! Six whole pence!”

  1. If you dial 1471 and press 3 BT sets up the call for you and you pay for it. If you just dial 1471 and listen, you get the calling number and can decide if you want to call back, that’s free. But when you’ve written it down then dial it later, you pay anyway.

  2. I know that I pay for the call – but does it really cost BT 6p for the exchange to set up that call? And what does it cost BT when I hang up from the 1471 service and manually dial the number? It seems to me that it would reduce exchange load and generally simplify things if customers were encouraged to 1471-3 instead of 1471-dial. Or have I not grasped it correctly?

  3. The exchange is just a ruddy great cpu, if it gets its commands from your keypad or a built in programme it won’t make a great deal of difference to the exchange load. We just want your money graybo. Pay up or dial up.

  4. You seem to be equating the price charged for using something to the cost of providing it to you, but that pricing model has not been used in the telecoms industry for a very long time.

    If you think about mobile phones, the cost of delivering a text message is acutally miniscule. It takes just a split-second of network resources to send, unlike a voice call which continuously uses dedicated resources for the whole length of the call. And yet, you get charged a price of up to 12p for a text, which on some tariffs could get you a couple of minutes of voice call.

    Telephone companies charge based on perceived value – that you think you’re getting something ‘extra’, and are therefore willing to pay for it. They will also charge as much money for a service as they think the market will stand. And in a competitive marketplace, with numerous other companies driving down prices on basic telephony services, it’s in the ‘extras’ where the telcos make their profit.

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