Friday, 8 October 2010

Killed! Milking someone else's customer: Fake voicemail.

Update October 12th: KPN has now killed the bad idea, because there were too many negative reactions.

KPN has come up with a brilliant way to make more money: Fake Voicemail, telecompaper reports. They need to, the financial targets are tough. (addendum: Friend of mine suggests it's a violation of common carrier status, or net neutrality. Interesting way to look at it. Imagine a fixed line and an answering machine, where this kicks in before the answering machine)

Normally if you call a mobile number and it isn't answered and the user hasn't activated the voicemail, after 90 seconds it will stop ringing. Now KPN has introduced a message after 30 seconds telling people that the phone isn't answered and that there is no voicemail. I call this fake voicemail. The fantastic thing of fake voicemail for KPN is that it can charge the 'termination rate' to someone else's customer (or its own customers for that matter), who hasn't asked for the message and was perfectly capable to understand that the other person didn't pick up the phone.

To keep you on the line longer and pay more, there is also a whole menu of options for those wanting to leave a message, that can be accessed through KPN's online portal etc. KPN is serious about this squeezing of someone else's customer and has announced it will come up with more types of services that incur a charge.

To me this just shows how easily exploited the termination rate system is and why it should be abolished altogether. The benefit of the service lies with the called network and the called person. Furthermore they have chosen to activate it on their network. If customers like this kind of service, let them become KPN customers.

I would suggest KPN to do a similar thing for all of it's fixed lines. The termination rate is less, but how hard can it be. :-) Other possible solutions would be to randomize the time the caller is sent to voicemail. Some people are way to good at guessing when to cancel the call and not be sent to voicemail. On it's own network it could send people reminder SMS's that inform them the person they called might now be available to take their call.

Another thing that bugs me is that even though termination rates are coming down, I don't see rates for calls to mobile coming down. Termination rates have dropped, but retail prices are remaining the same. It's still around 17 cents per minute to call mobiles.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds suspiciously like interception or at least deception - are they claiming that the non-connected call 'reverts' to KPN as the originating party? If not (and even so, it would be exceedingly tenuous to claim the right to intervene), then they really are intercepting - just like PHORM did in the UK. That's against Euro telecoms privacy regs.


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