Trust at a premium

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The UK premium rate market is currently worth £350 million, and researchers predict by 2012 it will be worth more than a billion.

The problem is, the public lacks trust in these services and many people have been stung by rip-offs, creating a wave of uncertainty.

This is a situation PhonepayPlus has the task of trying to turn around; a non-profit regulatory agency employed by Ofcom to keep a close eye on premium rate calls and messaging services on both landlines and mobiles.

Flick to the back of virtually any newspaper or magazine and the number of premium-related services direct to a mobile or landline seem to be growing; horoscopes, weather forecasts, pictures, videos, ring-tones, wallpapers, games and text chat services are the most common.

Most of us have been concerned with the appearance of a short-coded (five digits, starting with a 6 or 8) text message received on our mobile, or have instantly regretted sending a text using a short-code which may or may not have cost us.

PhonepayPlus has rebranded from the far less catchy Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards Telephone Information Services.

But it was more than just a name change; it not only regulates and investigates concerns about premium rate charges – it is also paving the way for innovation by attempting to build trust in the public for such services.

Full story in Mobile News issue 416 (June 16, 2008)

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