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Friday, December 08, 2006

OFCOM – Doff my Cap

As much as it goes against my nature to compliment bureaucrats, I’m afraid to say that OFCOM has done a really good job with its price comparison scheme. I was worried when first heard rumours of this that OFCOM would try and replace the market by providing the calculator themselves which definitely would have been the wrong way to go. I really believe it will allow some really good innovative services to emerge with the backing of a credible stamp of approval.

If I was nit-picking, I would say the cost is too high. A set-up fee of £6k and an annual cost thereafter of £3k seems a tad excessive. However, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe they have taken a network operator approach leaving themselves with enough margins to continually cut prices as the service takes off.

I will be really interested to see if the comparison site uSwitch gets registered. The current mobile service is a complete joke with no mobile operators signed up and instead Carphone Warehouse prices are compared to the Phone Spot prices. I don’t consider a comparison of prices from two arms of the same retailer a comparison at all. In fact it is close to being a scam trying to fool the average consumer, which is not the approach you would expect from someone trying to protect the consumer. Taken with the exclusive deal that Carphone have done in Spain with Teliasonera, I get a funny feeling that Carphone only likes exclusives when it suits them.