Domain Buddy Opinions and Comments

Personal Opinions from Domain Buddy based on his life experiences

A Xmas Present from OFCOM!!

OFCOM Does it Again!


Just when I thought that I had been complimenting OFCOM – the UK Communications Regulator – far too often recently, they spring another surprise on me!

Locked Handsets

Their latest release dated  17th December 2021 – reproduced in full below – addresses a problem which has been irritating both customers and resellers for years.

Owing to the financial “muscle” of the UK Mobile Networks (the main four being O2, Vodafone, EE and Three) new and existing customers buying a new Mobile package have often been seduced by an offer to include a new Handset as part of that package.

Often most or all of the cost of the new mobile phone handset would be  incorporated into the monthly payments due under the two year + contract entered in to by the customer. In many cases, this was an unbeatable offer for the consumer, since modern handsets are expensive, and payment by instalments a very attractive option.

For the Network, it was a brilliant “win win” strategy: because the customer was tied in to a lengthy contract, they made profits both on the call volume and data usage, AND the sale of the handset.

Last, but not least, the new mobile phone was tied or “locked” to that Network, which means it could not easily be used by the customer seeking a better value contract elsewhere.

Although “Out of Contract” handsets could be “unlocked” this was and still is a tedious and inconvenient process, involving a charge and often a delay.

Now OFCOM have galloped to the rescue, and Mobile Operators can no longer “lock” customer phones. Admiitedly this applies only to new contracts, and also is probably needed to help simplify problems in the offing through the new eSIM product now part of the latest mobile phones, but it is nevertheless a very welcome development.

The Good News Does not Stop There!

Almost as an afterthought, OFCOM also confirms that the Maximum Contract Term for either a new Mobile Phone or Broadband Package cannot exceed 2 years!!

This – coupled with the new directive to simplify switching broadband providers – is exceptionally good news for Consumers, Broadband Brokers and Resellers


OFCOM Release 17th December 2021

“Mobile companies now banned from selling locked handsets

Phones and internet

Mobile phone companies are now banned from selling customers locked handsets, under new Ofcom rules that come into force today.

Some companies have still been selling mobile phones that can’t be used on other networks, unless they are unlocked. But this can be complicated for customers and cost around £10 too.

Our research shows that more than a third of people who decided against switching said having to get a handset unlocked put them off changing provider. This means they could be missing out on a better deal.

And almost half of customers who try to unlock their phone have difficulties doing so – including long delays or loss of service.

So we have brought in new rules that come into force today, and mean mobile companies are now banned from selling locked phones. This will make it easier for people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free.

Any mobile customers who want to change provider can take advantage of the simple text-to-switch process, where you can now get the code you need by simply sending a free text message.

Bundles limited to two-year contracts

Other new measures that come into force today include extending our rules that limit phone and broadband contracts to a maximum of two years, so they cover bundles. Also, if a customer adds a service to their package, providers will not be able to extend the contract periods of the existing services the customer already has without their consent.

This will help give customers more flexibility to switch package or provider, without being locked into long deals.

More support for disabled customers

We’ve also strengthened our existing requirements on phone and broadband companies to provide blind or vision impaired customers with bills and contract information in accessible formats, such as braille or large print.

We’ve extended the scope of these rules, so disabled customers can request that any important information about their service – excluding marketing materials – is provided in a format that is reasonably acceptable to meets their needs, and at no extra cost.

These rules are part of a package of changes we are introducing, to help ensure phone and broadband customers are treated fairly and they can find the best deal for them with ease.

Find out more on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your phone and broadband services from our consumer advice pages.”

A Xmas Present from OFCOM!! Read More »

Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes?

The Latest OFCOM Report on UK Broadband Availability - Comment


On December 16th, 2021 OFCOM published it’s latest report on how UK Fixed Broadband coverage – or “roll-out” – is progressing. According to the Article (reproduced below) 8 million homes in the UK can now theoretically enjoy full fibre – the fastest type of fixed broadband. Less than 2 million Homes have actually got full fibre installed. For the first time, the OFCOM also report on 5G coverage (the fastest mobile or wireless broadband) and claim that approximately half of the UK can now access 5G.

Comment on Full Fibre Rollout

Whilst I would not argue with the figures or the claimed broadband coverage – both of which look impressive – the  more interesting information concerns the “take-up”.

According to the report, if full fibre is now connected to 2 million Homes (presumably mostly city based) then 6 million customers have not upgraded, which means that there is a huge market available to the various broadband salesmen and resellers.

Along with this opportunity comes a big requirement for resellers to educate the customer – after all, many UK Homeowners are quite happy with their existing ADSL for internet browsing etc and have no requirement or desire to download or stream Videos and Films or take part in online Gaming, both of which would need full-fibre speeds.

And many have not as yet given any thought to the ramifications of the BT switch off, the most important being the loss of their traditional phone line.

Here are some of the reasons why Homeowners may resist upgrading:

  • Price – unless there is an immediate cost benefit, any decisions will be delayed. 
  • Inertia/Resistance to Change – the majority of customers are happy with the status quo and need valid reasons or imminent deadlines to change
  • Education – if they are unaware of the advantages of upgrading their Broadband
  • Age – many older customers have a natural resistance to new technology
  • No Necessity – where broadband data usage is minimal (e.g. single occupancy)

Where Better Broadband is Really Needed – 123,000 Homes

The OFCOM report also mentions that around 123,000 homes still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s. However, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others”. 


I would urge any reader who is unhappy with his Home Broadband Service to check out the Universal Broadband Service . Or to contact an Independent Broadband Broker – here is a helpful Video with the names of some recommended Brodband Broker Services.

For information on Fixed Broadband in the UK, choices available and technical terms simply explained, I recommend this website.

Comment on 5G Rollout

The same OFCOM Report states: “We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator.” 

Again I would not dispute the figures, but I would point out that the key word in this statement is “outside”, meaning outside the Home.

Most consumers would want to use their Broadband inside the Home, and this is where 5G coverage deteriorates rapidly. The strongest 5G signal – and therefore the higher speeds – are available only with (1) “line of sight” to a suitable mast and (2) no impediment, such as trees or property walls or structures in the vicinity. Although it is possible to construct an outside antenna, which connects by cable to a wireless router inside the Home, this does add to the installation costs of the service.

However I am a big fan of Wireless Broadband, which has other advantages over Fixed Broadband and can be cheaper in the long run. I recommend this site for further information on 5G.


There is no doubt that rapid progress is being made in Full Fibre roll out and 5G Broadband, but to improve the “take-up” new customers will need to be properly educated and informed – either by OFCOM, Independent Broadband Advisers and Brokers and Company Salesmen. And if you are a potential Broadband customer, make sure you are aware of the Community Fibre companies operating in your Home Town or Area: these Broadband providers are normally independent, and can offer special deals.

The Full OFCOM news release is published below.

Please feel free to add any Comments to the Blog and/or sign up.


Festive movie favourites in less than a minute – full fibre reaches 8m homes

Telecoms infrastructure
  • Full-fibre broadband now available to more than 8 million homes, as rollout accelerates
  • Millions have already boosted their broadband, but many others yet to take advantage
  • Decent broadband at highest-ever level, but more to do to reach remaining 123k homes
  • Around half of the properties in the UK are now in an area with outdoor 5G coverage

Fast, reliable internet connections are now available to more people than ever before, allowing millions of families to download their favourite Christmas movie in less than a minute.

With many people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently working from home, Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations reports on the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK.

Growth of full-fibre broadband availability in the UK. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband.

It reveals that the rollout of future-proof, full-fibre technology is accelerating at its fastest ever rate. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband – an increase of 3 million properties in the last year.

In 2021, 750,000 homes upgraded to faster, more reliable full-fibre services, taking the number of properties connected to nearly two million. But these homes still represent less than a quarter (24%) of those to which full-fibre upgrades are available.

With 7.4 million broadband customers out of contract and likely to be paying higher prices for slower speeds, many households could upgrade to a discounted full fibre package without paying more than they currently do.

Why would I need full fibre?

Full-fibre connections – along with upgraded cable networks – can deliver download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s[1], which could be particularly beneficial over the Christmas period when data use increases. At this speed, families with full-fibre services could download Christmas film favourite Elfin High-Definition in less than a minute, compared with around 25 minutes for those with superfast broadband (30 Mbit/s).

On a decent (10 Mbit/s) connection, it would take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to download Elf. On a gigabit (1 Gbit/s) connection, it would take less than a minute.

Full fibre can better support data-hungry households where family members need to stream, work, game, video-call and study online at the same time. In a year when many people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, average monthly data use grew to 453 GB per connection – more than treble the level of five years ago (132 GB).

Connecting the hardest to reach

Around 123,000 homes (0.4% of the UK) still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s. At this speed, it could take up to an hour and a half to download an HD film.

The UK Government and governments in each of the UK nations continue to deliver projects aimed at making sure people in the hardest-to-reach areas can get the connections they need.

Since its launch in March 2020, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others.

Many families now have multiple devices on the go at the same time for work, learning and entertainment – and the festive holidays can see a particular battle for bandwidth.

Full fibre is helping meet those demands, with millions more benefitting from faster speeds and more reliable connections. But some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Network and Communications Group Director

5G coverage revealed

The rollout of 5G mobile continues to make swift progress, and for the first time we have published 5G coverage data.

We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator. Take-up of 5G-enabled handsets has increased substantially, from just 800,000 last year to more than six million in 2021.

Although doubling in the last year, 5G traffic still accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall mobile data traffic at 3 per cent, with 4G remaining the dominant technology at 91 per cent.

Overall, mobile data consumption increased by 37% in the last year.

Notes to editors

  1. By September 2021, Gigabit-capable broadband was available to 13.7 million homes (47%). This includes full-fibre and upgraded cable networks that are capable of delivering download speeds of 1Gbit/s or higher. This figure has since further increased following Virgin Media O2 completing the upgrade of its network.
  2. We estimate that 5G is available from at least one mobile network operator in the vicinity of 42-57% of premises. The range is based on the information provided to us by operators and informed by our own measurement work.
  3. An interactive version of the report, also published today, allows people to look up how coverage compares in their area.
  4. The International Broadband Scorecard compared broadband availability and take-up across 17 different nations.
  5. Improving your wifi experience
  6. Estimated download speeds used in the Elf graphic are indicative

Related content

Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes? Read More »

OFCOM is doing its job!

Latest OFCOM Report - Why You should'nt hesitate to change Your Broadband Supplier.

As my readers will know, I am no fan of Regulatory Bodies, but where they are doing a decent job, I am more than happy to say so. Reproduced below is the latest report from OFCOM (dated 30th November 2021) in its entirety.


This OFCOM report centres on residential rather than business customers, but if you are “out of Contract” – i.e. free to move suppliers without penalty – the typical savings are about £5 per month. 
This is surely worth having especially since OFCOM have simplified the switching process.
Apart from the cost saving, the benefits may well include a faster Broadband Service

So how do you go about changing providers? 

If you don’t want the hassle of contacting individual suppliers, I recommend the services of a suitable UK Broadband Broker – here is a short Video about Broadband Brokers.

Or  just complete a FREE Broadband Report

OFCOM Publication 30th November 2021

  • 1.3 million broadband users secure better deals since introduction of prompts to shop around
  • Overpayment among mobile customers has dropped by £100m, after operators committed to cut prices when initial contracts end
  • Vulnerable broadband customers who are out of contract have greater protection from higher prices

More broadband and mobile customers are shopping around and signing up to better deals – and saving themselves millions of pounds – following Ofcom rule changes.

Last year, around two thirds (62%) of broadband customers who were nearing the end of their contract either signed up to a new deal with their current provider, or switched to a new one when their existing deal ended. This is up from 47% of customers in this position in 2019.

In addition, the number of broadband customers who are out of contract fell from 8.7 million (40%) in 2019 to 7.4 million (35%) in 2020. On average, these customers pay around £5.10 per month more than they need to.

End-of-contract alerts prompt customer action

Last year, new Ofcom rules came into force that require phone, broadband and pay-TV providers to warn customers when their current contract is ending, and what they could save by signing up to a new deal.[2] We also secured commitments from major telecoms firms to reduce the bills of many out-of-contract customers.

On average, out-of-contract broadband customers pay


more than they need to each month

There is evidence that indicates that these timely prompts from providers are working. In our research, two thirds of customers who were sent an end-of-contract notice recalled receiving one. Of those, 90% found it helpful and a fifth reported that they were prompted into action they would not have otherwise taken.

Broadband customers better off

The number of broadband customers who were out-of-contract in 2020 fell by around 1.3 million from the previous year. This reduction was largely driven by people securing a new contract with their existing provider, rather than switching. The average prices paid by broadband customers also fell over the same period, from £39 in 2019 to £38.10 in 2020, while average speeds continued to increase.

Our analysis also shows that some providers have a greater proportion of out-of-contract customers than others. More than half of Virgin Media’s customers (52%) remained out of contract in 2020 – although less than in 2019 (61%) – while EE had the lowest proportion at 21% (down from 24% in 2019). Plusnet saw the biggest decrease in the proportion of out-of-contract customers year on year – from 42% to 31%.

In September 2020, 52% of Virgin Media customers were out-of-contract. This was higher than Sky (32%), Plusnet (31%), TalkTalk (29%), BT (28%) and EE (21%).

Mobile customers save £100m

Mobile customers on bundled contracts, who pay for their handset and airtime together, are particularly likely to sign up to a new deal when their existing one expires, with just 11% of these customers out of contract. And our research suggests customer engagement in the market is increasing.

Since the commitments we secured came into effect, more than three quarters (76%) of mobile customers on bundled tariffs who were nearing the end of their contract took action to shop around and secure a new deal – up from 70% in 2019.

Also, the amount that bundled out-of-contract mobile customers overpay, relative to customers on like-for-like SIM-only deals, has more than halved – from £182m in 2018 to £83m in 2020.

Vulnerable customers protected

Vulnerable broadband customers who pass the end date of their initial deal now also have greater protection from higher prices, due to the commitments we secured from providers.

On average, these customers pay around £2.30 per month more than their provider’s average price for their service, a significant reduction from £4.40 in 2019.

Prompts from providers are turning into pounds in people’s pockets. It’s great to see more people shopping around and saving money since we took action.

But millions are still potentially paying more than they need to. We’ve made it easier to grab a better deal, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to check what’s out there.

Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Protection

Are you in or out of contract?

Out-of-contract customers don’t have to wait to hear from providers before securing a better deal. Ofcom has a simple, three-step journey to help people find the best offers on the market.

Notes to editors

  1. Figures for broadband and mobile customers nearing the end of their contract who either signed up to a new deal with their current provider, or switched to a new one are from September 2020 and September 2019.
  2. End-of-contract notifications came into force on 15 February 2020. They can be sent by text, email or letter – between 10 and 40 days before a contract comes to an end – and must include:
    1. when your contract is up;
    2. what you’ve been paying until now, and what you’ll pay when your contract is up;
    3. any notice period for leaving your provider; and
    4. your provider’s best deals, including any prices only available to new customers.
  3. Ofcom conducted research among a sample of customers of five mobile and three broadband providers, who had been sent an ECN for a service contract ending in September 2020.
  4. Average broadband prices are based on customers from six providers from whom we obtained data (BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media).

OFCOM is doing its job! Read More »

UK Broadband and BT’s SoGGY

Comment on Broadband in Britain and BT's SoGGY

At Power Comms, we are building some new customer sites to promote UK Broadband Broker Services, as a result of which I needed to dive back into this market place and update myself with all the changes to the Broadband services and products.

As a small business owner for the last 40 years or so, I have regarded IT Departments and Marketing Departments with deep suspicion. Whilst they may be a necessary evil in large organisations, it seems to me that the inhabitants of these departments are working to protect their jobs by producing a large amount of b***shit designed to cloak their activities and promote their indispensabiliy to their bosses. One of the ways this is done is to come up with new and impressive names for simple functions or new services. The Telecoms industry is a case in point. 

And BT (British Telecom – the UK’s largest PSTN) does not disappoint. With the advent of the heavily promoted “Switch Off”, their replacement Broadband Service for ADSL and ISDN services is called SoGEA – which apparently stands for “Single Order Generic Ethernet Access”. Who the f*** came up with that one? What idiot in BT’s Marketing Department seriously thinks that the vast majority of BT customers (home-owners and small businesses) will be impressed? Which customer will give a s**t about “Single Order“? What the f*** does “Generic” mean in this context? Why use the technical term “Ethernet“?

Moving on to IT departments, the Broadband industry has spawned a whole new Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations. Some of the new stuff is fair enough – FTTC, FTTP, FTTH, FTTDP – where the FTT stands for Fibre To The …but do we really need GPON, EoFTTC, GEA etc. etc.?

And while on the subject of ridiculous names and abbreviatons, who the hell came up with the names “Openreach” and LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) to describe the sharing of BT’s UK Network, and The Channel to describe the UK Telecom Reseller Business?

So what opportunites are there for UK telecoms resellers in the new Broadband environment, where the news is all about faster and faster fixed broadband speeds, Fibre Roll Out (another dubious name) and 5G Networks?

OFCOM’s latest initiative will be a big help.

Fixed Line Broadband.
The market of potential customers in the UK for Fixed Line Broadband is broadly divided into two sectors: the large business (for example Corporations and Government Departments with 100s of employees and a giant appetite for Broadband) and secondly the end-consumer – Homeowner and Small Business.

The first sector – big business – is pretty much wrapped up by BT or Openreach. There are signs of some major city-based competiton for the provision of ultra fast broadband – for example Community Fibre in London, who recently raised £400 million to further facilitate their own independent fibre network. However, larger companies usually have their own IT Departments who have something to prove, and will be a hard nut to crack for the average Reseller.

The second sector – Homeowners and small business – is an easier target, even though many of those potential customers have existing contracts with the Incumbent (another dreadful word, which means BT) and the main competition wil be from SoGEA. One major difficulty for resellers will be in overcoming the normal antipathy of customers to changing suppliers, even though it would be to their clear advantage to do so. Resellers will be helped by the BT Switch Off  which will provide a unique selling opportunity, and may be able to persuade some of these customers to consider changing to Wireless Broadband  but I expect fierce competition from the BT salesforce, who will be tasked with doing whatever it takes to retain customers reaching the end of their contract periods.

What About Making and Receiving Phonecalls?
In all the excitement generated by “fibre optic rollout” and the “switch off” and “5G” it is often possible to overlook the fact that the majority of customers in the UK are not that interested in superfast broadband: most of them just need to know that they can continue to make and receive phonecalls and that their internet service will be at least as good if not better. So keeping their phone number is almost always important, together will the ability to make and receive local UK calls (for free if possible). They need to understand if a new handset or router is required, and if they have to pay for it, and how the new VOIP based services will affect them. 

Fixed Wireless Broadband
Although mostly controlled by the “Big Four” (Vodafone, O2 EE and Three), fixed wireless broadband offers good opportunities for Resellers in all customer sectors – including Big Business.

For data hungry companies, a line of sight 5G service to a nearby mast will offer seriously fast Broadband, often matching Leased Line and other FTTP services. Obviously, location and mast proximity will be key factors.

For small businesses and Home Owners, most locations will have 4G coverage, and the broadband speeds available via a suitable fixed wireless 4G or 5G router will often be more than sufficient. And a final mention of  prepaid or PayAsYouGo (PAYG) options, which are available for the purchase of Data in some Mobile Networks – thus avoiding the need for a Contract.

Mobile Broadband – Retail
By UK Mobile Broadband, I mean access to the Internet via a 3G or 4G connection using a SIMcard provided by the Network Operator. Normally, the SIM provided allows both Voice and Data, so that voice calls are made and received over the Network Operator’s routing which gives them control of pricing. There is normally a 12 month (or longer) contract in place which may also include the cost of a locked smartphone – giving the Network Operators another source of income. 

The opportunity here is that many data only SIM products are available from the same Networks, which can be used to provide the 3G or 4G Broadband via an unlocked smartphone or a dongle or MiFi (Wireless Router) on many wireless devices such as a Tablet or a Laptop. The data SIM can also be used with an unlocked wireless router.

VOIP services can be used to make and receive phonecalls to those devices independently of the Mobile Networks. And these SIM packages can be PAYG – so no contract required.

Satellite Broadand
Although Satellite Broadband has been thought of as a niche product, only suitable for consumers in rural areas – i.e. outside traditional cable network coverage or the range of wireless masts – the Broadband speeds and reliability of Satellite Broadband have markedly increased in the last 10 years. 
Providing the installation of a satellite dish prevents no obstacle (planning permission and/or cost) there are good reasons for considering Satellite Broadband, which include redundancy (as a back up service) and the international coverage available. So there are opportunities here for resellers.

Final Thoughts?
A Broadband reseller, will need to be familiar with all the Broadband options available and to be prepared to fight to win new customers by offering them something special. Only one thing springs to mind: first class personal service (one on one is always the best)

UK Broadband and BT’s SoGGY Read More »

Roaming Charges for UK Customers


I suppose it was inevitable that BREXIT would affect the UK’s travelling public.

Sure enough, the National Telecom Operators (both in and outside the UK) have reacted by imposing much higher charges on those customers who use their mobile phones abroad: this is known as “Roaming” and a good explanation of Roaming can be found on our independent Calling Accounts website at

Prior to “Brexit”, roaming charges in the EU had stabilised to a reasonable level, but now as can be seen from the OFCOM article reproduced below, the “big four” UK Mobile Network Operators – O2, EE Vodafone and Three – have jumped on the bandwagon, and used BREXIT as a reason (excuse?) for imposing much higher prices.

Our Advice

It is always worth checking out independent SIM cards – providing your phone is unlocked.

Otherwise, you may be able to purchase a “local” data only SIM card affiliated to and provided by your Home Mobile Network, and then use a VOIP solution via a Mobile Phone App (requires Internet Access)

Lastly, Calling Accounts can offer local access numbers in various different countries which bypass the requirement for internet, but this still requires a local SIM card.


“Travelling abroad? Don’t forget to check for roaming charges”

If you’re looking to head abroad soon, it’s important to be aware of any charges you could face for using your mobile phone when you’re outside the UK.

Since 31 December 2020, the EU rules on mobile roaming charges no longer apply in the UK. That means the amount your mobile provider can charge you for using your mobile phone in EU countries, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein is no longer capped.

Some mobile companies have recently announced changes to their charges for using your mobile when in the EU.

  • EE has confirmed that from January 2022, customers joining or upgrading from 7 July this year will pay £2 a day to use their usual data allowances. This charge will not apply to customers when in the Republic of Ireland.
  • O2 has announced a new 25 GB limit for customers traveling to the EU from 2 August 2021. Customers will pay £3.50 per GB after they have reached that limit.
  • Three: From 23 May 2022 customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1 October 2021 will pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU and £5 a day when roaming outside the EU. Pay-as-you-go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes, as will customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Vodafone: From 6 January 2022, pay-monthly personal and small-business customers who join Vodafone, upgrade or change their plan on or after 11 August 2021 will pay a daily charge for using their phone in Vodafone’s European roaming zones. Customers whose Vodafone Pay monthly plan started before 11 August 2021 will pay no additional roaming charges as long as they stay on their current mobile plan. For other business customers, changes will come into effect from November, but charges will not start until 6 January 2022.

Ofcom does not have the power to prevent mobile companies from charging customers for using their services when travelling, but there are a number of measures in place to protect people from running up unexpectedly high bills.

Mobile companies must tell their customers about any contract changes. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, companies must give customers at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised.

Providers must also publish details of roaming charges on their website and send you an alert with pricing information when you start roaming.

There is also a £45 (excluding VAT) per month cap on all roaming charges. Your provider will send you an alert once you reach 80% of this and another once you have reached the limit. After this, providers must stop charging for roaming unless you opt-in to continue.

So if you are travelling abroad it is important to check with your provider what charges you may have to pay, before you leave the UK.”

Article reproduced from OFCOM September 6th 2021 

Roaming Charges for UK Customers Read More »

UK Broadband Switching made easy

Fairer Broadband Choices for UK Consumers


I am no big fan of OFCOM: being part of a small business, we seem to be constantly fighting both our competition and the Regulators.

OFCOM – the UK Communications Regulator – has an unusually large remit.

From initial responsibility only for the telecommunications sector in the UK, it has now assumed control over all types of communication in the UK, including Broadcasting (TV Satellite etc) and even the Postal Services.

My experience is that too often OFCOM has been guilty of siding with the large operators in the Telecoms sector, and not supporting the smaller. Recent examples are the handling of the “Nuisance Calls” problem and the proposal to do away with revenue share on Non Geographic Numbers

The first has led to large rises in call charges across the board affecting both the small business and the end consumer.

The second will adversely affect small businesses in the Telecoms sector, and lead to a reduction of choice of service for consumers.

However, this latest action by OFCOM is very good news for consumers of Broadband. For too long, the customer has been “locked in” to a Broadband Service  and this latest move by OFCOM is to be applauded!

Full Text of the September release from OFCOM - Good News for UK's Broadband Customers

“Simpler broadband switching in as little as a day”

“Broadband and landline customers will find it easier than ever to change provider and secure a better deal, under a new ‘One Touch Switch’ process announced today by Ofcom.  

The change means all home broadband users – including cable and full fibre customers – will only have to contact their new company to switch, with no need to speak to their current provider before making the move.  

People can already switch between providers on Openreach’s copper network, such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk by following a process where their new provider manages the switch. 

But for the first time, customers switching between different networks or technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic – will be covered by the simpler process. 

Currently, these customers need to contact both their existing and new provider to co-ordinate the switch, which includes trying to bridge the gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.

An Ofcom news release with more detail about the announcement is also available.”

Article reproduced from OFCOM Spetember 26th 2021

UK Broadband Switching made easy Read More »

The Rise and Rise of Call Charges in 2021



This year 2021 has seen an unprecedented reversal of the trend towards lower costs for telephone calls – particularly for International calling. These increases have been imposed by both cable and mobile networks.

So why is this, when to all intents and purposes – with the growth in coverage of fibre optic cabling and the rollout of 5G – call costs should be trending downwards?

I should make clear that this Blog concerns International Call traffic and does not relate to telecom businesses offering Broadband VOIP and PBX services to contracted residential and business customers in the UK or elsewhere.

Neither does it relate to international calls made by internet users with popular apps such as WhatsApp and Skype: this form of communication – where endusers can talk for free with friends and family abroad using the same app – has severeley impacted on the marketplace for international calling, to the extent that Telecom Service Providers previously offering international calling as their “lead product” are now relegated to niche players.

Although our niche client customers are primarily retail and resident in the UK, where the “post Brexit” scenario has been a marvellous reason (excuse?) for Networks like EE and Vodafone to re-establish Roaming charges, the general increases seen in international telephony costs are caused by other factors, which are not related to the COVID 19 crisis. For example, there have been sizable increases in the rates to call certain Mobile networks in  the EU.

The reasons for these increases have not been fully revealed or explained by the networks involved or their regulatory bodies.

In this Blog, I speculate on some of the real reasons behind the increases.


Put simply. the only influence over the PSTNs and major Mobile Networks is that exerted by the respective Regulators, who in turn are tasked by Governments to prevent unduly high call prices (competition?) and to address and/or react to the concerns of the Public. In the UK for example, the appropriate Regulator is OFCOM

One such concern which has been around for a long time is the excessive number of inbound “nuisance” calls received by the public from either salesmen or customer call centres. I have to agree – it does annoy me to receive a call from someone who I do not know on my private number (at least I thought it was private) and who tries to sell me some service or product – which may or may not be legal, and often involves the potential for fraud.

This problem became more widespread with the use of SIP/VOIP telephony and sophisticated call center programmes by the businesses involved in the practice, which allowed high numbers of “impersonal” calls to be made at very low cost, and from various countries where telephony regulation was a good deal more lax – for example India.

CLI/ANI Compulsory
In order to combat this nuisance call epidemic, and to be able to identify the “culprits”, there has been since the end of 2020 a global tightening of the rules: effectively, no inbound call can now be received without the caller’s identity being transmitted – CLI (ANI in the USA)  

For the UK, OFCOM has produced more information on Nuisance calls and what they describe as “Number Spoofing Scams”

Naturally, as with other regulatory enforcements – some “babies are thrown out with the bathwater” – and many smaller operators and telecom service providers have had to adjust their services to comply with the new caller identity directive. 

The Effect on International Call Rates
Again – put simply – the International Regulators have authorised penalties to be applied to any incoming calls that do not meet the Caller Identity criteria. This of course is not a problem for the PSTNs and major networks who are responsible for 99% of call traffic – but it does mean that the smaller operators (competition?) who piggyback on these major networks have to apply increased vigilance and some of them have chosen to cease offering some call termination services, and/ or just increase rates to certain destinations to compensate: this in turn adversely affects the whole chain of telephone service providers, from the medium size to the small.


Fraud in this context does not relate to the fraud potentially involved in a Nuisance Call as described above.

I am referring to the non-payment of call charges due, usually affecting the higher priced international destinations such as countries in Africa and the Middle East, and calls to Premium Rate Numbers which has been a problem prevalent within the telecoms Industry – particularly with the “second tier” Carriers and smaller telecom operators – i.e. not PSTNs 

The fraudsters range from those exploiting smartphone technology to internet hackers – who try to access mobile phones and telephone accounts and the servers hosting telephone switches so that they can open call channels to make free international calls or calls to premium rated numbers. There are also dishonest resellers who have no intention of paying suppliers for calls made by their customers.

As far as we know, the major International PSTNs and Network Operators have not been directly exposed to this problem, although there have been rumours that the “netting off” procedure described below has been abused by some Carriers or Networks from countries not regulated in the same way.

Large international telecom companies have a procedure known as “netting off” to establish who owes what: it is obviously not practical to individually invoice each call out of the millions of calls made daily: as a very simple example, 10 million minutes of calls from Indian Operator X  made and delivered to the USA on Operator Y’s Network may be “netted off” against 10 million minutes made and delivered to India on Operator X’s network from USA Operator Y.

As they own the fibre optic cable networks or mobile networks, and they are dealing with other large Corporations, major telecom Operators are unlikely to suffer from non-payment. However, there have been instances of major problems with large telephone companies – WorldCom for example, 20 years ago, although this was more to do with fraudulent internal accounting practices rather than any non-payment of revenue owing.

The problems mainly affect businesses further down the Telecoms “food chain” – such as Service Providers, who do not own a network and rely on agreements with major operators to deliver their traffic. And these operators will normally require prepayment of  call credit, so that they are insulated from any risk of bad debt. Even if there is no prepayment in place, the Service Provider will be liable to the Carrier for any fraud perpetrated – and their customers or endusers are normally protected.

The Effect on International Call Rates
Successfully combatting the risk of fraud and hacking attacks inevitably results in higher call prices.


If I was the CEO of a major international Telecoms Company, for example a PSTN with an existing cable network and with a large shareholding in a Mobile Network, I would argue that many of the problems and issues described in this Blog could be avoided if telephony was left in the hands of large well funded organisations and that all customers – both retail and business – should be on a monthly contract for all their telecom and internet requirements.

However, for good or bad, most International Regulating Bodies have decided that consumers should be allowed the choice and that competition is desirable within their national Telecoms industry, particularly with regard to call costs.

The problem is that with the rise and rise of the main Mobile Networks – many owned by the Cable Networks – and with the control exerted over mobile phones and their operating systems – the opportunity for true competition is decreasing. For example, in the UK there are effectively four choices for Mobile networks (Vodafone, EEowned by BT the UK PSTN02 and Three) with very similar packages available: is this competition? And since most people now use their mobile phones most of the time, as a matter of convenience, the natural choice for international calling would be either through routes provided by and controlled by those four major Mobile Networks or via internet apps like Skype.

The Effect on International Call Rates
Where no real competition exists, the only trend for prices is upwards.


it was inevitable that Brexit would provide an excuse for price increases, and so it has proved – with Vodafone and EE announcing steep price increases on Roaming charges (using your mobile phone abroad). It is expected that O2 and Three will shortly announce similar increases – so much for “competition”.

Some years ago, the cost of using one’s mobile phone to call home from abroad was outrageously expensive: in the UK, following complaints from the public and intervention from the Regulator, this was corrected and charges reduced to reasonable levels.

The Effect on International Call Rates.
Now – with the marvellous excuse that is Brexit – charges are set to rise again to much higher levels.


Someone has to pay for the costs of Regulation and Fraud and you can bet your life that it is not the major Telecom Operators.

These costs are passed on “down the line” to the Service Providers and the public in the form of higher charges, which leaves the way clear for the empire building to continue at the top of the Telecoms tree, where the target is to build faster and larger networks – either by Investment in new networks or by Takeover (buying out the competition)

The reasons for many of the price increases in 2021 remain unclear – they cannot in my opinion be explained solely by Regulation and Fraud. 

It seems far more likely that the issues outlined in this Blog have been used as excuses for the largest companies in the telecommunications sector to hike prices. So much for true competition in the Telecoms Industry.

Let us hope that the Telecom Regulators actually do their job – which is primarily to create competition and keep costs competitive.

They are failing the Public at the moment.

The Rise and Rise of Call Charges in 2021 Read More »

Telecoms Services – Contract or Prepaid?

Why the Large Telecom Operators Want you to Sign Up to a Contract. What you Should Know.

Foreword - A Simple Guide to the Telecoms Business

In the old days – 30 years ago plus – there were no Mobile Phone Networks, and for most people, to make a telephone call anywhere,  a “fixed” line was needed. This would be provided by a simple cable which was in most cases connected by engineers to the building concerned or PayPhone installation from the nearest telephone pole or Exchange.

Satellite phones were available but the cost was beyond the pockets of most consumers.


As a result, the owners of the “cable” were in a very strong bargaining position and could basically charge whatever they wanted to charge for (1) connecting the cable (2) providing a maintenance service and (3) for deciding what the call costs should be for national and international calls. The main Cable Network was known as the PSTN (Public Service Telephone Network) and each country had it’s own PSTN which enjoyed a Monopoly on telephone traffic. Two well known examples of these national monopolies at the time are AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph – formerly BELL) in the USA and British Telecom (BT) in the UK. Both these companies used a Contract to provide services to the customer, and it was a “dream business” – rather like printing their own money.  Armed with millions of contracts, PSTNs could leverage massive sums of money to develop their businesses further.

Fast Forward to Today

The main changes in the last 30-40 years have come about for three main reasons:

Removal of Fixed Line Monopolies. First, for the fixed line or cable services, the Governments of most countries woke up to the fact that a national Telecoms Monopoly was not a good idea, and introduced competition, by forcing the PSTNs to share their cable networks. This was not entirely successful in that the PSTN and the new competition had different ideas about the value of the existing cable networks, but it did result in a gradual and nominal lowering of prices for the consumer. 

And most of the old fixed line call and data traffic is now carried over fibre optic cable.

The Advance of Mobile. Secondly, the new Mobile Networks – which of course do not rely on cable to transmit traffic, but use VHF Radio waves on special frequencies under licence  – have now established their own extensive arrays of Transmitters/Receivers, so their coverage (ability to connect any call to any number) is pretty much on a par with the PSTNs. Whereas a cable customer could be identified by the number allocated to them, Mobile Networks relied on a new technical invention called the SIM card (Subscriber Identification Module)

The Internet  of Things The huge advances in internet technology has had a dramatic effect on the Telecoms business, because  there is a third network now available for telephone call traffic using SIP and VOIP technology. Not only that, but the Internet provides Video Communication and Messaging which is to all intents and purposes free (always remembering that Internet Bandwidth does have to be paid for by somebody!)

Who Supplies and Controls Internet Access?

Access to the Internet is of course controlled by the Telecoms Operators – both Cable and Mobile. This is why so much money has been spent by PSTNs and other fixed line Operator companies and Mobile Operators – the goal is to have faster and faster internet connection (broadband) using fibre optics – fixed line or cable – and 5G from Mobile networks. 

So How Do We Normally Pay for our Internet and Telecoms Services?

Telecom companies – and by this we mean both Landline (cable or fixed line) and Mobile Operators – want you to sign up to a Contract.


Because this business model makes the most profit for them and – more importantly – gives them the ability to raise finance to pay for their future expenditure, be it taking over another company or upgrading their networks. It is important to realise that the cost of any one telephone call over an existing network is in reality as near zero as makes no difference – even for most international calls. The percentage profit on any telephone call is colossal, which is why the Contracts can seem to be so attractive, with “unlimited call minutes” etc. etc.

The same applies to Internet Access – which is now part of most Contracts. Most consumers will never approach the maximum bandwidth or maximum call minutes or maximum SMS messages available on any contract: even if they do, the profit margins are so high that it is immaterial. 

Better still for the Mobile networks are contracts which include the purchase of a new mobile phone (more profit) and which tie consumers in for two years + (with penalties for early termination).

And they have your Bank Account details.

Consumer Inertia

And once a consumer has committed to a Contract, the Networks rely on the inertia of most consumers to prevent them making changes. If you want to experience the best sales pitches from these Networks, and assuming you are able to connect with their “customer service” without waiting for hours on the phone, try to cancel your contract and see the immediate response from their Sales Retention Team. You will be surprised at the improvements that can be made to any Contract you may have, because their absolute priority is to retain their Contracted customers.

So What Prepaid Options are Available?

Pre-Paid Mobile

Most Mobile Networks will offer prepaid call time and SMS messaging, but the packages are not always generous and the call charges normally expensive. There is also an expiry date – which means that the prepaid package you have will terminate after a fixed period whether or not you have used your allocated call minutes or SMS quota.

Pre-Paid Calling Accounts – Local Access Numbers

The Calling Account is the successor to the old phonecard – more information on Calling Accounts can be found at

Calling Accounts are worth checking out if you need to make international calls, which are often a good deal cheaper. However, to use a Calling Account, you will need first to call the allocated local or Freephone access number, which will require a conventional landline or mobile phone, and for this reason they will not be as convenient. On the plus side, many Calling Accounts offer international access for a number of different countries which can be very useful and when used in Internet Mode, offer many different services including VoiceMail and Personal Numbers. 

Pre-Paid Data SIM Card

The Prepaid data SIM card is available from most Mobile Networks and is in our opinion the best way to make economies and avoid a Contract. With Internet access, all the normal messaging and chat options are there and voice calls can be made using FREE browser, mobile or desktop applications from one of the many companies specialising in VOIP and SIP calls – including Calling Accounts. The only downside is that most of these Pay as You Go or Pre-Paid Data SIMs have an expiry date.

So What Do You Recommend?

Obviously, there are many different options and everybody has different priorities. Luckily there are a large number of different Contracts available, and you need to make sure you are not paying more than you need to.

Without careful management, prepaid options for voice SMS and internet could actually end up being more expensive than contracts – which is good news for the Telecoms Operators and not entirely accidental.

Our recommendation is to regularly review any contract you may have and make sure that you are on the best contract which is suited to your particular requirements: if you are nowhere near your allowed quota (Internet Bandwidth, Call Minutes, SMS), ask for a cheaper package. Conversely, make sure you are not being penalised for exceeding your quota.

If they want to keep you as a customer, make them work for it – and don’t be afraid to ask advice, as the salesman will know far better than you do which Contracts may be more suitable.

Our own solution as a small business is to use a combination of contract and prepaid: we have a Data SIM on contract for our internet access, which provides sufficient bandwidth and a fixed number for Caller ID purposes, and we use the free browser mobile and desktop applications for Voice Calls from a prepaid Calling Account service. This combination means that we can operate economically from just about anywhere with any device.

Telecoms Services – Contract or Prepaid? Read More »

The Importance of the Right Domain Name


Themes and Branding from an Investor Perspective

Just a thought about Domain Names and Themes and Branding.

If you take the view that your purchaser will normally purchase a Domain Name for a business or business idea, then it seems to me to make sense to have Domain names that are descriptive and lend themselves to a Theme or Brand.

In our case, we are not like Mike Mann in that we cannot afford the massive portfolio that he has accumulated, and it seems to me that there is an element of “pot-luck” involved in his choice of domain names and finding a Buyer. He must have some system  and good luck to him!

It is also my experience that Domain Names can take many years to sell and the key to reducing this time frame is:

(1) to choose the right Domain Names with potential
(2) to make sure that they are heavily promoted and marketed to the greatest possible audience.

We have accumulated a small domain portfolio over the years, and have always tried to choose domain names that fit with our own business experience as having potential for other Business owners.  I like the idea of themes – for example, domains beginning with everyday words like “just” or “easy” – as can be seen on our InternetDomains.ForSale website. Where we need to improve is with raising the profile of our site – Work In Progress!!   I also like the idea from for monetarising or renting domain names without actually selling them. I am working on this concept – it seems to me that I can take this one step further with our WebMaster programme and advertise a “Ready for Business” Domain with a working site attached available for Rent. Any comments welcome.

The Importance of the Right Domain Name Read More »

Domain Buddy on email Marketing

The Dos and Don'ts of successful email Marketing in 2021


I have been receiving and sending business e-mails for over 20 years and am always surprised by the lack of professionalism shown by most people who use emails as a means of attracting customers, either for services or to sell a product.

A marketing email should not be a “phishing expedition” where the sender has no idea whether what is being offered has any relevance to the Recipent.

In 2021, Consumers have multiple choices, and a wealth of product service and sales information available to them on the Internet. So email marketing is no longer the simple solution to increase sales of a service or a product. 

However, it can be effective, BUT some simple rules need to be observed.

The first 10 minutes of my business day is spent clearing my spam folders and checking – and invariably deleting – any other emails which have managed to evade my GMail “filters”.

Like most people in business, I value my time and do not want to be the recipient of unwanted emails – unless they arouse my interest in the first 5 or 10 seconds. This is the ONLY time available to make a good impression.

If I do check an email whose sending address I do not recognise, before deleting it, there are some simple rules that automatically apply which persuade me whether or not to “read on”.

Domain Buddy Rules for email Marketing

Relevancy to the Recipient

The email must be relevant to the business, and this should be immediately demonstrated by using a well constructed short email “Subject” or  “Title”. It should also demonstrate that you have made the effort to understand the business carried on by the recipient – which can normally be done by visiting their Business Web Sites. Best of all, and if at all possible, you should suggest how your product or service can specifically benefit the recipient.  The fact that you have demonstrated that you have taken the time to do the research will often impress the recipient enough to avoid your email ending up in the Spam folder. Even if the ideas you have suggested are impractical, this approach will improve your chances dramatically.

email Format

Do not use “highlighting” and bold text or other weird fonts, colours and tables. Keep the format simple and keep it professional. It is preferable to have a name – as in “Dear Mr Smith” for example – but remember that people change their jobs regularly, so make sure it is valid and accurate. It is probably safer to use “Dear Sir/Madam” if there is no verified name.

Politeness and Honesty

The email must be positive and polite. One of the big mistakes made is to tell the recipient of an email that his existing product or service is inferior in some way. For example, our business has a number of websites and we have many unsolicited emails telling us why our sites could be improved – either by re-design, or by making unrealistic SEO performance promises. Most businesses are well aware of where they could improve, but a negative comment or untruthful promise does not win a sale.

Well Written

By this I mean the email should be in good English. English is the commercial language used in the internet. If the email contains poor grammar or incorrect spelling, this reflects directly on the sender. Apart from this, the email should be brief and to the point, and offer a way to take action without unreasonable commitment from the recipient. Examples of the service or product offered, with a favourable review, are always a good idea providing that they are genuine.

Recognisable Sender

Don’t use email lists, or people who populate website forms. There is nothing more annoying to a website owner than to see one of his customer contact forms being used to try and sell him something. Send any marketing emails from a personal or business email address that is genuine. There are many excellent sales people from India, but they seem to think that if they admit they are from India, this will reduce their chances: some even use fictitious Western names. Do not do this.

Contact Requests

Do not expect that a prospective purchaser of your service or product will want to follow up with a phonecall or messenger chat. If the marketing email passes the initial tests, and the recipient actually reads the email, make it easy for the recipient to find more information without commitment – possibly by providing a link to a website and/or a Video with that additional information. By all means provide genuine contact details, but for the simple reason that you have not yet earnt the trust of the recipient, it is highly unlikely that he or she will want to contact you at this stage.

Be Patient

email marketing is a lot like fishing but not phishing! Just make sure that the email sent out meets the above guidelines, and makes it easy for the recipient to obtain more information without having to commit to anything. This may seem to be against all the familiar rules of CALL TO ACTION and BUY NOW which you will find on commercial sites, but the first step is to reassure the potential customer that the email you have sent should not go the spam folder or be deleted. After this, with carefully worded and polite follow ups, without pressure, and designed to create trust, you may eventually make a sale!

How We Respond to Marketing emails that do not get Spammed

“Why Your Marketing email is flawed”
“Yours is one of the very few emails that I am responding to.
However, as with many other organisations looking for business, you make what I consider to be the fundamental error of explaining what you do rather than how you can specifically help our particular business.
It is fairly obvious that you have not checked our websites and have no concept of our requirements our products and services or what may be of interest to us.
You are relying on us to analyse your product and inform you of what we may need rather than providing some ideas or strategies for us to consider. 
This in my opinion is counter-productive as we do not have the time.or the inclination to do so – however good your product or service may be.
Kind regards”

Domain Buddy on email Marketing Read More »