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Premium Rate Numbers - Essential Information You Must Know

Jan 17, 2008
In this article, we explain the types and uses of premium rate numbers. We also delve into some of the negative aspects of these numbers and talk about pricing information. Premium rate numbers are telephone numbers used for certain services. As the name suggests, the rate charged for such calls is higher than the normal numbers. The overall concept and the technology used to create these numbers is the same as for toll-free telephone numbers. This means the number remains the same regardless of the area code.

These numbers have a controlling body, which regulates both the content of the service as well as the price charged for availing the service. The one in the United Kingdom is called ICSTIS (Independent Committee for the supervision Standards of Telephone Information Services).

A very common use for these services is technical support for computer software and hardware. Other uses include news, weather forecasts, directory inquiries, voting and competitions related to television shows. Adult chat lines are also part of this premium rate number network.

The telephone numbering plan provides premium rate numbers that are substantially different from normal telephone numbers. A 900 number service bureau assists service providers who offer 900 number programs. It does things like approving the 900 number programs, but it also operates the equipment and technology to process these 900 number calls.

There is some fraud and misuse of this 900-number service by Internet thieves. Prompting internet users to download a dialer is very common. This dialer is used to call a premium rate number, which then incurs charges on the users' telephone bill without their knowledge. The revenue generated is subsequently shared between the service provide and the telephone company.

All across the globe, countries use premium rate numbers. Most countries have their own individual controller and regulator. Most numbers begin with 80 or 90, depending on the country and the availability of the number.

A common scheme employed by service providers is to obtain kickbacks from the high-rate international call tariffs. In most cases the calls do not leave a country of origin "signature", although the number has a dialing code unique to that country. Hence these types of numbers have baffled international jurisdiction.

The cost of premium rate numbers varies widely. They range from as little as a few cents and to more than a dollar, calculated on a per-minute basis. Should a customer make a call to a 976 number in the U.S., it will have a very high call rate -- as high as $2.99 for the first minute and 99 cents for each additional minute. Kids and teenagers can rack up large bills for their parents when the minors unknowingly call these numbers. To prevent unauthorized calls, phone companies now offer a 'premium rate number' barring service.

Aside from a few negative aspects, premium rate numbers offer an efficient and useful method of charging for services and information.
About the Author
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