When A Telephony Flat is Not a Telephony Flat…

Yes, I know, there isn’t much of meaning left behind certain words such as open, free, unlimited or flat. People including myself do and have to get used to it and look below the surface, i.e. the pages of fine print attached to a contract. The latest twist that I’ve recently come across thanks to a report on Teltarif is that a telephony flat to the national fixed network of one of the bigger resellers in Germany is actually not a flat at all, as over 4500 fixed net destinations with normal national destination codes (‘Vorwahlen’ in German) are excluded and billed per minute!

Those 4500 fixed net numbers belong to voice services, e.g. for conference call dial-ins and have a normal national destination code like for the cities of Frankfurt or Cologne. Yes, a normal NDC not a special NDC! In their fine print, the reseller gives a link to their 100 page long PDF of numbers that are excluded from their so called ‘flat’. I had a look and sure enough, the Webex conference call dial-in numbers I regularly use are on the list. I’m flabbergasted, now even a fixed network flat in mobile is no longer a flat, at least when you want to go on the cheap and sign a contract with a reseller!

Fortunately, most people use Webex services over the Internet today and dial in via ‘the web’. So be happy while net neutrality lasts, because otherwise who knows, maybe those bits transferred over the Internet to and from servers of such services are billed separately… Absurd? Yes, but seemingly acceptable in telephony networks. Food for thought.

One thought on “When A Telephony Flat is Not a Telephony Flat…”

  1. The telecom industry is creative with such tariff exceptions. Who will read this lists before a call and compare with the dialled number? And it seems that they don’t recognize that exactly this behaviour is pushing the users to solution like Skype, Facetime or WhatsAppCall. To protect the users from unintended costs the BNetzA should push that the costs are mentioned when calling such a number before the connection is established like some Call by Call providers do.
    I was already astonished that time when the 032 for location independent devices was introduced that they were excluded from Flatrates even in fixed network contracts.
    One question which i am not 100% sure are there a different termination costs for this conference dial in numbers and 032 numbers compared to “normal” fixed line numbers? I guess not.

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