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Avoid the Mobile Termination Rate trap

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Excessive charges for international calls

Humboldt State University is seeing per-call charges of up to $1500 for calls to mobile phones in certain countries. This is happening because those countries do not regulate what their mobile carriers can charge for calls terminating on a mobile device on those carriers’ networks (known as the Mobile Termination Rate – see below for more information).  

Please be aware that your department budget will be charged for these calls, effective July 1st 2014.

To avoid budget shock, please check ahead to establish whether the number you plan to call is a mobile number, and consider these alternatives when contacting an individual overseas on University business:

  • Conduct the call via Skype
  • Email the individual ahead of time to request a landline number
  • Take care of business via email or chat instead of phone

Be aware also that some people may have configured their landline phones to roll over to their mobile number when they are out of the office; if you hear ringing at the other end, followed by a pause and then a second ring cycle, this is likely what’s happening. In this situation, it may be unavoidable to actually connect to the mobile phone, so try to arrange to call back to a landline or via Skype.

About Mobile Termination Rates

When a mobile customer calls someone on a different network, that network charges the customer's network for connecting and acting as the terminus for (“terminating”) the call. As part of the cost of a call between customers of different network operators, these termination rates are included in the calling customer’s bill (in this case, HSU’s bill). To give you an idea of just how much money is involved here, mobile termination rates from landlines to mobile numbers are the largest contributor to mobile operators’ revenues today.

International Mobile Termination Charge is an additional per-minute rate that is applied to all international calls (direct dial calls from your home or business and calling card calls) that originate in the United States and terminate in certain countries to either wireless communications devices (including but not limited to mobile phones, pagers, personal computers, and personal digital assistants), or to a portable telephone number where a forwarding, tracking, or other type of location service is used.

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