Friday, 29 May 2009

Receive credit for your recommendations

Many new customers are introduced to us by referral from existing customers who understand the service we are able to supply to businesses. We would like to provide a small token of appreciation for each introduction and have introduced a customer referral scheme.

To take part please click here to download the referral form. On completing the form please fax it back to us on 0161 6223501. We will credit you £10 for each new customer who takes business from Plum. The credit can either be a credit to your account or a donation to a charity of your choice (please state preference on the referral form).

This referral scheme applies for any new customers who take business with Plum Communications prior to 31st December 2009. Thank you for recommending Plum Communications.

If you are not a Plum customer, feel free to visit our website to view information on our available products and services. Alternatively, click here for a Plum Portfolio fact sheet, which summarises our products and services.

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New links on our website

This week we have added 2 new links to our website ( to allow customers to keep up to date with Plum Communications more easily.

  1. Subscribe to Plum Blog – Enter your email address and you will receive the latest entries from our blog via email.
  2. Subscribe to Plum Email Offers – Enter your email address and we will send you monthly emails telling you about our latest products and services offers.

Alternatively, customers can visit our blog and email archive directly through the links on the website or through the following links: Plum Blog, Plum Email Archive

As a reminder, customers are also able to view their bills and emails on the website or through the following links: Plum Bill, Webmail

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Monday, 18 May 2009

Rhodri completes his 10km run for the Alzheimer’s Society

After training and collecting donations for the last few months, Plum’s Marketing Manager Rhodri Lloyd yesterday successfully completed the Bupa Manchester 10km run. Running as one of 33,000 runners, Rhodri completed the run in 55 mins 49 seconds, finishing in 10,425th position in the top third of all the runners. “As pleased as I am to have successfully completed the run in under an hour, I am a bit disappointed with my time as I had hoped to do it in nearer 50 minutes. Regardless of that though, I had a great day. The atmosphere and support from everyone, from the spectators to performing musicians to fellow runners, was brilliant. I would recommend the run to anyone, even if you don’t rate yourself as a long distance runner, simply for the experience on the day itself. I’m sure this will be the first of many runs I do for charity”.

Rhodri had originally aimed to raise £300 in the process of running the 10km race for the Alzheimer’s Society, in memory of his grandfather who died from Alzheimer’s in 2003, but has so far exceeded this target with the current figure standing at £355. “Up until about a week and a half ago I was worried that I wouldn’t meet my original target of £300. Fortunately however, people have been extremely generous over the last week, in particularly Plum Communications, which has seen my fundraising figure shoot up past £300. I still know of many people who have promised to sponsor me post event, so who knows what my final fundraising figure will be”. You can still make a donation or view his Justgiving donations page at

Rhodri's 10km run

The men’s 10km race was won by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie in 27 mins 39 seconds. The women’s race was won by Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot in 32 mins and 1 second. Another event held as part of the day was a special 150m street race, featuring the current 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt. He won the race in a world record time of 14.35 secs.

Below are two videos showing the highlights of both the 10km run and 150m race events

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Friday, 15 May 2009

Trams to run through Oldham town centre

Despite failing to gain funding from the government following a resounding ‘no’ vote in the Congestion Charge referendum in Greater Manchester in December, Great Manchester is to now get a £1.4bn transport fund from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and government, in order to carry out a number of currently stalled transport projects across the region, as well as creating 21,000 new jobs.

This funding will now help with the following transport projects:

  • Further Metrolink (tram line) extensions to Manchester Airport, East Didsbury, Ashton-under-Lyne and the town centres of Oldham and Rochdale, as well as a second city crossing between Victoria and G-Mex. View the full Metrolink map here
  • A Stockport bypass linking the airport and the A6
  • The Mottram by-pass
  • A guided busway between Leigh and Manchester
  • The Wigan inner-relief road
  • Increased park-and-ride facilities across Greater Manchester
  • A `cross-city' bus package, with better and more frequent routes through the city centre
  • Bus station improvements in Bolton and Altrincham

The new funding will see 6 tram stations being created in Oldham town centre, instead of the original 2 at Mumps and Werneth- Mumps, Oldham Central (Clegg Street), Union Street, King Street, Westwood and Werneth.

Oldham Council Leader Howard Sykes has explained how the £84 million funding given to Oldham will reap many benefits for the town, “This has the potential to transform Oldham into an aspirational 21st century town and send out the message that we are open for business. This is about creating an infrastructure for those studying in Oldham to find work across Greater Manchester, giving them easy access to work areas across and within the city region.” The Metrolink extensions will help to link up the key higher and further educational establishments in the town - Oldham College, Oldham Sixth Form College, University Centre Oldham, and the planned Regional Science Centre - and therefore provide students with a transport network that will help them exploit their skills.

A broadcast of the above news can be viewed below

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Monday, 11 May 2009

Ofcom announce changes to 0870 numbers

Ofcom have announced that the proposed changes to 0870 numbers will come into effect on 1st August 2009. The aim is to rebuild public confidence in NGNs (Non Geographic Numbers) by restoring the geographic link for 0870 ‘national rate’ calls and will require mobile and fixed line providers to charge the same or less for 0870 calls as they do for calls to geographic numbers (starting 01 or 02) and be included in any call packages. The Ofcom change will mean that revenue sharing will no longer available on 0870 numbers. Calls received by 0870 number owners will become chargeable. A pricing announcement will follow shortly; however, this is likely to be in line with current Area-Call charges.

There are 3 main options available:

1. Leave the 0870 number live and accept the new charges. The service will continue as normal and routing will not be affected.
2. Cease the existing 0870 number. This can be ceased immediately or when the new regulations come into place on 1st August 2009
3. Migrate the service to another non-geographic number. Should you require revenue sharing Plum would recommend 084* (0844, 0843) or 087* (0871, 0872) numbers.

Numbers can be run in parallel to ensure no loss of business, for example, continue to run the 0870 number with an announcement that the number is changing, to enable your customers to get used to the changes gradually. When the changes come in to affect, either cease the number or leave an announcement on advising customers to dial the new number. Plum offer both of these services.

Ofcom have also announced that once the 0870 changes have been implemented they will consider whether a review on 0845’s is necessary and advise on the appropriate timing of this. An announcement will be made on this in 2009 or 2010.

Alternative numbers
•0843 is an extension of the 0844 range with price points from 1ppm to 5ppm
•0872 is an extension of the 0871 range with price points from 5ppm to 10ppm
(subject to PhonepayPlus regulations)

For a PDF version of this announcement, please click here.

Do not hesitate to contact Plum on 0161 622 3500 or at if you have any queries regarding this new legislation or would like to discuss the available options for your current 0870 number.

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PhonepayPlus to take over running of 0871 numbers

Ofcom have recently announced that PhonepayPlus will take over the day-to-day regulation of 0871 numbers on 1st August 2009, when numbers beginning 087 - with the exception of 0870 - will formally be recognised as Premium Rate Services (PRS), putting them under the remit of PhonepayPlus' Code of Practice. This will mean that there are changes on the services for all 0871 numbers provided by Plum Communications. Please note that these regulations only apply to numbers targeted to consumers. Business to business communication is not covered under current PhonepayPlus regulations.

4 areas covered by the PhonepayPlus regulation

1. Clear pricing
Customers must be clearly informed of the price that a call to a 087* number will cost. This should be included clearly on all advertising and literature relating to the 087* numbers which is aimed at consumers. PhonepayPlus does understand that there may be advertising and literature out in the marketplace currently. They have advised that in the short term a message at the start of all calls to 0871 will be acceptable.

2. Undue delay
PhonepayPlus have advised the “services must not be unreasonably delayed or prolonged” this means that consumers must not be unnecessarily delayed when calling 087* numbers and need to be advised of their expected wait time or position in a queue on the phone if there will be a long waiting period. This will allow the consumer to decide whether to continue to hold or not especially during busy periods.

3. Fairness
Promotions must not mislead or take unfair advantage of consumers. All advertising should be clear and concise and not mislead or aim to mislead the consumers in any way or take unfair advantage of any characteristic or circumstance which may make consumers vulnerable.

4. Redress
087* services will now be treated as PRS services and as such come under the constraints of PhonepayPlus which means that consumers will be able to make complaints if they feel that they were mislead in any way.

For a full PDF version of this announcement please click here.

PhonepayPlus have advised that should a provider be found in breach of its code it has the power to issue formal reprimands impose fines and even shut down the service. Plum Communications Ltd. as a registered service provider are ultimately responsible for the 087* services and will work together with PhonepayPlus should any services be subject to investigation. Plum Communications Ltd. as the service provider reserves the right to pass
on any fines / sanctions to any customers who do not conform to PhonepayPlus code of practice guidelines, which can be found at

Guidance on the new regulation is available at
Should you have any questions or queries on the new regulations please do not hesitate to contact PhonepayPlus directly
telephone: 0845 0261060

OR do not hesitate to contact Plum on 0161 622 3500 or at if you have any queries regarding this new legislation

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Interest rates held at 0.5% again

The Bank of England has announced that interest rates are to be kept at 0.5% for the time being, only the 2nd month that the rate hasn’t changed since last September. This stall in changing the interest rates highlights how highly the Bank of England is prioritising its attempts to encourage banks to start lending again, therefore boosting credit and raising the ‘nominal spending’ (the cash value of spending) in the economy. The Bank of England also reported that some £54bn has already been injected into the economy, with this figure expected to increase to £75bn by the end of June, with overall spending to be extended to £125bn instead of the expected £150bn, as the Bank continues with its ‘quantitative easing’ lending process. Leading economists believe that this smaller extension suggests that, “the recovery is going to plan". Similarly, the European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates in the eurozone (i.e. those countries who use the Euro) to a record low of 1%, down from 1.25%, its 7th cut since last October, in an attempt to help restore economic growth in the eurozone.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Review of Ofcom Telecoms Report Q4 2008

Ofcom have released their telecoms report for the fourth quarter, or last 3 months (October - December) in 2008. The report aims to highlight emerging trends in the UK telecoms sector, in order to generate a greater understanding of the sector amongst consumers and businesses alike. As stated on the Ofcom website, the main trends in fixed lines and calls, internet, and mobile phones, were as follows:


  • Total UK fixed voice call and access revenues continued to fall, by 0.9% during Q4 2008 to £2.20bn, with BT’s share falling by 0.3 percentage points to 59.7%.
  • The total number of exchange lines decreased by 119,000 during Q4 2008, with BT reporting a 469,000 fall in its lines.
  • Total fixed call volumes fell by 738 million minutes (2.1%) to 34.6 billion during the quarter, with a year-on-year fall of 3.4 billion minutes.


  • By the end of Q4 2008 there were 17.3 million residential and small business UK broadband connections, an increase of 2.1% on Q3 2008.
  • There was a year-on-year increase of 1.7 million connections (11%). BT’s retail market share of broadband connections fell by 0.1 percentage points during Q4 2008 to 26.3%, with Virgin Media’s share at 21.3%


  • Total revenue across the UK’s four largest mobile operators declined by 2% in Q4 2008 compared to the previous quarter, reflecting a 3% fall in revenue from calls and other charges and a 2% fall in messaging revenues. There was an overall year-on-year fall in revenue of 1%.
  • Total call volumes across the four operators grew by 2% quarter-on-quarter, driven by a 3% growth in call volumes to UK numbers.
  • Outgoing international call volumes increased by 6% compared to Q4 2007 (0.2%) while the number of calls made while roaming abroad increased by 10%.
  • SMS and MMS volumes grew by 11% in Q4 2008, higher than any other quarter in 2008.
  • The number of post-pay subscribers increased by 2% in Q4 2008, with the number of pre-pay subscribers remaining virtually unchanged (up 0.04%). Post-pay subscribers accounted for 48% of total subscribers in Q4 2008, compared to 45% in Q4 2007.

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ID cards coming to Greater Manchester in autumn

As rumoured in a previous blog entry, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now confirmed that residents of Greater Manchester will be the first in the country to get identity cards. As of autumn, anyone over 16 in the city with a UK passport will be able to apply for a card online from the Home Office. For the 1st 2 years the cards will cost £30, then after this there will be an additional cost of £30 for each card bought in a post office or pharmacy. For now the ID cards are voluntary, but they are expected to become compulsory in the next few years.

Smith claimed that the ID cards, "will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists". In relation to why Manchester was chosen, James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, said: "We wanted a sizeable metropolitan area with a good diversity of population and a large number of young people. Manchester fitted the bill, particularly with its universities and colleges”. Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has identified another benefit in the card in that it would, “replace up to six other documents” as it would carry all the same details of a passport and driving license. Are you confused what ID cards are? Click here for some answers. View a News Broadcast of the story here

However, there has been some opposition to the plans for ID cards. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats want the £5bn scheme scrapped, and some Labour MPs have expressed doubts about its cost. For example, Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “Manchester is being used as a guinea pig. It makes no sense that if you live in the area you will pay for an ID card, but not if you are just visiting. ” He also stated that he believes people on low income shouldn’t have to pay for them, and that in the current economic climate can people afford to purchase new ID cards.

Here’s what the people of Manchester have had to say about it

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Update on Rhodri’s 10km run: Less than 2 weeks to go!

As previously reported on this blog, Plum Communications’ Marketing Manager Rhodri Lloyd is running the forthcoming Bupa 10km run in Manchester on Sunday 17th May on behalf of his late grandfather Charles for the Alzheimer’s Society. Rhodri set himself an initial target of £300, but as of yet has only raised £110, so he’s going to be spending the next 2 weeks chasing people up on promised donations. To sponsor Rhodri visit:

According to Rhodri training has been going well, and he’s even lost a bit of weight along the way too. “Since I started my training in January, as I had hoped, I have lost weight. Along with a healthier diet and the regular training, I have managed to lose about 11 pounds so far, which I’m very pleased with. I have also seen vast improvements fitness wise. Back in January I was struggling to run 2 miles without stopping several times, but now I can run non-stop for an hour”.

He is very thankful for the support he has received from family, friends and work colleagues. “Everyone has been brilliant in supporting me and raring me on with my training, whether it be through advice, moral support or their donations. I would like to thank Peter Savic (Managing Director of Plum Communications) for reporting my run on Plum Blog, this has really helped in letting people find out about my run, as well as promoting the fantastic cause that is the Alzheimer’s Society”.

To find out more about Rhodri’s cause and to sponsor him, please visit his Justgiving page. For further information on how his training and fundraising is going please feel free to visit his Facebook group.

He is not the first member of the Plum staff to run for charity in recent years. As reported on in a previous blog, Customer services manager Suzanne Cain ran the Bupa Great North Run in 2007, raising a total of £600 for Leukaemia Care over the 13.1 mile course.

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