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Mobile phone downloads and unsolicited texts to be investigated by watchdog

UK Phone industry regulator Phonepayplus has announced that it will be investigating premium-rate services which charge exorbitant rates for ringtones, downloads and games.

The regulator, formerly called Icstis, has recorded a surge in the number of complaints about companies operating in the booming 350 million industry wiith a 40 percent increase in a year.

Many punters were charged for downloads that they expected to be free and for the first three months of the year, Phonepayplus got 4500 complaints, that's four out of every five complaints recorded in the fixed landline and mobile sector.

Many of the premium download services charges small amounts of money every week, working like a subscription and ending up costing hundreds per year to customers.

We also reported about a ringtone service which cost a whopping £468 a year while a download can cost up to £4.50 each.

This year alone, Phonepayplus has already ruled against 15 mobile phone companies and fined them £291,500.

It would be interesting to see what mobile phone companies will react since premium-rate services also represent a sizable portion of their business.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.