High calling rates and “unlimited calls” are not applicable… Why “0570/Navi Dial” is increasingly being used for corporate and government information calls. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

High calling rates and “unlimited calls” are not applicable… Why “0570/Navi Dial” is increasingly being used for corporate and government information calls.

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Calls to “0570” are relatively expensive Sometimes only “0570” is available… COVID-19 crisis causes social problems with vaccination appointments

Recently, companies, national and local governments, and other organizations have increasingly introduced Navidial telephone numbers starting with “0570” for inquiries and consultation services. When calling there, the call often starts with voice guidance at first, and call charges are added as time passes. It is also not covered by the “unlimited calling” flat-rate service offered by cell phone companies, causing some dissatisfaction among callers. What are the reasons behind the increasing use of Navidial?

Many people have posted complaints on the Internet about the high calling rates of Navidial. A man living in the Kansai region said this happened to him about three years ago. I started receiving advertisement pamphlets in the mail that I did not ask for. He called the designated contact person to have the mailings stopped. The number he called started with “0570,” and the following voice announcement was made.

You are being connected to Navidial. The charge will be approximately ** yen per ** second.

He was forced to call to stop the one-way mailing of pamphlets, which resulted in several hundred yen in calling charges. For this man, it turned out to be a disaster.

He had signed up for “unlimited calling,” but he was still charged for the call. …… (from NTT Communication’s website)

The exclusion from “unlimited calls” is at the discretion of each cell phone company.

For the vaccination against the COVID-19 crisis, some local governments accepted reservations by phone using the Navidial service. NTT DOCOMO reminded its customers as follows: “Some municipalities have decided not to allow unlimited phone calls for reservations.

Some local governments use Navidial as a telephone number for reservations. Customers who have subscribed to the “Unlimited Calling Option,” “Free 5-minute Calling Option,” or “Kakehodai Plan,” which offer flat-rate domestic calls, will be charged for calls to NAVI-DIAL.

Navidial’s previous rate structure was complicated. Until last year, calling charges varied depending on the time of day. For example, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, calls from cell phones cost ¥11 (including tax) for up to 20 seconds, or ¥33 for one minute.

In addition, there was a problem unique to Navidial. Callers did not know which area of a company or public institution they were calling from when they dialed 0570.

Until last year, calls to general land lines were more expensive as the distance increased, as well as the time of the call. In the same way, when a call is made to Navidial, charges are added based on the passage of time and distance, and many callers were dissatisfied with the higher calling charges.

In addition, cell phone companies have excluded Navidial from their “unlimited calling” plans.

An official with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Telecommunications Business Department’s Rate Service Division said, “It is up to each cell phone company to decide what calls are covered by the unlimited calling service, and it is up to the operators. It is natural that cell phone companies would not want to include Navidial, which is prone to high calling charges, in unlimited calling.

The reason why the introduction of Navidial is increasing is due to “labor shortage” and “anti-claimer” measures!

For some reason, the introduction of such Navidial systems is increasing. What in the world are the benefits to those who have adopted the system? Mr. Atsushi Ishikawa, a smartphone and cell phone journalist familiar with the telecommunications industry, offers the following observations.

It eliminates long phone calls in response to complaints, etc. That is probably the biggest reason. That is probably the biggest reason.

Companies and public institutions need to set up a contact point for inquiries and consultation, and some people spend long hours on the phone to respond to calls. It is believed that some people really need to talk on the phone and the contents are complicated and lengthy, while others casually make long calls as if they are killing time.

On the other hand, companies and public institutions are unable to devote so much manpower to answering the phone due to problems such as manpower shortages and personnel costs. By introducing Navidial, with its high calling rates, it is likely that only those who really need to call will do so.

However, those who really need to inquire or consult are bothered by the high call charges. Mr. Ishikawa says that sometimes the only telephone service available is Navidial, which “makes it harder for people to make inquiries.

Improving the efficiency of customer service, including inquiry and consultation service operations, is an issue, and more and more cases will be handled through the chat screen on the website, says Ishikawa.

The Navidial service is provided by NTT Communications. On its website, the company promotes the introduction of Navidial by listing its various advantages. The following are listed.

  • The telephone number can be unified to “0570” and incoming calls can be allocated to multiple locations nationwide.
  • The six-digit number following “0570” can be used for different purposes.
  • Toll-free numbers starting with “0120” are good for cases where the caller, not the caller, bears the cost of the call, whereas the receiver bears the cost of the call.
  • In order to efficiently receive a large number of calls, the system allows callers to select a caller and assign a response according to the nature of the inquiry or consultation, and the voice guidance function can also be used.

NTT Communications’ advertisement site promoting the introduction of NAVI-DIAL, after listing these advantages, informs callers that applications and inquiries will be handled over the phone. The number is a toll-free number starting with “0120” and is designed with the caller in mind.

The telephone contact for administrative services…why is the complaint-related number “0570 “.

Recently, companies and public institutions are increasingly adopting this Navidial number for their telephone contact points for inquiries and consultation, and in many cases, Navidial is the only number available.

For example, if you open the website of “Government Public Relations Online,” the telephone number for Administrative Complaints 110 (Administrative Consultation Center “Kikumimi” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) is a Navidial number starting with “0570. The telephone number for the Consultation Center for Radio Safety (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) is also a Navidial.

On the other hand, the telephone number for the Telecommunications Consumer Consultation Center (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) begins with “03. Since there are complaints and consultations regarding the Navidial number, they may not have dared to use it.

The toll-free disaster consultation center for victims of the 2024 Noto Peninsula earthquake (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications) has a telephone number starting with “0120” and callers are not charged for the call.

It appears that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which has jurisdiction over the telecommunications field, uses different numbers depending on the caller’s attributes and gives special consideration to some people when handling calls. If it is determined that no special consideration is needed, the number is believed to be Navidial in principle.

Starting in January, calling rates for “Navidial” have been substantially revised…

The calling rates for Navidial, which had tended to be high, have been substantially revised this year. In January of this year, call charges were no longer added based on distance.

This is due to the transition of fixed-line phones to the IP network, which has been under preparation for more than 10 years. As a result, fixed-line phone calls now cost a flat nationwide rate of 9.35 yen per 3 minutes (including tax), regardless of the distance to the other party. Like fixed-line phones, Navidial rates are no longer divided by distance or time zone, and are now a flat rate of 11 yen per 20 seconds (tax included).

Conventional fixed-line phone calls were routed through cables and multiple switching stations to reach the other party, resulting in higher rates depending on the distance. On the other hand, when fixed-line telephones shifted to the IP network, Internet lines were used, so although cables were partially routed, the characteristics of the IP network, which is almost independent of distance, could be utilized. The conventional distance-based rate increases have been eliminated, and a uniform nationwide rate has been realized.

Even so, Navidial charges are still high. A three-minute call from a landline costs 9.35 yen, but a call from a cell phone to Navidial costs 99 yen for three minutes or 330 yen for 10 minutes. Callers often have to wait for a long time for their calls to be connected and for voice guidance to be given.

Cell phone companies continue to exclude Navidial from unlimited calls. The calling rates for Navidial still tend to be high, and it may be difficult to make it eligible for unlimited calls.

A NTT Communications spokesperson explained…

Callers pay the full amount of the calling charge to the cell phone company when they call Navidial from a cell phone; a spokesperson for NTT Communications explains, “We have the cell phone company collect the calling charge on our behalf and receive the full amount.

Ishikawa says that while companies and public institutions may not be able to reach a caller with a general phone number such as “03” because they are busy or the call may be routed to other numbers, the Navidial system offers the possibility of access to more and more information.

For example, the City of Kobe explains on its Q&A site why it introduced the Navidial system at its general call center. Citing circumstances such as those described by Ishikawa, the city states, “As a result, we have introduced the Navidial because it reduces the amount of time citizens have to wait.

Hankyu Express, a travel agency, also explains the reason for the introduction of the Navidial on its website. Until now, we have received many inquiries for different purposes, and calls have been disconnected, causing inconvenience to users. However, the introduction of the Navidial system has made it possible to set up dedicated lines for each type of inquiry, and the system has the merit of easing congestion and eliminating the need for customers to wait for assistance by following voice guidance.

It is likely that more and more companies and public institutions will introduce NAVIDIAL to handle inquiries and consultation calls in the future. The advantages for callers are understandable, but the burden of fees is on the general users who make outgoing calls. It would be good if Navidial were not the only contact point, but rather if multiple routes were available, such as using a general phone number (e.g., “03”) or responding by e-mail, even if the call is difficult to get through. The efficiency of customer service has made this a difficult time for ordinary users.

  • Interview and text Hideki Asai

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