Frequently Asked Questions
Mobile Short Dial Codes
Tess explains more about Mobile Short Dial Codes and Strictly
How You Can Vote
Voting is by telephone only. Voters in the UK can choose either to call from their landline using the long (11-digit) number for the couple/s of their choice or from their mobile phones using the shortcode (7-digit) number for the couple/s of their choice. Please note that callers from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man should call from their landlines using the long (11-digit) number to avoid higher mobile charges.
The numbers to vote for each couple will be given out during the live show. Vote lines are opened and closed at the times specified on the programme. Please do not call before the lines open or after the lines have closed as your vote will not be counted. Please be aware voting times may change.
If you are watching Strictly Come Dancing on iPlayer, following through a website or any other time shift or catch up service you should not vote since the lines may have closed.
Calls to the long (11-digit) number cost 15p from BT landlines, other networks may vary. Calls to the long (11-digit) number will cost considerably more if made from a mobile device. Therefore, only call the long (11-digit) number, when dialling from a landline. To vote from your mobile in the UK, call the short (7-digit) number announced for your chosen couple. Calls from the UK to the short (7-digit) number will cost 15p from a mobile phone. You cannot text and you cannot dial the short (7-digit) number from a landline.
1. What are Mobile Short Dial Codes (MSDCs)?
Mobile Short Dial Codes (MSDCs) are the numbers to call (not text) from UK mobile phones where callers are charged a guaranteed fixed price for the call (15p for Strictly Come Dancing voting) regardless of their UK mobile network provider. The MSDC numbers are shorter than a normal telephone number, typically between 5 and 7 digits long.
When calling premium rate ‘09’ numbers from mobiles, calls usually cost considerably more than if calling from a BT landline and the cost can vary significantly from mobile network to network. The use of MSDCs for voting therefore has the advantage that callers from UK mobile phone networks should pay the same charge to vote as callers from a BT landline – 15 p for each vote for Strictly Come Dancing couples.
When voting from a mobile using a MSDC number you will hear a vote confirmation message in the same way you would when voting by calling a 09 premium rate number from a landline.
2. How do I vote by Mobile Short Dial Code?
Using your UK mobile phone, simply dial the short number shown on screen for your favourite couple/s, when the vote is open. There is one number allocated to each couple. If you call while the vote is open you will hear a message confirming your vote. If you try to call when the vote is closed you will hear a closed non-chargeable message. You can’t text/SMS to the Mobile Short Dial Code.
3. Why can we now vote by Mobile Short Dial Codes when we couldn’t before?
Mobile Short Dial Codes for use across all the major UK mobile network providers, and at a fixed price for a call, have only been available in the UK since April 2012.
4. Why don’t the UK Mobile Network Operators just charge 15p for calls from mobiles to ‘09’ numbers instead of introducing Mobile Short Dial Codes?
The UK mobile network operators decide the pricing for calling numbers via their networks, including 09 numbers. Viewers are advised to contact their UK mobile network operator if they require more information on their charging rates. Fixed pricing has been agreed for the MSDCs for Strictly Come Dancing at the rate of 15p per vote.
5. Why are you offering voting via Mobile Short Dial Codes instead of Text Voting?
Text voting cannot be offered for Strictly Come Dancing due to the relatively short periods in which the vote is open and during which the result needs to be provided and verified. There is the risk of potential delays within the mobile networks at busy times which could result in text votes not being received within the period the vote is open. With a phone call, if the exchange is busy you will hear an engaged tone, however with text/SMS you would not know if there is any late delivery of your vote (causing it to not be registered). There are no such potential network delays with Mobile Short Dial Codes other than busy tones at local exchange level with heavy traffic.
In addition, call attempts to Mobile Short Dial Codes outside of the vote open period, or to numbers no longer in use, are non-chargeable to callers, unlike text where charges may still apply.
The advantage of using telephone calls for voting rather than text voting is that the caller knows at the time of the call that their vote has been counted and also that they have been charged for their vote. They will also know from receiving an engaged tone if they did not get through and that they can then just press redial to try again. The same is not true of text voting as the texter has to wait for a confirmation message back from their mobile network operator which may take some time to arrive or which may not arrive at all.
6. How much will it cost to vote by Mobile Short Dial Code?
Voting on Strictly Come Dancing via a Mobile Short Dial Code from UK mobile networks will cost 15p per vote.
7. Will I be charged if I try to vote using a MSDC when the vote is closed?
No. Calls outside the vote open period and those made to any of Strictly Come Dancing numbers not currently in use will not be chargeable.
8. Why can't I vote by Mobile Short Dial Codes from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man?
The Channel Islands and Isle of Man are covered by separate mobile network operators who do not currently support voting by Mobile Short Dial Codes. Viewers in these regions may still be able to vote by dialling the 09 numbers for Strictly Come Dancing couples from their landlines at a 15p rate or on their mobile phone incurring higher charges (in the same way as they may have voted in previous voting shows).
9. Why can’t I vote by Mobile Short Dial Codes from outside the UK?
The MSDCs are provided by the UK mobile network operators and are only accessible via these operators. It is also unlikely that calls can be made to MSDCs from UK mobiles when these are outside of the UK, as this would be subject to mobile network operator international roaming arrangements with foreign network operators.
10. Can I call a Mobile Short Dial Code from my landline?
No. Mobile Short Dial Code voting is only available from mobile phones, if you try to call a Mobile Short Dial Code from your landline you will not be connected to the voting service and your vote will not be counted. In a very small number of cases, the landline network operator may route the call to a local destination as it may match a “local” telephone number which may result in a ‘wrong number’ call being made. Such calls would be chargeable if they are answered.
11. Can I vote by text message to the Mobile Short Dial Codes?
No. Strictly Come Dancing voting will be made using telephone call voting only as this offers the caller the benefits of knowing at the time that they place their vote that their vote has been counted and that they have been charged. This would not be true of text votes.
12. Can I still call the 09 numbers from my mobile?
Yes, but it is likely to cost you considerably more than 15p for the call. The 09 voting numbers should preferably only be called from your landline if you have one. If you decide to call the 09 voting numbers from your UK mobile phone then you will hear a non-chargeable message at the start of the call asking you to call the Mobile Short Dial Codes instead. If you remain on the line after the message then you will be able to vote for your chosen couple but your UK mobile network operator will charge you at their chosen rate for calls to the 09 number which could be considerably more than the 15 p per call cost advertised.
13. Will I receive ‘spam’ / unwanted marketing texts if I vote by Mobile Short Dial Code?
No, you should not receive any text messages from Strictly Come Dancing or any other organisation as a result of voting using the MSDCs. The BBC does not supply or sell on mobile telephone numbers to any third party, except if required to do so for legal reasons. Text spamming is caused by companies sending unsolicited text messages to mobile telephone numbers. The BBC in no way supports this practice and takes great care to guard numbers from any unauthorised use. If you receive unwanted text messages from other companies that you are being charged for, you can contact PhonepayPlus, the premium services regulator on freephone 0800 500 212 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) or via www.phonepayplus.org.uk to report this.
14. Who can I contact if I need assistance / have further questions?
BBC Helpline: 0370 010 0222 (standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply)
15. Why can’t I call the MSDC number from my mobile?
There are a small number of UK mobile phone users who are unable to call MSDCs, you should check with your mobile network operator to see if you can lift the calling bar or simply vote by calling the 09 voting numbers using a landline.
16. Can I vote via social networking?
17. Will my votes to X couple be only counted from one entry method i.e. MSDC
No, all votes will be counted.
18. Does the BBC receive any revenue from the calls?
No. BBC does not receive any revenue. Revenue from the calls goes to the charity.
Throughout these FAQs “UK Mobile Phones” means mobile phones provided in the UK under UK contracts by Vodafone, O2, Everything Everywhere (previously T Mobile and Orange), Virgin and ‘3’.
19. Why are Voting Figures for Strictly not published?
We invite you to vote for the dancers that you liked best, based on their performance in each show and during the series. Releasing voting figures could affect the way that people vote, and also have an impact on the participants. We therefore do not disclose the exact voting figures.
Although the BBC is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, information which is closely connected to our programme-making is not covered by the Act. The Information Commissioner, who regulates the Act, has confirmed that information about Strictly Come Dancing voting is not covered. We are therefore not required to disclose the voting figures under the Act.
20. Why have I been charged more than 15p for my vote?
If your call was made from a BT landline then you will pay 15.2p for voting in Strictly Come Dancing. We state on screen and verbally that "other networks may vary, and calls from mobiles will cost considerably more" - this includes other landlines as well as calls made from mobile phones. See the cost guide on this page for callers using their mobile phones to vote.
21. Why have I been charged outside the vote window?
We state clearly on screen and verbally when the voting period opens and closes and that callers should wait till that time before casting their vote. There is a small chance that if you called outside this time that another network other than BT would charge for this call. If you have been charged, then notify your service provider immediately.
22. I was trying to call for (x couple) and got (x couple) instead.
All voters are asked to dial carefully. The BBC has implemented a thorough testing schedule before each show to ensure correct audio is playing on the correct celebrity line. If you have a phonebill you can send us, we can check whether the number you called corresponds with the correct couple audio.
23. I have been trying to vote, but keep getting the engaged tone.
Because the phonelines are very active throughout the UK when the vote window opens, some callers may experience the engaged tone - especially those in rural/remote areas. We recommend that you call back within a couple of minutes when the traffic through your local exchange would have subsided. Engaged tones are controlled at local telephone exchange and something that the BBC cannot control.
24. I called but received a dead tone.
If after dialling the first four numbers of the premium rate number you heard a dead tone - then this means that you are premium rate barred and you should check with your network operator about lifting the ban if you wish to vote in Strictly Come Dancing.
25. I tried voting, but couldn't get through. Why?
Given the high volume of viewers and callers that some TV voting shows generate, it is possible for a very large number of people to pick up the phone simultaneously when the onscreen announcement is made. Sometimes this can cause some callers to get an engaged tone for short periods of time immediately after an onscreen announcement; however, any congestion tends to clear quite quickly.
26. Can one couple's number be constantly engaged and another couple's free?
Like all the big shows, Strictly Come Dancing uses a voting system where at least the first eight digits of the phone numbers are the same for all couples, with only the last few digits of the phone number changing depending on who you want to vote for.
As the telephone network only uses the first eight digits in a telephone number to route calls to the voting system, it is impossible for calls for different couples to be treated differently.
Once calls reach the voting system they are answered in turn, on a first-come, first-served basis. Each answering point is instructed to accept votes for all couples; there are no dedicated answering points for individual couples. This means that your chance of getting through to vote will never depend on the celebrity or couple you wish to vote for.