Sports Personality of the Year 2015: How to vote FAQs

How you can vote for the 2015 Sports Personality of the Year.

Voting is by telephone only or via the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty

Telephone Vote: Voters in the UK can choose either to call from their landline using the long (11-digit) number for the contender/s of their choice or from their mobile phones using the short (7-digit) number for the contender/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, as the short (7-digit) numbers are not available in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for reasons outside of the BBC's control.

Please do not attempt to vote by calling a 7-digit short number from a landline.

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.

Calls to the long (11-digit) number from landlines and mobiles cost 15p plus your network's access charge. To vote from your mobile in the UK, please call the short (7-digit) number announced for your chosen contender/s. Calls from mobiles to the short (7-digit) number should cost less than calling the long (11-digit) number from your mobile so please, if you can, dial the short (7-digit) number from your mobile. You cannot text and you cannot dial the short (7-digit) number from a landline.

Online Vote: Viewers in the UK (including Channel Islands and Isle of Man) will also be able to vote online by accessing the following link http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty. Voting online will require to register/log in with BBC iD https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/id/signin and you will not be charged. Please check your broadband or mobile contract to check the cost of using data services.

The online vote will be open during the same period as the telephone lines.

The results of the telephone vote and the online vote will be aggregated prior to any announcements.

If you are watching on BBC iPlayer, following through a website or any other time shift, catch up or on demand service you should not vote since the lines and online vote may have closed.

How can I register for the Online Vote?

In order to vote on Sports Personality of the Year 2015 you will need to register here first for a BBC iD https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/id/signin.

Why have I been charged more than 15p for my vote?

If your call was to the long (11-digit) number from either your landline or mobile phone, you will have been charged 15p plus your network's access charge for voting. The access charge is set by your telephone service provider and can be found by calling them or visiting their web site. More information about how these numbers work can be found at http://www.ukcalling.info.

We note that these charges have changed since the Sports Personality of the Year 2014. This is a result of reforms implemented by Ofcom to the way calls are charged by telephone service providers with effect from 1 July 2015.

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 until 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.

I was trying to call for X and got Y 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 contender line. If you have a phone bill you can send us, we can check whether the number you called corresponds with the correct contender audio.

I have been trying to vote, but keep getting the engaged tone

Because the phone lines 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 exchanges and are something that the BBC cannot control. You can also opt to vote online via http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty.

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 telephone service provider about lifting the ban if you wish to vote in Sports Personality of the Year 2015. You can also opt to vote online via http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty.

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. You can also opt to vote online via http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty

Why can't I vote outside the UK?

No method of voting offered is available outside of the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

Can one number be constantly engaged and another free?

Like all the big shows, Sports Personality of the Year 2015 uses a voting system where at least the first eight digits of the phone numbers are the same for all contenders, 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 contenders 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 contenders; there are no dedicated answering points for individual contenders.

This means that your chance of getting through to vote will never depend on the contender you wish to vote for.

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 Sports Personality of the Year 2015 voting) regardless of their UK mobile telephone service provider. The MSDC numbers are shorter than a normal telephone number, typically between 5 and 7 digits long.

When MSDCs were introduced, calling the premium rate '09' numbers from mobile phones resulted is a large variance in charges, dependent on the UK mobile telephone service provider. MSDCs removed that variance.

Following recent Ofcom changes to non-geographic telephone numbers, calls to the Sports Personality of the Year 2015 '09' numbers, whether from a landline or mobile, now cost the caller 15p plus the access charge set by the landline or mobile telephone service provider of the caller. The impact has reduced that variance in charges, made the differences public and resulted in that variance being across both landline and mobile calls.

The continued use of MSDCs for voting therefore has the advantage that callers from UK mobile phone networks should pay less to vote as no access charge is applied to these calls.

When voting from a UK 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.

How do I vote by MSDC?

Using your UK mobile phone, simply dial the short number shown on screen for your chosen contender/s, when the vote is open. There is one number allocated to each contender. 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 MSDC.

Why are you offering voting via MSDCs instead of Text Voting?

Text voting cannot be offered for Sports Personality of the Year 2015 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 MSDCs other than busy tones at local exchange level with heavy traffic.

In addition, call attempts to MSDCs 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 telephone service provider which may take some time to arrive or which may not arrive at all.

How much will it cost to vote by MSDC?

Voting on Sports Personality of the Year 2015 via a MSDC from UK mobile networks will cost 15p per vote.

Will I be charged if I try to vote using an MSDC when the vote is closed?

No. Calls outside the vote open period and those made to any of Sports Personality of the Year 2015 numbers not currently in use will not be chargeable.

It is very unlikely that callers will be charged when calling a closed vote line as we use free of charge messaging during these times. If you have been charged, then notify your service provider.

Why can't I vote by MSDCs from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man?

The Channel Islands and Isle of Man are covered by separate mobile telephone service providers who do not currently support voting by MSDCs. Viewers in these regions may still be able to vote by dialling the '09' numbers for Sports Personality of the Year 2015 contenders from their landlines or mobiles at 15p plus their network's access charge per vote.

Can I call an MSDC from my landline?

No. MSDC voting is only available from mobile phones, if you try to call a MSDC 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 telephone service provider 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.

Can I vote by text message to the MSDCs?

No. Sports Personality of the Year 2015 voting will be made using online and 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.

Can I still call the '09' numbers from my mobile?

Yes. It will cost you 15p plus your mobile network's access charge per vote. The '09' voting numbers should preferably only be called from your landline if you have one. If using your mobile, you should call the MSDC if you can as it will be cheaper at 15p per vote. No access charge is applicable on the MSDCs. 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 MSDCs instead. If you remain on the line after the message then you will be able to vote for your chosen contender but your UK mobile telephone service provider will charge 15p plus the network's access charge per call.

Why can we now vote by MSDCs when we couldn't before?

MSDCs for use across all the major UK mobile telephone service providers, and at a fixed price for a call, have only been available in the UK since April 2012.

Will I receive 'spam' / unwanted marketing texts if I vote by MSDC?

No, you should not receive any text messages from Sports Personality of the Year 2015 or any other organisation as a result of voting using the MSDCs. The BBC does not sell on nor, except if required to do so for legal reasons, supply mobile telephone numbers to any third party. 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.

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)

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 telephone service provider to see if you can lift the calling bar or simply vote by calling the '09' voting numbers using a landline.

Why can't I call the 09 number or MSDC number from my "Voice over IP" (VOIP) connection?

Not all UK telephone service providers, including some VOIP operators, allow voting by traditional premium rate 09 numbers.

The new MSDC numbers are intended only for voting via the UK mobile telephone service providers and so will almost certainly not be supported by the fixed line and VOIP telephone service providers.

Can I vote via social networking?

No.

Will my votes to X be only counted from one entry method i.e. MSDC?

No, all votes will be counted.

Why can't I vote by MSDCs from outside the UK?

The MSDCs are provided by the UK mobile telephone service providers 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 telephone service providers' international roaming arrangements with foreign telephone service providers.

Does the BBC receive any revenue from the calls?

No. BBC does not receive any revenue. Revenue from the calls (if any) goes to charity.

How do I vote online?

In order to cast your vote, you must sign in to BBC iD. If you do not already have a BBC iD you will need to register before you can vote.

Once you have created a BBC iD account you are then ready to go. You are advised to login to your BBC iD account before the vote opens.

During the live show the presenter will let you know when the vote has opened. You will then be able to cast your vote online.

Is there a cost to vote online?

No, you will not be charged to vote online by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/spoty during the live show. Please check your broadband or mobile contract to check the cost of using data services.

How many times can I vote online?

Your BBC iD account details can only cast one vote in Sports Personality of the Year 2015.

Can I vote using my smartphone or tablet?

You can vote using your mobile phone, tablet or your home computer. Online votes on different devices using the same BBC iD account details will count towards the maximum number of votes per account.

Who can I contact if I have a problem with creating my BBC iD account or have issues with signing in?

Click here for the BBC iD help pages, this has an FAQ section which may help.

If you are still having issues after going through the above link for help, then you should contact membership@bbc.co.uk.

If you have not used your account in a while and have forgotten your password you will need to click on the 'forgotten password' link ahead of the show to allow enough time for a new password to be sent through. This will only be possible if you provided a valid email address when registering.

Is the vote being independently verified?

Yes.

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'.

Top Stories