Many mobile telephone users say they’re ripped off by mobile phone providers as they pay through the nose to call an 0800 number when the same call made from a landline is free. Ofcom looks set to change things very soon. |
As it stands, calls that are made to an 0800 freephone number from a BT standard landline are free. However, a call to an 0800 number from a mobile phone attracts a relatively high call charge. Ofcom’s researchers have released alarming statistics regarding the calls costs from mobile phones to an 0800 number. In 2009 people in the UK paid a staggering £1.9 billion calling 0800 numbers from mobile phones. The average cost to call an 0800 number from a mobile phone was a cool 40 pence per minute. Ofcom has recently published proposals whereby all calls to 0800 numbers will be free whether they are made from a landline or a mobile phone. This will be music to the ears of all mobile phone owners. There are several websites that exist purely to make public the “real phone number” behind 08 prefix numbers which are also referred to as non-geographic so this is clearly an issue which needs to be addressed. Examples of such websites include 0800Buster and SayNoTo0870.
The UK’s telecoms watchdog has stated that it wants to simplify non-geographic number pricing as it feels that there is a huge amount of confusion surrounding phone numbers that start with these prefixes starting with 03, 08, and 09 . Non-geographic numbers have a tarnished reputation since the “Ant and Dec” scandal and Ofcom seems to be keen to clean up the mess. Anyone who watches TV shows where the public has a phone vote (X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing) will be aware that an effort has been made to make clear to the public what the costs will be.
Under the Ofcom proposals that are under consideration calls to Freephone 0800 numbers would be free from both landlines and mobile phones.
Ofcom’s chief executive, Ed Richards, stated: "There is clear evidence of widespread uncertainty and confusion about the cost of calling these numbers. Consumers need to have far more transparency about the price they are going to pay for calls so that they can make more informed choices and so competition can work more effectively.
"Making 0800 free from a mobile and giving people clarity about what they are paying for will improve transparency, improve competition and enhance trust in these important services."
David Clarke, a director of DBS Telecoms welcomes Ofcom’s proposals - “ I am pleased to see that Ofcom proposes to simplify the 0800 and 0845 number pricing structure – it can only be good for our industry” he commented.
If, after a consultation period, the proposals are accepted then new 0800 number rates would be introduced over the coming 24 months.
This article was contributed by David Clarke of DBS Telecoms. Please visit the DBS 0845 number website
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