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Ofcom UK Proposes to Make Calls to 0800 Numbers Free from all Phones

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 (11:19 am) - Score 778
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

Ofcom, the communications and media regulator, has today moved to simplify UK call charges by proposing to make all calls, from both fixed lines and mobile phones, to 0800 and 116 telephone numbers completely free. At present calls to 0800 numbers can, somewhat confusingly, still attract charges of up to 21p a minute from mobiles.

In addition, Ofcom will also seek to “clarify and simplify” how calls to 08, 09 and 118 numbers (i.e. information, banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services) are charged for, which will require operators to make their information both clear and transparent. This is especially important for consumers on non-BT services where the different charges can sometimes cause confusion.

Furthermore Ofcom will also remove some of the existing confusion that surrounds 0845/0870 numbers and “reinforce” the 03 range where the cost of calls are the same price as calling a geographic number (i.e. numbers staring in 01 or 02).

Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom, said:

Consumers are often confused about how much they will pay to call these number ranges. Under our proposals, people will have much clearer information and there will be greater competition on prices.

By making calls to 0800 numbers free from all phones, we will clear up any uncertainty about making calls, especially from mobiles, to the benefit of consumers and service providers alike.”

This isn’t strictly ISP / broadband news but many people do take bundles and as a result such changes can have an impact upon the price you pay or your choice of provider. Ofcom aims to make a final decision on the new rules by early 2013. Its related consultation will be open until 27th June 2012.

Ofcom’s Simplifying Non-geographic Numbers Consultation
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/simplifying-non-geographic-no/…

Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar me

    yay! i can see quite a few people getting rid of their landline after this!

  2. Avatar Phil

    me: not really as many peoples still keeping their landline because of ADSL/ADSL2+ or FTTC, need broadband live on the line.

    • Agree. But if mobile operators produce a truly competitive LTE “4g” mobile broadband solution after 2013 then that could fuel a greater move away from fixed line connectivity. At the moment mobile solutions are still better as compliments, not replacements, for fixed lines.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Agreed. Also don’t forget some other mobile charges may rise as operators lose subsidies from over-charging for mobile roaming as well as from the inflated mobile termination rate – the cost of calling a mobile from a fixed line. With the EU and Ofcom forcing these both to be dropped, mobile operators may be tempted to jack up other prices in order to maintain their profit margins.

      So good news if they have to drop the rediculous charges for 0800 numbers (what about 0870 etc?), but let’s see if monthly fees (or call costs for PAYG) go up to compensate.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      As not clear, above comment is agreeing with Phil not Mark!

      Am waiting with baited breath to see whether LTE is competitive with fixed line broadband – experience of 2G, 2.5G, 3G suggests the actuality will be some way short of the hype! Don’t expect LTE to compete with higher speed FTTC/P/cable services, certainly not in urban areas anyway.

  3. Avatar Phil

    I think Ofcom is far too late, well too late as they should have done that in the 1st place!

    • Avatar Kyle

      Maybe so, but at least they are doing something about it now.

      The UK has some of the cheapest mobile calling and internet packages in the EU already – a quick comparison of European providers shows that hours are still advertised and in very small quantities per month!

    • Avatar Martin

      Exactly ! Why does it take decade to do the obvious ?

  4. Avatar Richard

    Good, charging for calling free phone numbers is daft.

    I’d next like to see oaps receive free line rental and £5 worth of calls per month. This would mean a lot to our old folk and allow them to keep in touch with other people without worrying about costs.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      Fair enough, but paid for how?

    • Avatar dragoneast

      I am sure that Fred Goodwin and assorted rock stars and rich actors appreciate your kind thoughts. Many other pensioners have generous occupational pensions and lifetimes of investments not available to people who have entered the workforce more recently. I fail to understand the argument that all pensioners (I am one) are more deserving that the poor and disabled of any age or working families on low income.

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