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BT Makes 0845 and 0870 Voice Call Numbers FREE

Posted: 08th Jan, 2009 By: MarkJ
BT has surprised many today by becoming the first UK telephone company to make calls to national 0870 and local 0845 rate numbers free to its 14 million call package customers. BT Anytime subscribers will now get their calls to these numbers for free - as well as all their calls to UK landlines and great rates on mobile calls, for just £4.85 a month.

Naturally customers on BT's Evening and Weekend package will get their 0870 and 0845 calls for free, as well as their UK landline calls, after 6pm every day and all weekend. Previously calls to these numbers cost more than usual, with Sky and Virgin charging around 10p a minute for a daytime 0870 call:

John Petter, managing director of BT’s Consumer business, said: “We know that the public is frustrated by having to pay higher charges for these numbers, even though BT’s rates were cheaper than our rivals, so we worked out a way to go further and include calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers in our call packages.

These numbers are widely used by banks, utilities and even NHS Direct, and our customers spend 30 minutes a month on average calling these numbers. We hope we have taken a sting out of the price of these calls, but also removed one of those irritations that customers believed was an unfair anomaly.

All of our 14m calls customers have free calls included in their package and now all 14m have free calls to 0870 and 0845 at times that fit with their calling plan, which is something not offered by any of our competitors.

Sadly but understandably the change does not apply to dial-up numbers and indirect access numbers. Typically such dial-up Internet access (narrowband 56Kbps modems) numbers are often pay-as-you-go (payg) and survive purely on the small revenue they bring in, thus they are excluded from discounting. It will be interesting to see whether any other operators follow suit.
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