Freephone 0800 numbers could soon be free to call from mobiles as well as landlines. UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has put forward a proposal that will make 0800 and 116 numbers - the latter reserved for social service and charity helplines - the same on mobile as with a home phone. About time, eh?
At present calling these numbers from a mobile phone can cost you up to 21p a minute. And while we imagine many of you are well aware of the costly nature of such calls, there are still many less tech-savvy folk out there getting stung unawares by these charges.
Ofcom's proposal is designed to make mobile call costs across the board easier to understand, and includes putting in place a new standard for premium 08, 09 and 118 numbers. It wants to introduce a "this call will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company's access charge" warning for all calls of this nature.
Chief executive of Ofcom Ed Richards says that "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." It might not make these calls free, but should make them cheaper in the long run, then.
Ofcom's Ed Richards
The proposal was incited by research undertaken by Ofcom that suggested people were confused about how much calls to non-geographic numbers cost. The consultation period for the proposal ends on June 27. We're all for it. To have your say, head over to the Ofcom website.