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0800 Calls May Go Free on Mobiles

Andrew Williams by

mobile vs phone
mobile vs phone

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.

mobile vs phone

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. Ed Richards of Ofcom

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.

Go to comments

bobsta

April 5, 2012, 11:58 pm

The mobile networks will hike their prices on other types of numbers or raise price plans. In some cases, organisations will move their numbers over to something that does generate revenue so Ofcom's proposals are as much use as a chocolate teapot.

nanite2000

April 9, 2012, 12:30 pm

The phrase "about time" barely does this justice. Having to pay for freephone calls on your mobile has been one of the mobile industry's biggest and most bare-faced rip-offs ever.

If you ever try to query their reasons for charging in the first place, you will get one of two responses - silence, or a referral to Ofcom. To my knowledge you are only charged like this in the UK - no other country does this.

In other words, the mobile industry's reason for charging to these numbers is indefensible, and this change is long overdue.

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