Ofcom says 0800 numbers should be free from mobiles

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Regulator publishes proposals to simplify non-geographic number call charges, including bringing mobile calls to 0800 numbers into line with fixed calls

Ofcom has published proposals for simplifying call charges to 03, 08, 09 and 118 numbers.

The changes include making calls to 0800 numbers free from mobiles.

Calls to the “freephone” numbers are free from landlines, but can cost up to 21p per minute from a mobile.

The proposals also suggest creating a standardised structure for revenue sharing numbers, where money from the call charge is split between the phone company and the company receiving the call.

Ofcom plans to ensure that consumers are told how much of the charge is taken by the phone company and how much goes to the company being called.

The regulator also plans to clear up “confusion” around 0845 and 0870 numbers, and “reinforce” 03 numbers, which are charged at the same rate as geographic numbers.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards (pictured) 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.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “Vodafone UK supports Ofcom’s ambition to make it easier for people to understand how much they will be charged when they call companies that make use of non-geographic numbers starting 08, 09 and 118.

“Any changes to the regime will need to ensure that the companies who offer non-geographic numbers for customer care, sales, entertainment or other services, pay the cost of those calls and the UK’s communications companies are not put in a position of subsidising other businesses.”

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