Vodafone currently cheapest but is set to almost double charges to non-geographic numbers on August 10
EE is charging almost twice as much as its rivals for calling non-geographic numbers after Ofcom forced operators to make clear what they earn from calls to numbers starting with 084, 087, 09, or 118.
The UK’s biggest operator is charging users a flat-rate of 44p per minute for calling these numbers – more than any of its rivals.
Vodafone is cheapest, with an access charge of just 23p per minute, although it is set to become the most expensive on August 10, when it will increase the charge to 45p.
Both Three and O2 ar currentlye charging 25p per minute for the calls.
Under rules introduced on today, operators must make it clear to customers what they are being charged when ringing premium rate numbers.
The charge is split in to two parts – the access charge, which is set by the operator, and the service charge, which is set by the company the customer is calling. So, if that company is charing 20p per minute and you call of Vodafone, you’ll pay 43 per minute, but the separate charges will be made clear on the bill.
Research from Ofcom found that users in the UK spend more than 250 million hours a year calling 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers, costing around £900 million.
The change comes as the regulator also makes calls to “freephone numbers” – 0800 and 0808 – free from mobiles.
Ofcom CEO Sharon White said: “Together we spend around £900 million a year calling service numbers, so it’s important that people understand the cost before they pick up the phone.
“Callers will be able to see what they’re paying and where their money is going. You can visit ukcalling.info for more information on the changes, and what they mean for you.”