UK mobile phone users may finally get 0800 numbers free

Mobile phone users in the UK when calling a supposedly free phone number can be charged quite a high rate, which if they were calling the same number from a landline wouldn’t be charged a penny. This could be about to change though as proposals may mean that 0800 numbers will finally be free.

Communications regulator Ofcom believes that calls to 0800 numbers should be free from all phones including mobiles, and according to The Telegraph Ofcom also wants to simplify how much a call will cost for non-geographic numbers. These types of numbers are often used by services such as the NHS, Inland Revenue, and TV shows with numbers beginning with 03, 08, 09, and 118.

Currently mobile users ringing 0800 numbers can be charged up to 21p a minute despite being free from most landline phones, but Ofcom wants to make these free. The regulator is also looking to introduce a standard network access charge for other numbers.

This would mean ads displaying such numbers would say how much the calls would cost those dialling them, which compares to them currently just saying prices may vary. These changes have been made possible after the new Communications Act was brought into force in May last year, and will make free phone numbers exactly that from all phones.

The UK regulator also wants to standardise how revenue sharing phone numbers work, which currently begin with 08, 09, and 118 and divide the revenue from a call between the service receiving the call, and the phone company. This will allow consumers to find out the price their phone provider charges for access to such numbers, and allow rates to be advertised at a per minute rate alongside the phone company’s access charge.

Ofcom’s Ed Richards stated that the proposals would provide consumers with “much clearer information and there will be greater competition on prices”. Do you make calls to 0800 numbers from your mobile phone?

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