Mobile users could benefit from free calls to 0800 numbers from next year according to plans from the regulator Ofcom.
0800 calls are free from landlines but currently mobile users are hit with charges of up to 21 pence per minute for calling 0800 “free phone” numbers.
Many consumers are not even aware that calling an 0800 number from their mobile phone will cost them as these are numbers are free to call from regular landlines. Many call centers or helplines use 0800 free phone numbers so if you have to wait while you are put on hold this wont cost you from your BT land line but it’s a different story if you are calling from your mobile.
Ofcom’s proposal also intends to simplify charges to other “non geographical” or revenue sharing phone numbers often used by television voting shows, NHS or the Inland Revenue that have numbers starting 03, 08, 09 or 118.
For people calling any of these numbers from anything other than a BT landline the charges for calls to these numbers are very unclear and confusing. This lack of clarity regarding costs for calling these numbers can put many consumers off of using these services. The proposal involves introducing a “standard network charge” for calls to these numbers from mobiles so that it is more transparent to consumers what they would pay for calling.
At the moment these changes are just a proposal but they certainly sound like good news for consumers so let’s hope they are approved when the final decision is made in 2013 and that we will start to see the benefits from next year.