Following an announcement earlier in the year which outlined plans to combat the confusion surrounding the charging systems currently in place for 0845 and 0800 numbers, Ofcom has confirmed that the plans will go ahead.
Currently, calls to 0800 numbers from mobiles can cost up to 40p per minute but with the new rules brought in with today’s announcement, the calls will be completely free.
The new rules are also being put in place to make the call charging for 0845 numbers clearer. Callers to these numbers will now see the cost broken down into an ‘access charge’ to their phone company and a ‘service charge’ to the company they are calling.
Service providers will also be required to specify their service charge wherever they advertise or communicate their number.
Aimed at making the services and charging mechanisms easier for consumers to understand, the new rules will be enforced from June 2015.
Other changes that have also been announced are premium rate numbers, such as the 09 range, will have their service charge capped so that consumers will not be subjected to increasingly high charges in future.
Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: “These changes will be the biggest for UK telephone customers in more than a decade. We expect them to restore people’s confidence in using phone services, and to increase competition.
“Freephone will mean free for all consumers, and the cost of calling other services will be made clear. Telephone users will be able to see how much they’re paying, and where their money is going.”
Mahmood Mazhar, CEO of Core Telecom, is pleased that consumers are being listened to: “It’s fantastic that Ofcom have confirmed these plans and that freephone 0800 numbers will be completely free to call.
“Most consumers own mobile phones these days and it’s unfair to expect them to pay over the odds to contact their chosen companies. Finally, emphasis is being put on making it cheaper for people to call from mobiles, which will in turn make businesses using 0800 numbers more appealing to new business.”