The main reason behind the research was that members of the public no longer trust non-geo numbers, are in most cases believe they cost far more to call than is the case. In addition, the variety of numbers and charges is causing mass confusion and as such the public no longer trusts non-geo numbers.
Over the last two years, Ofcom have undertaken a major review of the non-geo market, and following consultation with the industry, customers and the public, they have now released a series of proposals to reform how non-geo numbers work.
The reforms have been centred around boosting the income of number suppliers, as the predicted results will mean that the public will make more calls.
Overview of new non-geo proposals from Ofcom:
- There will be a maximum call charge to 080 and 116, which will become free to call on both landlines and mobiles.
- The cost to call an 03 number will continue to be linked to the price of a local call to any geo number.
- Introduction of new a tariff structure for other non geo numbers, this will seperate access and service charges.
- Calls to an 084X number will be up to seven pence per minute, and up to 13p for 087X, plus the connection charge.
- Calling an 09 number will cost up to 145ppm, plus the connection charge.
Building more trust with the public
The current plans do not involve introducing a cap on connection charges, but operators will need to clearly display charges on bills. Each bill will need to display the full cost of each individual call, though plans to clearly show the connection charge have not been followed up. That said, there will be a new rule regarding each service to have one single connection charge, irrespective of what type of phone the caller is using.
In addition, service providers will be forced to clearly display all charges on any marketing material. Plus, Ofcom wants to introduce new icons to represent each number.