Calls to freephone numbers from mobiles going completely free from July 1

By  | 

Starting July, calls to freephone numbers from mobile phones will be completely free, Ofcom has revealed. The telecoms regulator has also revealed that from July 1, landline and mobile charges will become clearer for calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 and 118.

Ofcom said in a press release that UK callers are spending a whopping £900 million on service numbers, but do not have a clarity from their phone operators regarding the charges to these numbers. Ofcom said that starting July, prices will become clearer in major changes, affecting 175 million numbers.

Further, calls to freephone numbers weren’t free from mobile phones and there is a general sense of opacity as far as charges to these numbers. Mobile operators didn’t reveal how much they were going to charge for a particular call to a freephone number, as consumers were also told that they ‘may’ be charged for a particular call.

Ofcom announced that from July 1, charges for service numbers will be made up of an ‘access charge’ going to the phone company, plus a ‘service charge’ set by the company or organisation being called. Phone companies will be responsible for setting their access charge and also ensuring that they clearly identify this access charge to consumers on their bills and informing new customers of the charge when they sign up to a contract.

Further, service providers – the party being contacted – will be required to specify its service charge wherever it advertises or communicates the phone number.

This breakup will enable consumers to understand the exact cost of making a call by adding the access and service charges together. They will also be able to compare the prices of different service providers more easily, and also choose a provider with a competitive access charge when signing up to a new landline or mobile deal, Ofcom said.

Currently, if you make a call, you are presented with information such as: “Calls cost Xp per minute from a BT landline. Calls may vary from other landlines and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”

Under the new system, consumers will be provided with information in a simpler format: “Calls cost Xp per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.”