The regulator also proposes to clarify and simplify how calls to 08, 09 and 118 numbers are charged for.
Calls to 0800 telephone numbers could be free from all phones, including mobiles, under new proposals published today by Ofcom. This step is part of detailed plans to tackle consumer confusion about how much it costs to call businesses, public services and other organisations on 03, 08, 09 and 118 numbers.
Currently, the vast majority of 0800 phone numbers incur a charge for mobile callers of up to 21p a minute. Under today’s proposals, calls to 0800 numbers from a mobile would be free for consumers, in line with landlines.
08, 09 and 118 numbers
Under the new proposals, Ofcom also proposes to clarify and simplify how calls to 08, 09 and 118 numbers are charged for. Services provided on these numbers include information, banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services.
Currently, unless they are using a BT line, callers are unable to tell how much they will be charged for such calls. In addition, callers are not able to understand how much the call costs as opposed to the cost of the service being provided via the call. Under Ofcom’s proposals, consumers will in future be presented with clear, transparent information on both.
Simpler charge system
The change to freephone, plus the other proposed changes, would create a new, simpler system for call charges – helping consumers regain trust in these numbers. Ofcom’s proposals follow new powers introduced in changes to the Communications Act in May 2011, as a result of revised European telecoms legislation.
Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: "Consumers are often confused about how much they will pay to call these number ranges. Under our proposals, people will have much clearer information and there will be greater competition on prices.
"By making calls to 0800 numbers free from all phones, we will clear up any uncertainty about making calls, especially from mobiles, to the benefit of consumers and service providers alike."
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