Ofcom has today published a series of proposals to help clear up confusion around telephone numbers and their associated charges. The regulator has suggested that calls to 080 numbers could be free from all phones including mobiles.
Generally, 080 Freephone numbers are as they says on the tin, but some mobile operators charge for calls to these numbers.
As well as this, Ofcom proposed that confusion around other non-geographic numbers to be cleared up. Charges for calls to 08, 09, 116 and 118 numbers differ between providers of phone services and Ofcom says that it’s tricky for all but BT customers to work out how much a call to each number will cost.
Ofcom says that standardising charges across the UK providers will make it easier for consumers to compare prices and shop around.
Most ISPs offering a home phone service these days will bundle in free calls to 01 and 02 number at weekends and evenings as standard. Non-geographic numbers that begin 03 are typically included as well.
The costs of 0870 and 0845 numbers varies between providers. BT and TalkTalk include calls to these in their Anytime and Essentials phone bundles. Sky Talk charges for 0845 calls, with prices varying at different times of the day. Ofcom hopes that eventually all 0870 and 0845 will be treated as the same and priced accordingly.
Of course, websites like saynoto0870.com let you avoid having to pay extra for access to these non-geographic numbers in most cases. Searching for a company name will often reveal an 01 or 02 equivalent of an 0870 or 0845 number, saving you money.
Ofcom’s new consultation on how non-geographic numbers should be charged closes on 28th May, 2013.