0800 freephone numbers will soon be free on mobiles, thanks to new rules.
Ofcom has announced that mobile phone users will be able to call 0800 numbers for free from mid-2015, finally putting mobile calls on the same footing as landlines when it comes to making routine calls in the UK. The “freephone will mean free phone” ruling by the telecoms regulator will come into effect in June 2015 and will cover 0808 and 116 numbers as well as ones starting 0800.
With many companies offering free customer support numbers via 0800 numbers, it’s always seemed rather unfair that you could only take advantage of calling toll-free if you were prepared to sit at home and wait for your call to be answered.
Smartphone users can already call 0800 numbers for free by installing an app such as 0800 Wizard that reroutes the call or by adding a prefix onto the number, but the billing change will mean that mobile phone users will be able to make such calls directly. SIM-only vendor GiffGaff already offers free 0800 calls to its customers.
Rather than being told the familiar “Calls will cost x pence per minute from a BT line. Calls may vary from other landlines and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more”, we’ll be informed of an access charge for the number as well as the cost per minute. The access charge will be clearly shown on bills and will form part of the contract mobile phone customers sign up to.
Ofcom says the changes to phone call tariffs are designed to make it simpler for business and home users to work out how much a call will cost. 0845 numbers will cost a set amount, bringing these phone numbers into line with 084, 087 and 09 numbers.