Are you aware that you can now call 0800 free from your mobile phone in the UK? It’s been almost a year since the independent regulator Ofcom introduced what has been billed as one of the "biggest changes to telephone calls in over a decade".
So, is 0800 free? Yes, it is! Ofcom has simplified call charges for millions of mobile users in Britain by making all calls to 0800 numbers free. This means that any calls that you make to Freephone numbers such as 0800 numbers from mobiles will not be charged.
This is a massive change indeed, considering that Britons spend over 250 million hours calling 0800 from mobile, spending over £900million on such calls, according to Ofcom.
The national telecommunications regulator is now working hard to clear up charges for mobile phone users, and plans to include all service numbers that begin with 084, 087 and 09.
0800 are used by government bodies and NHS. The 0800 numbers cost 20p/minute when called from mobiles. These numbers were free to call from landlines, for the most part. But now, consumers can finally say no to 0800 numbers cost.
The new regulations from Ofcom, which has been in force since July, 2015, has brought an end to the frustratingly vague system that mobile phone users in Britain had to deal with – calls from mobiles to service numbers or 0800 numbers used to cost considerably more than the calls made from landlines.
Now, all charges made to the service numbers will consist of an “access charge”, which goes to the phone company. A “service charge” will be set by the company or the organisation that’s being called. So this means that phone companies are now responsible for setting their own access charge.
Ofcom has made it mandatory for all carriers to make their prices clear to customers on their bills and keep them informed about their charges when they sign on to the contract.
The a second cost included, the service charge, which is set by the company being contacted will be advertised with the number and repeated every time you make a call.
The new changes allow consumers to know the exact cost of making a call, as they combine the access charge and service charge. The new changes simplify and bring clarity to what was once a very vague system.
In the past, when consumers made calls to non-geographic 08, 09 and 118 numbers that are generally used for banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services, they were not informed in advance of how much they would be charged for these calls, unless they used a BT line, which could prove to be quite expensive for them.
Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom explains why these changes are so significant: "These changes will be the biggest for UK telephone customers in more than a decade. We expect them to restore people's confidence in using phone services, and to increase competition.
"Freephone will mean free for all consumers, and the cost of calling other services will be made clear. Telephone users will be able to see how much they're paying, and where their money is going."
So, to recap, Ofcom made a number of changes to telephone call charges that came into effect on July 1, 2015, which have made things simpler and cheaper for mobile phone users in the UK. Here’s what the new Ofcom update means for you.
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