Feeds

Ofcom calls for end to 0800 charges on mobiles

Freephone should be free, not 21p a minute

The Power of One Infographic

Brits calling freephone numbers for government helplines should be able to make those calls for free from their mobiles as well, Ofcom has said.

Calls to 0800 numbers are free from landlines, but mobile operators charge up to 21p a minute for the supposedly "freephone" numbers, causing confusion to customers. Other 080 numbers, including revenue-generating numbers, are used by government agencies and companies for helplines and sometimes by TV shows for phone-in competitions – but even then, the charges for mobile calls often outstrip those from a landline.

The current state of affairs is confusing consumers and damaging the reputation of companies, Ofcom said in a report published today. The result is that: "Consumers make fewer calls and sometimes go to great lengths to contact organisations in other ways, possibly at higher cost or inconvenience" the report stated.

Unexpectedly high phone bills mean many customers are suspicious that they are deliberately being exploited by companies, by being held on the line unnecessarily for example, the report said. Often though, the companies only receive a small portion of the telephone charges.

Operators cream off the majority of the £1.5bn a year that UK consumers spend on calls to these "freephone" numbers.

Ofcom is responsible for allocating the numbers and regulating how they are used, however the report published today is just a consultation document and it would be mid 2014 before any changes kick in.

Ofcom expect the proposals to be finalised by the end of 2012 and then will start an 18-month transition process. ®

Ofcom Report: Simplifying Non-geographic Numbers - Detailed proposals on the unbundled tariff and Freephone

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.