Feeds

Ofcom calls for end to 0800 charges on mobiles

Freephone should be free, not 21p a minute

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.