Feeds

Ofcom calls for end to 0800 charges on mobiles

Freephone should be free, not 21p a minute

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.