Feeds

Ofcom calls for end to 0800 charges on mobiles

Freephone should be free, not 21p a minute

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.