You’ll recognize toll-free numbers as an 1-800 number, and in the UK there isn’t a huge difference, with freephone numbers beginning 0800. While those numbers are free to call from pay phones (remember those?) and landlines, network operators charge a fee to call 0800 numbers from cell phones. They don’t come out of your included minutes, either. The UK regulator Ofcom has now announced that charges for calling 0800 numbers from cellphones will be scrapped under a new proposal.
Ofcom is also looking to simplify call charges for 08, 09, and 118 numbers. 08 numbers typically includes the common 0845 prefix, used for customer support lines and government agencies. Ofcom say that charges won’t exceed 7p per minute for 084 numbers, and 13p per minute for 087 numbers.
The telecoms regulator hopes to clear up confusion surrounding the 03 prefix as well. Consumers seem to believe right now that the number is associated with extra charges, when in fact it is treated and costs the same as a geographic landline number.
If the new plans gain approval, companies using 08 numbers will be asked to use the phrasing “This call will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge” to avoid confusion. Ofcom expect to hear on the final decision of the new plans by early 2013, with an 18-month transitional period since the change will affect a large number of businesses and companies in the UK.
[via The Next Web]