British consumers unwittingly spent £88 million on calls made to 0800 numbers. So were the appalling facts of an Ofcom report of 2008. Since the holder of a 0800 number had already paid the network provider for handling the call, this additional charge was not merely unjustified but nothing more than extortion. And mobile network providers continue to get away with it.
To circumvent such malpractices, 03 numbers have been introduced. Unlike 08 numbers, these cost the same, regardless of the geographic location and whether the call originates from land or mobile phones.
In February of 2007 the United Kingdom Communications Regulator announced 03 numbers, unshackled by geographic boundaries. Allocation of number commenced the following month and the numbers were formally termed non-geographic. At the time, the numbers were specifically intended to benefit public bodies and charitable organizations. 03 numbers were intended as an alternative to 08s. All benefits of non geographic numbers continued, such as call queue, call divert and call statistics. This imposed no additional financial burden on the caller. The imprint of 03 numbers traverses the United Kingdom.
The Central Office Information Guidance recommended that 03 numbers be adopted by all healthcare providers. It wanted all health care providers to be accessible to people free of charge.
The allocation and range was as follows:
0300 to 0309 was assigned to non-profit organizations and public bodies.
0330 to 0339 designated to individuals, businesses or organizations.
0340 to 0370 are earmarked only for renumbering from an existing 08 number or range.
The advantages in changing to an 03 number are that they come with a host of benefits. For example, the cost of calling a 01 or 02 number remains unchanged. And whether mobile or fixed, 03 numbers are included in the call package which means customers are liable for a reduced cost or no cost at all. Apart from being more cost effective than an 0800 number, an 03 number conveys the impression of a national presence.
The two main objections to 08 numbers was the exorbitant cost of calling them from mobile phones, which could reach 35p per minute even on what was ostensibly supposed to be ‘freephone’. Furthermore calls to 08 numbers were excluded from the bundled minutes of the monthly contract. Frequent callers of 08 numbers from mobile phones were landed with astronomical bills.
03 numbers are included in the bundled minutes of all network providers whether from a fixed or mobile phone. Revenue sharing is specifically disallowed with 03 numbers.
Planet Numbers offers the whole gamut from 03 through 0844, 0845 to 0800. Incoming 03 numbers are charged at only 3.5p per minute by Planet Numbers, just the same as if it were 01 or 02. 03 numbers are cocooned in the monthly mobile minutes.
So switch to a memorable 0333 number with Planet Numbers – the people who understand you better and communicate cheaper.