0845 numbers – free to call for BT customers

9th January 2009

Good news for BT customers: 0845 and controversial 0870 numbers are free to call – starting 16 January 2009. These premium rate numbers will be included in all call packages. 14 million BT customers pay currently 5.8p /min for calling 0870 numbers and up to 1.96p/min for 0845 numbers. Nice move – BT is the first UK company to offer free 0870 and 0845 calls to customer.

Both numbers are often used by banks, insurance companies, doctors and NHS direct. According to BT their customers spend an average of 30 minutes a month calling 0845 and 0870 numbers. An Anytime customer will now get their calls to these numbers for free – as well as all their calls to UK landlines and great rates on mobile calls – for just £4.85 a month, which works out at less than the cost of a second class stamp a day.

An Evening and Weekend package customer will get 0870 and 0845 calls for free, as well as their UK landline calls, after 6pm every day and all weekend. This move should be worth £24m a year to its subscribers and follows a deluge of customers’ complaints that their calling packages did not include the 0870 and 0845 numbers.

Other providers like Sky and TalkTalk will still be charging their customers for these numbers. Fees for 0844 and 0871 numbers remain unchanged – up to 10p a minute.