Does it really cost 55p a minute to call an 03 number?

24th October 2017

There’s been a lot of controversy regarding 0345 numbers in the news recently – after Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed the prime minister for utilising a number that would charge people 55p a minute to call the Universal Credit helpline (0345 600 0273).

While Theresa May has now stated that the helpline will be switching in November to an 0800 Freephone number, the question still remains: Does it really cost 55p a minute to call an 0345 number?

The answer to this for the vast majority of people is: No!

“Calls cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02) and must be included in inclusive minutes and discount schemes in the same way. Calls from landlines and mobiles are included in free call packages.”  – Ofcom

This means that calls to 03 numbers are charged at the same rate as calling your next-door-neighbour, and are included in the free amount of inclusive monthly minutes provided in landline and mobile packages.

A study by Channel 4 found that out of the cheapest contracts from the five-biggest mobile phone providers, not one of them charged more than 30p a minute for calls to 03 numbers on pay-as-you-go packages.

So where does the claim come from?

03 numbers were introduced in 2007 by Ofcom as an alternative to 08 numbers so that people could have faith knowing that the business number they are dialing would cost no more than the local rate to an 01 or 02 number.

However, there are two mobile phone networks, O2 and Vodafone who have been found to charge 55p a minute for calls to 03 numbers when made outside of the monthly allotment of minutes. (O2 gives 500 minutes to 03 numbers and Vodafone 250 minutes).

The bigger picture

03 numbers come with far more benefits than they do negatives. Not only are callers charged no more than calling next door, but they also portray a greater perception of any business, and offer business owners instant control over their phone number via our online control panel.

Planet Numbers 0333 and 0345s come with the ability to add additional ‘cloud hosted’ functionality, including virtual receptionists, time-of-day routing, call queues, voicemail, missed call alerts, and more. It also costs the business no extra at all in call charges to divert the 03 number to a UK landline, and just 5p a minute to divert to a UK mobile.

Find out more here.