First Mobile Operator to offer Free calls to 0800 Numbers20th March 2014
UK Mobile operator Three mobile have announced that calls to 0800 numbers will now be free to customers on their mobile network. The plans, originally created to target new customers, will also benefit existing customers too – without requiring hefty contract extensions.
Whilst 0800 numbers have always been free to call from landlines, people dialling these numbers from their mobiles have been charged up to 40p a minute. In the past various mobile operators have garnered approximately £600m per year for these excessive charges. Given 0800 numbers are most widely used for help and support lines it has been a constant point of contention for the industry. Often consumers are not aware of the trust costs and are shocked to receive a large bill.
Three have also stated that they will be cutting the cost to call other numbers beginning with 08 and 05 (e.g. 0845 numbers). The maximum cost for Three customers will be set at 5p per minute.
his move has potentially fuelled by a announcement from telecoms regulator Ofcom. They are aiming to ensure that calls to 0800 numbers are free from all mobiles (regardless of network) by June 2015. Ofcom is not changing the cost to call the other numbers in the 08 range, this seems to be a voluntary move on the part of Three. It is worth noting however that Ofcom will be demanding clearer billing for these numbers. Operators will be required to separate the cost for the access and service charge. This will enable customers to see the charges levied by their mobile operator more clearly.
The move by Three has received positive reactions and praise from consumer groups across the board.