Ofcom Still In Consultation Over 0800 Numbers

The Ofcom consultation over 0800 numbers, which we first reported on in our blog last May, is still raging on. The premise is that Ofcom wish to make 0800 numbers free to call from mobiles as well as landlines. The governing body say it is a step towards tackling consumer confusion over call charges.

The 0800 number plan is just one part of an array of changes that Ofcom wish to make, in order to standardise and simplify how non-geographical numbers are priced and used. The long term aim will be to increase transparency in non-geographical number pricing and therefore promote competition amongst businesses. They also wish to make marketing and advertising for these numbers clearer, with the phone company’s charge and the charge made by the business stated separately to avoid misleading customers.

On top of this, rates for phone numbers would be simplified, and split into 5 categories; geographic rates, mobile rates, free phone, low cost business rate and premium rate. The hope is that over time, confusion and concern over non-geographical numbers would be dispersed and the public would have a much clearer understanding of where they stand. Under the new plans, some of the lesser known phone numbers available, such as the 0500 numbers, would be eliminated altogether.

Here at City Numbers, we are not sure if this will have a positive impact on the telecommunications industry and we are not entirely convinced that this will “Simplify Inbound Number Charging”. Making 0800 numbers free of charge universally should mean that customers are no longer put off calling them, but it is not that simple. The current consultation states that 0800 phone numbers will be free to call from residential mobile phone packages! What about business mobile phones – will these not be free to call a 0800 number? And how do you clarify what a business mobile contract is? Is a one man band a residential tariff or business? This is a major issue that needs to be addressed and in our opinion a FREE PHONE NUMBER should be free to call from all handsets (residential or business). However, we also believe that once the changes take effect and everyone fully understands the financial implications, more businesses will be buying 0800 phone numbers than ever before – so any business keen to invest in one shouldn’t delay any longer! Browse our range of 0800 numbers today or contact us for more information.

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