Ofcom has announced that calls to freephone numbers from mobile phones are finally set to become free to call.
Despite the misleading title, freephone numbers actually incur a surcharge when you call them from your mobile.
Freephone calls are only ever free when you’re dialling from a landline. Because everybody still uses those, right?
The change is due to come into action from July 1. You’ll still be charged if you make calls until then.
To clarify, a freephone is any number that begins with either 0800 or 0808.
Ofcom has confirmed that from the start of next month, freephone calls from mobile handsets will be as genuinely without cost as their landline counterparts.
That means that from 1 July you will no longer be charged when you call numbers starting with 0800 and 0808 from your smartphone or other mobile handset. And as it is a ruling set by the UK independent communications regulator all networks must follow the guidelines.
Indeed, you might even have received a text from your provider already, outlining the changes. Your network might even have worded it as if it was an added extra onto your account. Carriers can be cheeky that way.
In addition, all telephone services will, from the same date, have to be clearer on how much they charge for calls to premium phone numbers, whether that is from a mobile or landline.
The numbers affected start with 084, 087, 09 and 118. Providers have to make it clear to customers how much of the cost of the call is an access charge set by the provider, and how much is a service charge – money that is paid to the owner of the number.
For example, from 1 July, you will often see the phrasing, “calls cost xxxp a minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.” The phone company will also need to inform customers how much that access charge will be.
“Next month we’ll see the biggest changes to telephone calls in over a decade. Together we spend around £900 million a year on these calls, so it’s important that people understand the cost before they pick up the phone,” said Shron White, chief executive of Ofcom.
“From 1 July, callers will be able to see how much they’re paying and where their money is going.”