One of the biggest changes in a decade to the cost of the telecoms calls for individuals and businesses is coming in a month.

From 1st July 2015, Ofcom, the communications regulator, is making changes to the way consumers are charged for calling non geographic service numbers (08, 09 & 118 numbers).

The initiative is called UK Calling and it is important for businesses to be prepared.

Reason for Change:

Research has shown that consumers are confused about the cost of calling these types of numbers and, as a result, avoid using them.

The changes being introduced are designed to make the associated costs transparent, easier to understand and encourage increased use among consumers. A full report can be found here.

The key changes being introduced from 1st July 2015 are:

Freephone numbers (0800 and 0808) will become free to call from mobiles as well as landlines, and as a result companies operating Freephone numbers will pay more to receive calls from mobile callers.

The cost to call 084, 087, 09 & 118 numbers will be split into two parts;
1) An Access Charge, which will be stipulated by the caller’s phone service provider, and
2) A Service Charge, which has been set by the number range holding network, and will be promoted by the organisation offering the service. There are currently 80 service charge price points.

If you operate an 084, 087, 09 or 118 number:

You are required to advertise the cost of calling these numbers in a way that is compliant with the regulatory requirements stipulated by Ofcom, PhonePay Plus and the Advertising Standards Agency. The price you pay or receive to your 084, 087, 09 or 118 may change.

From 1st July 2015 wherever the telephone number you own is advertised, it’s your responsibility to ensure the service charge is clearly displayed in a prominent position. For example:

– How your number might be advertised currently: “0845 xxx xxxx – Calls cost 4p per minute from a BT landline, charges from other operators will vary and calls from mobiles will cost considerably more.
– How your number must be advertised from 1st July 2015: “0845 xxx xxxx – Calls cost 2p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.”

If you’d like to seek further advice, we recommend you refer to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

If you operate a Freephone number (0800 and 0808)

From the 1st July 2015 you will pay more to receive calls from mobile callers. This is because Ofcom has stipulated all providers of 0800 and 0808 numbers will now have to pay the call origination cost for calls made from a mobile, rather than the mobile phone user.

You may see an increase in calls to these numbers as callers will no longer worry about the cost to call you from a mobile.

Unless you wish to change your Freephone number to an alternative prefix, you need to do nothing.

How can Intouch Advance help:

Geographic numbers or 03 numbers are not subject to any of the above changes.

03 numbers are charged to at the same or similar rate to a UK geographic call (01 and 02 numbers) and are often included in call bundles. This is the same for both landline and mobile callers.

03 number owners also pay the same rate to receive calls from UK landline and UK mobiles and often the incoming pence per minute, is less than a Freephone number.

If you would like to change your existing numbers to Geographic or 03 numbers or find out more please contact Intouch Advance.