Ofcom update: Consultation on tackling consumer confusion over call charges

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Ofcom today published a consultation on tackling consumer concern and confusion over the cost of calling businesses and other organisations on numbers such as 03, 08, 09 and 118.

Ofcom is proposing to standardise and simplify how a wide range of non-geographic numbers are priced which will help to promote transparency and competition in delivering services through these numbers. Under the proposals calls to 0800 numbers will be free from mobiles; it currently costs up to 40p a minute to call an 0800 number from a mobile.

Under the proposals there would be clear categories of numbers:

  • 01, 02 and 03 - geographic rates;
  • 07 - mobile rates;
  • 0800 - free from landlines and mobiles;
  • 0843/4 and 5 and 0871/2 and 3 - business rate, lower cost; and
  • 090/ 091/098 - premium rate, higher cost.

The proposals should also provide far more clarity for the pricing of 118 directory enquiry services, potentially leading to more effective competition and cheaper calls.

Ofcom’s consultation can be found here: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/simplifying-non-geo-numbers/

Mark Burcher