From today, Wednesday 1 July, calls to all Freephone numbers that begin 0800 or 0808 will be completely free from all phones, mobiles included! It's the biggest change to telephone calls in years and means free really does mean free, no matter how you choose to call someone.
Until now, it was only landlines that could benefit from free calls to so-called Freephone numbers, so the change will come as welcome news to those who rarely use their landline phone. Really, given the prominence of mobile phones these days, it's about time!
But that's not all. Industry regulator Ofcom has also decreed that both landline and mobile charges will become clearer for calls to service numbers starting 084, 087, 09 and 118 – another breath of fresh air, given that every year, callers spend a total of 250 million hours calling these service numbers at a cost of around £900 million!
Up until now, callers generally haven't been told by their service provider how much they'll be charged for such phone calls, but thanks to the UK Calling initiative, that's going to change. Prices will now be comprised of an 'access charge' going to the phone company, plus a 'service charge' set by the company or organisation being called, and that total cost will be clearer on bills, in marketing materials and in advertising, ensuring consumers really know how much it'll cost to make a call.
Not only that, but it'll mean customers will be able to compare the cost of phone and broadband providers more easily. Phone companies will be responsible for setting their own access charge and will need to make this clear on all communications, so consumers will be able to specifically look for providers that offer competitive charges.
"UK Calling is the biggest change to telephone calls in over a decade, said Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive. "Together we spend around £900 million a year calling service numbers, so it's important that people understand the cost before they pick up the phone. Callers will be able to see what they're paying and where their money is going – you can visit ukcalling.info for more information on the changes, and what they mean for you."
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