The cost of calling businesses and services will become clearer for consumers under upcoming major changes to how calls are charged. From Summer 2015, calling Freephone numbers will finally be truly free from any device – this includes your mobile phone. It will also be much easier to find out the cost of calling non-geographic numbers.
Why is it changing?
According to a recent research conducted by Ofcom, the majority of users are confused about the amount it costs to call service numbers. For this reason, Ofcom has mandated a new system in which it will be clearer to consumers how much it costs to call 08, 09 and 118 numbers.
What is changing?
Under the new rules, telephone users calling service numbers will see the cost broken down into an ACCESS CHARGE to their phone company, plus a SERVICE CHARGE to the company or organisation they are calling.
In addition, calls to 080 and 116 numbers will become free from mobiles as well as landlines, providing consistency and clarity for callers.
How it works now
Quite often, you will see information about the costs of calls, which looks similar to this:
“Calls cost 20p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”
This makes it difficult to know the cost, unless you happen to be calling from a BT landline.
And under the new system?
Once the changes have been implemented, it will be mandatory for businesses to advertise service numbers detailing the two components of the cost:
Example: “Calls cost 18p per minute plus your phone company’s ACCESS CHARGE”
What are we doing?
We are making changes in multiple areas:
- We are communicating awareness of the changes to our customers, so that they can take actions in time.
- We will be communicating to our customers the new Service Charge price point that we are setting for our number ranges. This may mean that some of the numbers are re-priced and may result in some slight adjustments being required.
- Oxygen8 will continue to lead the way in the non-geo marketplace by looking at the way that these changes can expand opportunities, increase revenues, improve operational efficiency and drive performance. Our dedicated Sales Team will be happy to discuss these with you, should you so wish.
What actions do you need to take?
If you or your business uses one of our ‘non-geographic’ service numbers for people to contact you – for example, one beginning with 08, 09 or 118 – you need to be aware of some changes to how these numbers will be charged.
In addition to mirroring the actions we are taking, special consideration should be taken to the use of Freephone numbers. Mobile providers will be allowed, under these new regulations, to pass a charge for calls from their consumers to the service provider.
We currently do not have details of these costs, but companies should expect not only a significant increase in the cost of an individual incoming call, but also an increase in the number of calls from mobile phones now that it will be free to the caller.
If you feel that your requirements may change as a result of this, please contact your account manager to discuss your needs further.
At this stage, the regulations only cover calls from consumers, but it is a real expectation that business-to-business calls will also come under the same regulation in due course.
Further details of the change and advice can be found on the Ofcom information website here: