In the press this week it has been announced that Ofcom is to ban mobile phone firms from charging customers who call 0800 numbers. New research has revealed that consumers are confused and uncertain about the cost of calling these numbers. Ofcom proposes to rationalise the non-geographic number ranges, to make prices clearer and more transparent to consumers. This includes proposals to reduce the number of ranges.
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.
Consumers will be able to use this information when choosing between different phone offers by comparing call bundles. For instance; a consumer may prefer to call a local geographic number rather than and 08 business rate number due to cost however, a national business may only want to place 0844 business rate numbers on their marketing material.
Providers of the service will be able to communicate clearly the call prices so consumers can make straightforward comparisons. More transparent prices should encourage competitive pressure and help keep prices down for consumers.