Free to call you and me – even from a mobile

12 December 2013

Freephone sounds like it should be free, but at the moment, if you call a freephone number from a mobile, you could be charged through the nose. Now Ofcom have announced that Freephone will mean free, even if you’re not using a BT landline (and let’s face it, who does?).That means calls to 0800, 0808 and 116 numbers won’t incur any hidden charges from June 2015.


And if you’re calling a premium rate line, like an 08, 09 or 118 number, you’ll get a proper breakdown of your rates. At the moment, the recorded message will only tell you your call rate from a BT landline. That’s because mobile companies add on varying ‘access charges’. So when you call a premium rate number, you usually get the vague caveat that ‘calls from a mobile could cost more.’ Who knows how much? It is written in the wind (and usually on your astronomical monthly bill).

Ofcom say that now you’ll hear a message along the lines of: ‘Calls will cost XX pence per minute, plus your phone company's access charge.’ That way if your provider piles on massive access charges, then you can find out and you have more CONSUMER CHOICE. Which is what we like.

Also, in even better news, call charges to premium rate numbers will be capped. So if you accidentally sit on your handset and phone the I’m A Celebrity Voting line for three hours, you won’t have to remortage your house to pay your phone bill.

Now all they have to do is bring back Tom Baker as the landline text message voice, and we’re laughing.

TOPICS:   Mobile   Consumer Advice   Utilities   Complaints


  • Han S.
    Why does this take a year and a half to implement? Why can't they just do it from nexy week?
  • Quietus
    ^ What he said.
  • ian
    These changes require major modifications to the billing systems of every landline and mobile phone company. Additionally, the hundreds of non-geographic price bands are going to be rationalised with a much smaller number remaining in use. This requires the agreement of hundreds of service providers. There are also a number of technical changes happening behind the scenes with the way calls are routed around the various networks and how those networks interconnect. These are major changes and it all has to be got 100% right, otherwise many businesses may be unable to receive calls or millions of callers could receive incorrect telephone bills. Previous changes, such as when all geographic numbers moved from 0x to 01x area codes in 1995, mobile numbers moved to 07xxx prefixes around 1999, various cities moved to 02x area codes in 2000, and various non-geographic numbers moved to 0845, 0870 and 09xx prefixes in 2001, all had similar or longer lead times than has been proposed for this current project.
  • Olde S.
    ^ What HE said.
  • Nathan
    I'm on T-Mobile and don't pay for any 08-based numbers, even the more expensive 0871. Calls to these numbers simply come out of my minute allowance. They have since stopped allowing this on their new phone contracts since 30/10/2013, though. Their SIM-only plans still appear to have 08 numbers included. Just a heads up.

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