Ofcom Announces Changes To Phone Call Charges
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Ofcom Announces Changes To Phone Call Charges

Telecoms regulator OFCOM has confirmed the cost of calling “Service numbers” from landline and mobile will become clearer for consumers under new changes to telephone charging.

The measures are designed to tackle consumer confusion about how much it costs to call companies and organisations on numbers beginning with 08, 09 and 118. The new changes are scheduled to come into force on Wednesday, 1st July 2015.

Currently, calls to 08, 09 and 118 numbers are generally not told by the service provider how much they will be charged. However, consumers can pay up to £3 per minute to some premium rate numbers.

Clearer Pricing For All Numbers Starting With 08, 09 And 118

The UK Calling campaign will provide clearer pricing structures for calls to numbers beginning with 08, 09 and 118. In addition, freephone 0800 and 0808 will be free from both landlines and mobiles. Currently, consumers who dial 0800 or 0808 numbers from mobiles can be charged.

Under the new OFCOM rules, customers dialling service numbers will be presented with details of the Access Charge which goes to their phone company, plus the Service Charge determined by the company or organisation they are calling.

If you are a business who utilises a 0800 or 0808 numbers, the cost for you to receive such calls will be impacted. Actual costs have yet to be finalised by telecoms providers, however, the cost of receiving calls from a mobile number is likely to be greater than the current cost of receiving calls from landlines.

The campaign saw OFCOM collaborate with providers including BT, EE, O2, TalkTalk, Sky, Three, Vodafone and Virgin Media.

How Will The Pricing For Chargeable Service Numbers Change?

Call costing will be separated into an Access Charge and a Service Charge. Similar strategies have been operating for a few years for service text messages. For example: of you use a text message to donate to charity, a £1.50 service charge may be applied which goes to the given charity. Alongside this payment, your network provider charges a ‘standard network rate’.

The same principle is going to be applied to calls to service numbers. Callers to these numbers will pay an Access Charge to their telephone provider, plus a Service Charge to the provider of the call service. Both these charges will be billed to the caller as either pence-per-call (PPC) or pence-per-minute (PPM).

What About Advertising And Marketing Service Numbers?

The new changes will impact not only the cost of calls, but how the numbers may be advertised. Once the Service Charges has been established, you will need to ensure your website and all other advertising material have been updated to show the Service Charge element of the call.

The changes described in more detail can be found here.

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