Freephone numbers extended to mobiles from July

Mobile phone dialing

Freephone numbers starting 0800 or 0808 have finally become free for mobile phone users as of 1 July.

These calls have generally been free when dialled from a landline but mobile users have incurred charges between 14p and 40p a minute.

Charges for calls to other 'service' numbers - those starting 08, (including 084 and 087), 09 and 118 have changed too - will be made up of an access charge and a service charge.

The access charge is the part that goes to your phone company, and is charged as pence per minute. It will be made clear on bills and when you take out a contract.

The service charge is the rest of the call charge levied by the organisation you are calling, which is obliged to inform callers how much the charge will be.

Bill wording

Call charge information website gives the following example of the wording you can expect to see on bills:

Say your particular phone company charges you 10p per minute for calls to service numbers - that is their access charge. And let's say the service charge for a particular number you want to call is 20p per minute. In that case, you would see information like this: "Calls cost 20p per minute plus your phone company's access charge."

In this particular example, the call would cost 20p per minute (the service charge), plus 10p per minute (the access charge). So the call would cost you 30p per minute.

While the new call charges being brought in by regulator Ofcom will be clearer for consumers than they have been for some time, because no standard access or service charge has been set there will still be some confusion.

EE will charge 44p a minute almost twice Vodafone's 23p and much more than 02 and Three's 25p fee.

The changes do not affect calls made to ordinary landline numbers (01, 02), 03 numbers or mobile (07) numbers. Neither do they affect calls made from payphones, international calls, or calls to the UK when roaming overseas.


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