UK Calling Becomes Simpler From 1 July 2015

Netmatters Ltd
Posted by Netmatters Ltd
29th June 2015

For some, engaging with Saturday evening TV voting, phone-ins or calling a radio station to enter a competition is commonplace, but how of us many actually know the cost of calling a 084, 087 or 09 number?

Currently, calls are usually charged with a set-up fee, together with a cost per minute - and calling from a mobile is currently considerably more than calling from a landline as each network can impose their own individual charges.

The message typically usually looks something like this:

"Calls cost 25p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.”

The costs can vary wildly; dialling an 0845 number (local rate) can typically cost between 1p – 12p per minute, but a directory enquiry service - with a 118 number - can cost as much as £4.00 set-up fee, together with £5.00 per minute call charges.

Ofcom (the independent body that regulates the UK’s communication channels such as TV, radio, telephone, post and wireless devices) has announced that, as of 1 July 2015, UK Calling is to undergo its biggest overhaul of the system in order to make the cost of making a call to one of these numbers more transparent.

As of 1 July, calls from both landlines and mobiles will be charged with a single service charge which will be clearly displayed near the number to be dialled, together with an access charge which your service provider – BT, Virgin, Vodafone, O2 etc will publish on your bill and when you take out the service/contract. Although the access charge can vary between providers, it will always be the same for each call you make to one of the designated numbers (through your individual network).

Additionally, 0800 numbers, which historically have been charged for through mobile networks, will become free from 1 July.

What Do New Calling Charges Mean for Businesses?

If your company makes use of “service numbers” (ie. ones that start 08, 09 or 118) you will need to review all of your promotional material and advertising – including your website, emails and digital brochures and ensure that the service charge costs are clearly stated in close proximity to the number itself (ie. you can’t locate it at the bottom of the page if the number is stated at the top).

The recommended wording is:

“Calls cost xp [or xp per minute] plus your phone company's access charge.”

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