Calls will soon be free of charge - and there will be more clarity given on charges for non-geographic calls.
Ofcom said they would likely publish their final decision in the next few weeks. It should mark the end of a long struggle between consumers and some mobile 'phone operators who often charge unnecessarily high sums for calling to 0800 numbers, often used for essential services, like councils and the NHS.
End to high charges?
It's thought Ofcom may also attempt to standardise a wide range of non-geographic numbers. However, be aware that calls to 0843/4 and 5 numbers plus 0871/2 and 3 will still be charged for.
The amount of non-geographic numbers has widen considerably in recent years, including premium 090 and 091 and 098 numbers. So if Ofcom can also show some clarity here, it would be welcome.
Impact on poorWe called Orange for confirmation of how much they charge for 0800 numbers but they weren't able to confirm immediately. However Vodafone told us they charge 14p a minute on a Pay Monthly package.
Ofcom's research claims 26% of poorer households rely on mobiles for making all calls, compared to 9% of more affluent ABC1 households. Mobile-only households, in particular, risk losing access to services as the cost of calling these numbers from pay-as-you-go mobiles can be very high - hence the need for change here.
Meanwhile websites like Saynoto0890.com can be useful to avoid paying unnecessarily high call charges, particularly to companies who take a cut from the cost of such calls.