In July 2015 Ofcom introduced a series of changes to the way calls to many 08 numbers were charged. This included clearer call costs to 084 and 087 numbers but by far the biggest change for the inbound telecoms industry was the fact that 0800 numbers became free to call from all phones.Tweet This: Over the past 12 months calls to our 0800 numbers have increased by 67%.
It was not unknown for consumers to be charged up to 41p per minute for calls from a mobile, which in total was costing the public millions of pounds every year. Naturally this led to public confusion, which in turn prompted Ofcom to spring into action. The result was that 0800 numbers became completely free to call from any phone.
“From 1 July all Freephone numbers which begin 0800 or 0808 will become free for consumers to call from all phones, whether mobile or landline.”
– Ofcom, 29th June 2015
08Direct is owned and operated by Core Telecom who are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of inbound telephony. Core Telecom is an independent network which handles millions of minutes every year to thousands of customers who advertise 0800 numbers for inbound calls. As a network operator we’ve got a unique insight into how the performance and call traffic to 0800 numbers has changed, and 1 year on we’ve got the data to show how consumers have reacted.
1. Total Calls to 0800 Numbers has increased by 67%
We’ve broken down all traffic to our 0800 numbers by month since June 2015 and found that over the period stretching to the end of June 2016 calls to our 0800 numbers increased by 67%.
Immediately after the start of July 2015 we saw a big surge in call traffic, which only slowed down just after Christmas and the period immediately following the near year.
“… over the period stretching to the end of June 2016 calls to our 0800 numbers increased by 67%.”
Naturally for many businesses the build up to the festive period is their busiest time of the year which is reflected in the graph. However, the call level has continued to increase steadily month on month since then, which crucially also does not include the Summer months. We fully expect another large jump in calls over the next couple of months as the Summer is commonly another period where we see increased call traffic.
2. Share of calls from Mobiles Will Take over Landline
From June 2015, which interestingly is before the changes came into force, we saw a big leap in calls to 0800 numbers from mobiles. Until 1st July 2015 these will have been chargeable calls but it does reflect public awareness from messages being pushed out by both Ofcom themselves, and the industry as a whole at the time.
“As of the end of June 2016 39.84% of 0800 calls originated from a mobile, up from 22.28% the year before.”
Over the course of the last 12 months the share of calls to 0800 numbers made from a mobile (compared to landline) has doubled. As of the end of June 2016 39.84% of 0800 calls originated from a mobile, up from 22.28% the year before.
With this in mind we predict that within 6 months the share of calls from mobiles will overtake those from landline. Of course this is consistent with the telecoms industry as a whole as more and more households ditch their landline phone.
3. Many businesses are unaware this has resulted in increased running costs
There does seem to be a ‘but’ in many positives, and this 0800 number news is no different especially for the businesses who utilise one. Although they should be enjoying a boost in customer calls, many long standing users of 0800’s are completely unaware their bills could have increased.
When a business advertises a Freephone number they take on the cost of the calls and in many cases, are now paying a separate cost to receive calls from mobiles.
0800 number suppliers such as Core Telecom are now charged extra for calls originating from a mobile and in turn have had to pass on these costs to businesses who advertise one. Some suppliers are now adding a surcharge of up to 7p per minute on every call – incidentally 08Direct have chosen to not add any surcharge :-).
If you currently advertise an 0800 number we strongly advise you check your latest statement as your costs will now be split by the call origin to reflect these new costs.
Away from our own customers we’ve now provided free advice to many business owners and indeed charities, many of whom advertise 0800 numbers for help and support lines. We’ll be happy to look over your latest bills to advise where you could increase the efficiency on your calls and cut costs.
Written by George Cotter