Ofcom announces plans to overhaul 0800 and 0844 call charging

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that they plan to change the way some non-geographic numbers are charged, making it clearer for consumers to understand call charging rates.

As it stands, the current charging system can be unclear for consumers to know how much it would cost to call various non-geo number ranges, so these changes aim to ‘tackle consumer confusion’.

These changes are being brought in the hope that customers using anything other than at BT landline will be able to understand easily how much they will be charged to call any number from the 08, 09 and 118 number ranges.

Currently, the costs to call numbers such as 0844 and 0800 from both mobiles and landlines can be substantial. Ofcom now want to introduce rules that aim to simplify the way these calls are charged and to make these charges more transparent to consumers. In these changes, freephone 0800 numbers will be made free to call from all phones.

Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said: ‘Consumers need to have far more transparency about the price they are going to pay for calls so that they can make more informed choice and so competition can work more effectively.

‘Making 0800 free from mobiles and giving people clarity about what they are paying for will improve transparency, improve competition and enhance trust in these important services.’

The plans to implements the rules have been announced today and will undergo an 18 month review period before the changes are fully introduce, in order to comply with legal guidelines.