How much do your phone calls actually cost?

We’ve noticed some confusion recently amongst the media, businesses and consumers alike about the charging mechanisms of 08 numbers and the terminology that goes alongside. We’ve decided to put our expertise to good use and put together a guide to clear up any confusion about how much your phone calls actually cost.

Premium rates – The only number range that is truly premium rate is 09. These are widely used for competitions, TV voting, chat lines, horoscopes and professional advice services to name a few. These numbers are regulated by PhonePayPlus, who regulate all phone-paid services in the UK.

Calls to these numbers cost between 9p and £1.69 per minute or per call from a BT landline, but other landline providers can charge up to £2.60 per minute. Mobile calls usually range from 50p to £2.50 per minute or per call.

Business rates – This is the official Ofcom term for the non-geographic numbers most commonly used by businesses, i.e. 084 and 087 numbers. The actual charging rates do differ with these numbers, which you can see below.

0843 & 0844 – From landlines, calls cost between 1p – 13p per minute. From mobiles, calls can cost 20p – 41p per minute, but this depends on the mobile service provider.

0845 – Depending on the time of day, calls from landlines are typically charged at 1p – 11p per minute. For mobiles, cost per minute is usually between 14p – 41p.

0870 – For some landline providers, calls to 0870 numbers cost no more than a geographic call and can be included in inclusive minutes. From other providers, calls are usually charged at 11p per minute. For mobile calls, typically the calls are around 14p – 41p per minute, with some providers now including calls to 0845 and 0870 in call packages, making it free to call at certain times of the day.

Geographic rates – This refers to the charges for calls to 01 or 02 numbers which are typically up to 10p per minute, with most providers offering call packages with free calls at certain times of day. Mobile calls are usually charged between 10p – 40p per minute.

03 numbers also fit under this umbrella as they were specifically designed by Ofcom to offer a lower cost non-geographic alternative to higher costing 08 numbers, and they are always charged the same at a geographic rate.

Freephone – These are 0800 and 0808 numbers, they are free to call from landline phones as all of the call costs are covered by the business or organisation. Currently, from mobiles, the calls are charged between 14p and 40p, but Ofcom announced that from June 2015 calls from mobiles to 0800 and 0808 numbers must also be free.


Ofcom have released their own guidelines to tackle call cost confusion, check it out here!

Photography: Mizanur Rahman


George Cotter

George Cotter is the Head of Marketing for Core Telecom and all brands which operate on the network. These include 08Direct, 03NumberShop and 0800NumberShop. You can find him on and Twitter.

All stories by: George Cotter

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