For a while here in the UK we’ve had a strange situation. If you call an 0800 number it’s supposed to be free. The company you’re calling pay the entire cost of the call but, until now, many mobile providers have put an additional cost on top, which then goes onto your phone bill.
The solution, for many years, has been to only ever use your home phone if you need to call an 0800 number. This meant that the call was actually, properly free.
If you used your mobile then the additional cost effectively paid for the connection from your mobile phone to the landline network. That, if we’re honest, was a bit mad when you consider the amount of bundled minutes you’re given each month, and you can use these to call, y’know, landlines.
Now the access charge levied by the mobile networks is to be dropped (or at least “covered” by them), meaning that your calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are now actually free, no matter which UK phone you use.
Meanwhile, calls to 084, 087 and 09 numbers have had charges “clarified”, although many businesses have already decided to switch to 03 numbers so that you can call them using your bundled minutes (03 numbers are treated the same as 01 and 02).
However, the “access charge” for calling an 084 or 087 varies wildly, with some charging 15p and others up to 44p.
So, basically the take-away from all this is…
– If you’re planning to call an 0800 or 0808 number from your mobile, that’s free now.
– If you’re calling an 03 number, that’s part of your minutes
– If you’re planning to call the likes of an 0844 or 0845 number from your mobile, perhaps use a landline instead (or use our work-around if you really want to call from your mobile).
Oh, and let’s not forget what will always remain the same..
– Companies will probably have their sales lines on lovely free 0800 numbers and will probably answer in seconds
– Companies will have their customer service lines on 0844 / 0870 or 0845 numbers and they’ll connect the call, put you in a queue and take absolutely ages.