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Ofcom pushes for free 0800 number calls from mobiles

Wants to clear up the confusion for consumers

Ofcom has announced a proposal which could see smartphone users dialling 0800 numbers for free.

The overall aim of the plan is to clear up confusion over the cost of non-geographic numbers including those starting with 03, 08, 09 and 118. These numbers are used to call businesses, retrieve information, make payments and vote on TV shows.

Ofcom said: "The aim is to make non-geographic numbers and their prices more intuitive, with clearer division between number ranges."

"Under the new proposals, the call cost will be unbundled' so that consumers will know exactly how much is paid to their phone provider and how much is passed on to other companies. The cost would therefore be made up of two parts" it added.

These two parts are an 'access charge' which has a set price for connecting the call and a 'service charge' which is the amount paid to the company receiving the call.

This will not only make the costs more clear but will encourage competition between phone companies to provide the cheapest rates for these numbers.

It could be quite a while before these changes come into effect, though. Ofcom said an 18 month transition period will take place once plans are finalised at the end of the year.

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