Ofcom wants to make call charges clearer for consumers
As part of the regulator's plans to make call charges clearer, 080 which are typically free from landlines will also be free from mobiles. A legal draft to make the changes has been created and awaits consultation.
Ofcom said it "intends that calls to 080 (Freephone) numbers will be made free from all telephones. At present some phone companies, particularly mobile providers, charge for calls to such numbers."
Since the changes are large and will affect all telecoms operators and most businesses across the UK, Ofcom is allowing 18 months from the conclusion of the review to the introduction of the changes.
Things seem to be taking a while, though, as Ofcom announced the plans a year ago and hoped to have them finalised by 2013. See also: Ofcom pushes for free 0800 number calls from mobiles.
The plans also propose that call charges to companies, organisations and other public bodies with 08, 09 and 118 numbers will be clearer. The regulator said unless users have a BT landline, it's unclear how much calls to these numbers will cost.
Ofcom expects to introduce a single 'access charge' for calls to these numbers and a separate 'service charge' to the firm they are calling. Phone companies will inform customers of the service charge which will also appear on bills. Meanwhile, service provides will be required to clearly advertise how much calls will cost.
The regulator said it expects to publish a statement confirming final decisions by the summer, in which it hopes to give a date for when the changes will be introduced.