0800, 0808 numbers to be free from mobiles, but not til 2015

Calls to Freephone numbers are already free from landlines, but will eventually be free from mobiles too, Ofcom has ruled.


Calls to 'freephone' numbers will be free to call from mobiles as well as landlines, Ofcom has ruled -- but the changes won't come into effect until the year after next.

The watchdog has decreed that "Freephone will mean free", which means you won't be charged to call 0800, 0808 and 116 numbers from your mobile. The changes won't come into effect until June 2015 however.

Ofcom told me that the long wait is down to preparation that companies must make before the change happens, with mobile operators like Vodafone or O2 needing to ensure they'll be able to handle the influx of Freephone calls they'll receive once it's free, and crunch the numbers on revenue implications too.

In a statement, price comparision service Uswitch said, "Consumers face another 18 months of finding a landline for free calls," though called the changes a "welcome sign that Ofcom is taking consumer protection seriously."

Ofcom is also changing the way the cost of non-geographic calls (i.e, calls to numbers starting with 08, 09 or 118) are broken down. Currently, unless you're using a BT line, you're not informed how much you'll be charged for placing one of these calls.

"Under new rules," Ofcom says, "Telephone users calling service numbers will in future see the cost broken down into an 'access charge' to their phone company, plus a 'service charge' to the company or organisation they are calling."

Are you chuffed at the changes, or would you rather they were happening a bit faster? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.