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Hope for UK mobile phone users to get free 0800 calls

Fri 06 Apr, 2012 // Firstnumber Team
0800 calls don't come cheap from a mobile

Calls to ‘free’ 0800 numbers currently cost mobile users an often unknown sum of up 21p a minute. Many consumers are left bewildered after being hit by expensive bills at the end of the month as the term “freephone” is misleading, and guidelines on costs for calls made from a mobile are confusing. Industry watchdog Ofcom has addressed the issue in its new plans to make 0800 numbers free to call from mobiles, as well as landlines. 

The proposals have come at a time when consumer group research has revealed many people now use a mobile as their primary phone and rarely, if ever, use a landline. There is also concern that the existing fees most affect low income households with no access to a landline and financial constraints further impacted by costly bills.

Consumer watchdogs believe complaints are justified. "This could be particularly frustrating if people have been kept on hold or on the line for a long time when dealing with a complaint to a company, on a number that is described as freephone," said Adam Scorer, of Consumer Focus.

A study conducted by Ofcom has shown people are generally confused by non-geographic numbers. These are used not only by the private sector, but also government agencies such as NHS Direct and HM Revenue and Customs. Findings indicate a resulting lack of trust in these services.

Consumers will have to wait until early 2013 for Ofcom to announce its final decision on the proposed new regulations. Other plans include clarifying charges to 08, 09 and 118 numbers, often used for information, directory inquiry, entertainment and banking services.

Firstnumber prides itself on providing clear pricing information on its cheap mobile calls to countries worldwide.

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