Industry News

 

Non-Geographic Number changes

Important notice for holders of these numbers

Ofcom is making changes to the way consumers are charged for calling numbers that start with 08, 09 and 118. These are known as Non Geographic Numbering Services (NGCS)
If you use these numbers for your business, from 1 July 2015 there will be some changes to the way you're charged for them. At the same time, changes to the rules about letting people know the cost of calling these numbers will also take effect.

0800, 0808 and 116 Freephone numbers

From 1 July 2015, following new rules from Ofcom, the cost of calling 0800/0808 numbers from a mobile will now be free. This will apply to all mobile carriers and is aimed at helping the consumer get a fairer deal when contacting organisations with numbers used for things such as Helplines and advice services. Further details are available at: http://www.ukcalling.info/freephone

The regulation means that the cost to call a Freephone number from a mobile will now be passed on to the number holder rather than the caller. If you are an 0800 or 0808 number holder with us then there is going to some changes to the cost to receive calls on your number. We will be communicating these changes to you but if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact our business team on 01608 434 070

084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers

The other major change is that the cost to the consumer of calling a service number (starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) will be made up of two clear parts:

  • An access charge - This is what we will charge you per minute for making the call, and is the same charge for all service numbers. Our access charge; for calls made from a landline are 6p per minute ex VAT. Calls from one of our mobiles have an access charge of 17.5p per minute ex VAT.
  • A service charge. This is the rest of the call charge, which varies depending on the organisation you're calling. The Phone Co-op bills you for this and collects the service charge

The changes apply to calls made from mobiles and landlines and across the whole of the UK except for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The regulator Ofcom is making these changes because research has found that consumers don't know how much calls to these numbers cost. This lack of certainty means some people avoid using them and may be reluctant to contact your business.

What changes will I need to make?

Currently, the information you see or provide about the cost of calling 08, 09 and 118 numbers usually looks something like this:

Calls will cost 10p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.

Unless a consumer is calling from a BT landline, it's hard for them to know what the call will cost and this is what these regulatory changes are addressing.

From July 1st, you will need to advertise the cost of calling any of these numbers in a way that complies with the following:

  • Wherever you advertise or promote one of these numbers you must ensure that the relevant service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number.
  • You must use the following wording:

Calls cost Xp [or Xp per minute], plus your phone company's access charge.

What’s changing on my bill?

From this month, you will now see the access charge and service charge for any calls you have made to service numbers printed on your bill. The access charge is printed on the back of your bill under ‘Useful Information’ and the service charge is displayed in the itemisation. The cost of the call shown is the total cost and includes both the access charge and service charge for that call excluding VAT.

If you have a Business Anytime call package that includes 0845 and 0870 numbers, they will no longer be included from 1 July and you will need to pay the access charge and the service charge when calling these service numbers.

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What happens next?

You must make sure you are compliant by July 1st. Contact us on 01608 434070 to discuss your options. We will help you through the process of complying with the new regulations and advise you on the Service Charge for your inbound number.

You may wish to consider changing your number to one that is not affected by these changes. We can offer 03 numbers which are increasingly trusted by the general public. Calls to 03 numbers costs the same as a local call, and are included in most residential call bundles.

Visit the Advertising Standards Authority website at www.cap.org.uk for more information about the types of marketing materials you will need to update. You can also visit Ofcom's official website for UK Calling at http://www.ukcalling.info/industry for guidance.