Many service providers often use freephone, 080 numbers on their website or offline marketing channels, but in the mobile world of multiple devices we live in today, this just causes issues, confusion and cost for consumers calling from their mobiles phones.
Historically, consumers knew where they stood when it came to the cost of their calls and the phone numbers they use. There were 0800 numbers (freephone numbers) and local geographical numbers. With a shortage of 0800 numbers a second freephone number was introduced by Ofcom, the 0808 number.
Today, with the plethora of number ranges that face the everyday consumer, from geo numbers to 0845, 0844, 0870, 0870 and the fact that from a mobile a ‘freephone’ number isn’t a ‘freephone’ number – it’s no wonder consumers are confused!
Ofcom has just announced they are consulting on major changes to the charging of non-geo numbers, making the cost of using 08, 09, and 118 numbers more comprehensive and transparent.
The announcement also states that calls to 080 numbers will be free from all telephones including those made from mobiles phone which is good news for consumers.
For businesses that use freephone numbers it could mean significant rises in the cost of using these numbers. The general feeling within the telecoms industry is that Ofcom will make this happen in 2014 and whilst the detail still has to be agreed upon, the general consensus is that the extra call charges to businesses will be at least 10 pence per minute.
On the basis that on average, around 30% of all calls to freephone numbers come from a mobile, this will result in a significant increase in call charges to businesses if they want to use freephone numbers.
Although all these changes won’t be implemented for another 18 months or so, it would be a good idea to have a think about the strategy you have in place for using freephone numbers and how these changes will affect your business.