The smallest operator from Britain, Three, with nine million customers, has cut down charges for 0800 numbers for all its customers as well as cutting down the cost of any other number starting with 08 and 05 to 5p a minute. This tariff would be applicable to all new contracts while the existing customers could sign up without the need to extend their existing contracts.
The cost of calling 0800 numbers from mobile phone will now be made free for customers of Three while the charges for helpline run by various banks, utilities, insurance companies and broadband provider will now be slashed. According to research from YouGoy, Telecom regulator, Ofcom had made an announcement to end charges for calls to 0800 numbers for mobiles though this would not be enforced till 26 June 2015. Mobile networks had made an estimated £600m yearly by charging customers up to 40p a minute to ring numbers beginning with 08 and which were often free or a fraction of the price to ring from landline.
Transparency in Access and Service Charges
Ofcom will not be changing the cost of calling other numbers in the 08 range and these will be charged up to 41p a minute on mobiles but could cost as little as 4p and 8p from BT line. Moreover the price from mobile may consist of a service charge made by the organization that uses the number with an access charge added by the mobile operator. The service charge with the majority of the cost to the consumers of a 41p a minute call, has turned out to be a profit for the mobile operator. Research commissioned by Three from YouGoy showed 47% of the mobile users were shocked with the bill, with almost a third stating that this was caused by expensive call which were not covered by their fixed price bundle. Consumers while waiting to get through to call centers would often while trying to sort our already distressing situations, have also incurred bills of hundreds of pounds while ringing from mobiles. June 201 onwards, Ofcom would be needing operators to be more transparent in separating access and service charges on their bills.