Ofcom Regulatory Change – July 2015

Telephone Call Charges for Non-Geographic Numbers to be made simpler

This week there have been changes in the way non-geographic numbers are charged.

We provide many of our customers with non geographic numbers such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.  We think it’s important to keep our customers up to date, so we’ve put together this guide to the changes.

And as it’s now a requirement to state call costs, you need to take action.  If you’re displaying non-geographic numbers on your website it’s time to update the costs.

Fairer pricing for all numbers starting 08, 09 and 118

080 is now to be free from mobiles as well as landlines for residential lines.

You may already be aware of the changes that are to be introduced from 1st July 2015 that will affect the way in which 08 / 09 non-geographic numbers will be charged.  OfCom, the regulatory body for non-geographic numbers, have introduced these changes to improve customer understanding of how 0845, 0844/3, 0870, 0871/2 & 09 numbers are charged.

Currently, unless consumers are using a BT line, callers to these numbers are not generally informed how much they will be charged and under the new rules, telephone users calling service numbers will see the cost broken down:

  • ‘Access charge’ to their phone company (DataKom), plus a
  • ‘Service charge’ to the company or organisation they are calling.

 

Consumers will therefore be able to understand the exact cost of making the call, by adding the access and service charges together. They will also be able to compare the prices of different phone and service providers more easily. If you have a Non-Geographic Number: Ofcom deems that consumers may be confused when trying to understand the costs to call 08 & 09 numbers.

To counteract this confusion, they have published clear guidance as to how calls to 08 numbers should be displayed on web content, advertising and literature. Businesses who are using 08 numbers now have a legal obligation to clearly promote the cost of calling their 08 numbers on any advertising or promotional material. This will need to take the form of; ”calls will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge” This statement must be displayed in a prominent position and in close proximity to the 08 number advertised and these changes will come into force from the 1st July 2015. If you have a Non-Geographic number supplied by DataKom contact our billing team for advice as to what you should be publishing on your website and marketing collateral.

Additional price changes

In addition to the price changes above:

  • Freephone will mean free – Consumer calls to Freephone (0800, 0808 and 116) numbers, which are generally free from landlines, will become free from mobile phones too.
  • Premium rate charges will be capped – The service charge for premium rate (09) numbers will be capped, helping to protect consumers from the risk of rogue operators imposing extremely high charges in future.
  • Confusion around 0845 will be addressed – This number range – which is sometimes tied to the cost of a geographic call – will no longer work this way, and will instead function like any other 084, 087 or 09 number. That means the cost of calling 0845, broken out into an access and service charge, will become clear.
  • Organisations wishing to offer a geographic-rate number will still have the option of using the 03 range. Ofcom is actively encouraging public and not-for-profit bodies to use 03 numbers. These cost no more to call than a geographic (01 or 02) number, and must be included in a customers’ inclusive minutes or discount schemes. These are significant changes that will affect all consumers of telecoms services, and every business that uses these numbers.

 

If you have any questions please contact your Account Manager or our Billing Team on billing@datakom.co.uk.