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Mobile calls to 0800 numbers will now be free


Phone calls to numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 will now be free from mobile phones as well as landlines.

The changes are part of a new overhaul of telephone numbers from Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK. The changes have been in the pipeline for months, and charges from service numbers beginning with 084, 087, 118 or 09, will also be simplified.

Ofcom has claimed that UK consumers spend a total of £950 million a year to 084,087,118 and 09 numbers.

The changes will effect 175 million phone numbers throughout the UK. Mobile phone users will no longer be charged for Freephone numbers and the cost of calls to service numbers will be explained as "calls cost x pence per minute, plus your phone company's access charge".

Many companies have now made the change from 08 numbers to the cheaper 03 numbers. Number beginning with 03 tend to cost the same as calls to geographic 01 and 02 numbers.

Business owners have claimed that the volume of calls to 0800 numbers will not rise, as people might be more likely to make spontaneous calls to truly freephone numbers.

This could also add an additional cost burden to businesses and put more pressure on staff, according to Justin Hamilton-Martin, chief executive of Ultracomms.

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