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What It Really Costs To Call 0800 Numbers & Lo-Call Numbers From Your Mobile

What are 0800 Numbers? 0800 numbers are UK non-geographic phone numbers that have been “free to call” from UK-based mobile and landline phones since 1st July 2015. Before July 2015, calling a UK 0800 number was only free from landline…

What are 0800 Numbers?

0800 numbers are UK non-geographic phone numbers that have been “free to call” from UK-based mobile and landline phones since 1st July 2015.

Before July 2015, calling a UK 0800 number was only free from landline phones. Mobile phone callers were charged for the 0800 call by their provider. This led to accusations of unfair practice and raised questions as to whether an 0800 number could be accurately called a true “freephone” number.

After conducting various studies into the usage of non-geographic numbers, Ofcom finally recognised the unfairness of charging mobile calls to 0800 numbers, leading to the launch of its “UK Calling Initiative” in July 2015. Since then, greater transparency has been brought to the 0800 number market. Mobile callers can now ring 0800 numbers without being charged extra on top of their mobile plan inclusive minutes.

For mobile phone users, one of the most positive aspects of the new rules introduced by Ofcom on 1st July 2015 was knowing that calling an 0800 number from a mobile phone was now free. There had been a lot of confusion about this before the new rules were introduced.

Confusing phone number prefixes

Have you ever decided not to ring an unfamiliar-looking number because you weren’t sure how much it would cost (particularly from a mobile phone)?

Yes I’m sure we’ve all done it, and for good reason. There are so many different phone numbers around now – 0800 numbers, 0870, 090, 020… that keeping tabs on how much they cost to call can be confusing.

Let’s quickly recap how things worked before the July 2015 Ofcom changes

The information you used to see about the cost of calling a service often looked something like this:

Call-charge-changes

This made it hard to know what the call would cost or where the money from your phone call was going.

How it has worked from 1st July 2015 onwards

From 1st July 2015, the cost of calling service numbers was split into two clear parts:

  • An access charge: This part of the call charge goes to your phone company, charged as pence per minute. They will tell you how much the access charge will be for calls to service numbers. It will be made clear on bills and when you take out a contract.
  • A service charge: This is the rest of the call charge. The organisation you are calling decides this, and will tell you how much it is.

Let’s take an example…

Say your particular phone company charges you 2p per minute for calls to service numbers – that is their access charge.

And let’s say the service charge for a particular number you want to call is 20p per minute. In that case, you would see information like this:

“Calls cost 20p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.”

In this particular example, the call would cost 20p per minute (the service charge), plus 2p per minute (the access charge). So the call would cost you 22p per minute.

These rules will apply to all consumer calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers across the UK, delivering clearer call rates for everyone.

Calls to other numbers – those beginning 00, 01, 02, 03, 05 or 07 – are not affected.

Are 0800 numbers free to call?

As we said earlier, the cost of calling 0800 numbers from mobile phones has been a particular bone of contention for some time.

Previous studies found that telephone users were sometimes confused about how much it costs to call service numbers, and who receives the money. This means people lacked confidence in these numbers, and sometimes avoided using them. This had a detrimental impact on various helplines and charities that used these Freephone numbers, such as Action on Hearing Loss or Age UK, as well as Government services such as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The good news is that, from 1st July 2015, all calls to these and other Freephone numbers (which begin 0800 or 0808) were made free for consumers to call from all mobile phones, just as they generally were from landlines.

How to buy an 0800 Number for your business

If you want to buy an exclusive 0800 Number for your business, you need to consider a number of things.

Do you want just a basic 0800 number where you can forward calls on to your landline or mobile? Or would you prefer a premium or memorable 0800 number to help your business stand out and make it easier for customers to remember?

Also, do you want a pay-as-you-go 0800 number, or would you benefit from a bundled package which includes a number of minutes of incoming calls for a set fee?

Whatever type of 0800 number you need for your business, we’ve got a range of freephone options to suit you. Check them out here.

Do the new call charges apply across the whole of the UK?

Yes, they apply across the UK. This does not include the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, which have their own structure for these calls.

What if I’m calling from a business phone?

The new rules apply to calls made from residential lines and consumer mobile phones. Phone companies continue to have flexibility over how they charge for these calls from business phones.

So if you’re calling an 0800 or 0808 number from a business phone, such as a Hosted PBX system, you should check with your provider whether there will be a charge.

What if I’m calling from a payphone?

The new access and service charges do not apply to calls from payphones, as these are charged differently. It may not be possible to call all service numbers from payphones – particularly those that have a higher cost per minute, or those with a higher one-off service charge.

Are text messages affected?

No, the new rules do not affect the cost of sending text messages.

I’ve heard that some companies will have to offer a contact number charged at basic rate. How does that fit in with the new call regulations?

The Government introduced new legislation affecting companies such as airlines, train operators, and major high street and online retailers who offer phone helplines to customers who have purchased their products. These parties must ensure that such customers are offered a ‘basic rate’ contact number. Basic rate means a number which costs the same as a standard ‘geographic’ call (like an 01 or 02 number), or a standard mobile rate, or else is free. This change is separate from the UK Calling changes, which were led by Ofcom.

Are telephone numbers changing?

The new arrangements do not require any telephone numbers to change. None of the companies offering services on service numbers are required to change their number. Of course, businesses and public organisations remain free to move to a new number if they wish.

Do I need to make any changes to my phone or the package I am on?

No. Your telephone provider will advise you of your access charge for calling these numbers.

Why doesn’t Ofcom ban non-geographic numbers, or force companies to use ordinary geographic numbers?

Companies and public bodies are free to choose which kind of telephone numbers they use to be contacted. Ofcom does not have powers to require organisations to use particular numbers. Ofcom does encourage public bodies to consider using 03 numbers, which cost no more to call than a normal geographic number.

Where can I find the cost of calls to numbers before I call them?

The service charge will be communicated by the organisation which is using the number to provide a service.

The access charge will be included in your phone company’s pricing plans, as well as on phone bills.

Exactly how will my phone company communicate the access charge?

Phone companies are required to publish access charges in a way that is prominent and readily accessible to customers. That means on your phone company’s website, in its published price lists, on bills and in any advertising and promotional material which refer to call pricing. When a new customer takes out a contract, the phone company they are signing up with must inform them about the access charge.

Phone companies are also responsible for informing consumers whether charges for calls to service numbers are included within bundles of inclusive calls or inclusive call minutes.

Will the access charge always be the same, regardless of which telephone or mobile company I use?

Access charges are set by each telephone company, and communicated by them to their customers. You may wish to compare access charges between providers and for the different call plans a provider offers.

Although the access charge may vary between providers, it will always be the same for calls you make to the affected numbers within your call plan. Some providers may also choose to offer call plans which include some of these charges within their inclusive call packages.

You can find out the access charge for this number – which is the rest of the call cost – from your phone company. Choose a provider from the list below to be directed to their pricing page:

UK Mobile NetworkWhat UK Mobile Network Providers Charge To Call 0800 Numbers
Asda MobileRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Asda Mobile
BTRates for calling 0800 Numbers on BT Mobile
EERates for calling 0800 Numbers on EE
OrangeRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Orange
T-MobileRates for calling 0800 Numbers on T-Mobile
KcomRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Kcom
LycamobileRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Lycamobile
O2Rates for calling 0800 Numbers on O2
PlusnetRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Plusnet Mobile
Post OfficeRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Post Office Mobile
SkyRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Sky Mobile
Talk MobileRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Talk Mobile
TalkTalkRates for calling 0800 Numbers on TalkTalk Mobile
Tesco MobileRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Tesco Mobile
ThreeRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Three Mobile
Virgin MediaRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Virgin Media Mobile
VodafoneRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Vodafone
Zen InternetRates for calling 0800 Numbers on Zen Internet Mobile

Exactly how will the organisation I am calling communicate the service charge?

Companies and organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers are required to communicate the charges clearly.

Wherever they advertise or promote one of these services, they must ensure that the service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number.

Will the service charge always be the same, regardless of which telephone provider I use to the call the number?

Yes. Unless you are a business customer, the service charge to call a particular number will be the same no matter which telephone or provider you call from. The service charge is set by the organisation you are calling.

Who takes the money from the cost of calling a service number?

Various parties may do so: your telephone company, the organisation you are calling, and the company responsible for routing or connecting the call. After the UK Calling changes, you will be able to see how much money is going to your phone company (the access charge), and how much is the amount set by the organisation you are calling (the service charge).

Will 0500 Freephone numbers become free to call from mobiles?

0500 numbers are not part of these changes and calls from mobiles to these numbers may still be charged for. Ofcom has decided that the 0500 number range will be withdrawn from use in 2017.

Where can I find out more about the new UK Calling rates?

Check out the video below, produced by Ofcom, which explains the new rates for calling service numbers.

March 2020 Update: People are still confused about the cost of calling 0800 Numbers from their mobile phones

It’s evident from the type & volume of Google searches conducted in the UK that there is still confusion about what mobile networks charge to call 0800 numbers. When we talk to prospective customers who are thinking of buying an 0800 number to use, it’s also clear from the questions they ask that they are confused about what they will pay when someone calls their 0800 number.

The table below shows the average monthly volume of actual questions people have typed into Google’s search engine over the past 12 months:

Exact KeywordMonthly Search Volume
are 0800 numbers free16000
are 0800 numbers free on ee2500
are 0800 numbers free on o21600
are 0800 numbers free on vodafone1200
are 0800 numbers free on 3800
are 0800 numbers free from mobiles700
are 0800 numbers free on mobiles450
0800 numbers are they free450
are 0800 numbers free on mobile400
are 0800 numbers free from landline400
are 0800 numbers free on virgin350
are 0800 numbers free on virgin mobile300
are 0800 numbers free on tesco mobile300
are 0800 numbers free on 02250
are 0800 numbers free to call250
are 0800 numbers free from landlines200
are all 0800 numbers free200
what are 0800 numbers200
are 0800 numbers free?200
are 0800 numbers free on bt200
are 0800 numbers free from a mobile200
are 0800 numbers free from mobile200
are 0800 numbers free on ee mobile150
are 0800 numbers free on sky mobile150
how much are 0800 numbers150
are 0800 numbers free on three100
are 0800 numbers free on a mobile100
are 0800 numbers free on orange100
are 0800 numbers free on bt mobile100
are 0800 numbers free on bt landlines100
are 0800 numbers free on sky100
are 0800 numbers free from a landline100
are 0800 numbers free on giffgaff100
are 0800 numbers free on talktalk90
are calls to 0800 numbers free90
are 0800 numbers free on plusnet90
are 0800 numbers free on mobile phones80
are 0800 numbers free on vodafone mobile80
are 0800 numbers free from vodafone80
are 0800 numbers free from sky landlines60
are all 0800 numbers free from landlines60
are 0800 numbers free on talktalk landline60
0800 numbers are free60
are 0800 numbers free on 3 network60
ee are 0800 numbers free60
what are 0800 numbers uk60
are 0800 numbers free from ee50
are 0800 numbers free on vodafone contract50
are 0800 numbers free on landlines50
are 0800 numbers free from house phones50
are 0800 numbers free from a mobile phone40
are 0800 numbers free from virgin mobile phones40
are 0800 numbers free on o2 mobiles40
are 0800 numbers free on 02 pay monthly40
are 0800 numbers free on skype40
are 0800 numbers free on o2 mobile40
are 0800 numbers free from bt landlines40
are 0800 numbers free on bt landline40
are 0800 numbers free on virgin media40
how much are 0800 numbers on ee40
are 0800 numbers free from talktalk landlines40
virgin mobile are 0800 numbers free40
are all 0800 numbers free to call40
are 0800 numbers free on talktalk mobile40
how much are 0800 numbers from mobiles40
are 0800 numbers free on tmobile30
are 0800 numbers free with sky30
are 0800 numbers free in the uk30
are 0800 numbers free on sky talk30
are 0800 numbers free ee30
are you charged for 0800 numbers30
are 0800 numbers free to call from mobiles30
are 0800 numbers free with ee30
o2 are 0800 numbers free30
are 0800 numbers free on o2 pay as you go30
are 0800 numbers free on virgin media landline30
are 0800 numbers free from landlines uk30
are 0800 numbers free from vodafone mobiles20
how much are 0800 numbers from a landline20
0800 numbers are they free from mobiles20
are 0800 numbers free on talk mobile20
are 0800 numbers free from 3 mobile20
how much are 0800 numbers on o220
are calls to 0800 numbers free from mobiles20
are 0800 numbers free from orange mobiles20
0800 numbers are they free from landlines20
are 0800 numbers free on 3 mobile20
are all 0800 numbers free uk20
are 0800 numbers free on o2 contract20
are 0800 numbers free with bt20
are calls to 0800 numbers free on tesco mobile20
are 0800 numbers free on ee pay as you go20
are 0800 numbers free on asda mobile20
where are 0800 numbers from20
are 0800 numbers chargeable20
are 0800 numbers free on id mobile20
which 0800 numbers are free20
are 0800 numbers free from tesco mobile20
are 0800 numbers free to call from a landline20
are 0800 numbers free o220
are 0800 numbers free from virgin mobile20
are 0800 numbers20
what are 0800 numbers used for20
tesco mobile are 0800 numbers free20
are 0800 numbers free from a bt landline20
are 0800 numbers free on id network20
are 0800 numbers free on pay as you go20
are 0800 numbers free on mobile phone20
are 0800 numbers free on a landline20
are 0800 numbers free from virgin landline20
are 0800 numbers free vodafone20
are 0800 numbers free on virgin home phone20
0800 numbers what are they20
are 0800 numbers free on tesco20
are 0800 numbers free on orange contract20
are 0800 numbers free for mobiles20
are all 0800 numbers free from mobiles20
are 0800 numbers free on vodafone uk10
are 0800 numbers free on a mobile phone10
three are 0800 numbers free10
are 0800 numbers free tesco mobile10
how much are 0800 numbers on vodafone10
are 0800 numbers free on talkmobile10
are 0800 numbers free on plusnet mobile10
are 0800 numbers free with virgin10
are 0800 numbers free on mobiles vodafone10
how much are 0800 numbers on orange10
are 0800 numbers free virgin mobile10
are 0800 numbers free from mobile phones10
are 0800 numbers free on ee mobile network10
are 0800 numbers free on sky landlines10
are 0800 numbers free in new zealand10
why are 0800 numbers not free from mobiles10
are 0800 numbers free on orange mobile10
are 0800 numbers free internationally10
are all 0800 numbers free from bt landlines10
are 0800 numbers charged10
are 0800 numbers free on virgin landlines10
are 0800 numbers free talktalk10
virgin mobile 0800 numbers are they free10
0800 numbers are free from landline10
0800 numbers are they free to call10
are 0800 numbers free from bt landline10
what 0800 numbers are free10
are 0800 numbers free on orange pay as you go10
are 0800 numbers free on id10
are 0800 numbers free on 3 contract10
are 0800 numbers free on ee contract10
are 0800 numbers free on ee?10
vodafone are 0800 numbers free10
are 0800 numbers free from sky landlines in uk10
are 0800 numbers free on three pay as you go10
are 0800 numbers free 0210
are 0800 numbers free on existing 3 contracts10
are 0800 numbers free from plusnet landlines10
are 0800 numbers free on 3 pay as you go10
giffgaff are 0800 numbers free10
are calls to 0800 numbers free on ee10
are 0800 numbers free from landlines in uk10
are 0800 numbers free from mobiles nz10
are 0800 numbers free from phone boxes10
are 0800 numbers free on ee contracts10
are 0800 numbers free on three network10
are 0800 numbers free in south africa10
are 0800 numbers free on sky pay as you talk10
are 0800 numbers free on virgin landline10

These volumes of searches appear to show that mobile phone networks clearly aren’t doing enough to educate their customers about the fact that calls to 0800 numbers are free from all mobile phones.

Where can I get an 0800 Number for my business?

0800 Numbers are available to buy from lots of sources. But they differ considerably in price. Typically you will pay a monthly fee for leasing the 0800 number, plus you will pay a variable amount for forwarding inbound calls to a landline or mobile number.

As one of the UK’s largest providers of virtual numbers, we offer a range of 0800 numbers with a number bundled minutes included. Click here to see the 0800 number business packages we’re currently offering. Trust me, you won’t get a better deal anywhere in the UK.

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