Watchdog wants to reduce confusion relating to charges calling various types of number.

Ofcom wants 0800 to be free on mobile

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed that 0800 telephone numbers should be free to all phones including mobile phones.

Describing the move as a "major step" in tackling consumer confusion about the cost of calling various numbers with prefixes such as 03, 08, 09 and 118, Ofcom said that the majority of 0800 numbers actually cost up to 21p a minute from mobiles.

The watchdog lamented the fact that only users on BT land lines could tell how much they would be charged for calls to various numbers and also said that there was confusion about the cost of the call versus the cost of the service provided via the call.

Ofcom is proposing that some numbers such as 0800 are completely free and that revenue sharing numbers would have a standardised structure to spell out the charge share.

Callers to revenue share numbers will hear a message like: "This call will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge" rather than the current message that simply warns that calls would cost "considerably more on a mobile".

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