Ofcom: Simplifying non-geographic numbers

Clear call rates for everyone

July 2015 sees Ofcom’s reform, ‘simplifying non-geographic numbers’, come into force, primarily to return confidence to the consumer when calling 08 numbers. From 1st July 2015, all calls to 080 and 116 numbers, including from mobiles, must be free of charge. The regulation also states that companies using 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers will have to declare the service charge.

As a customer of Sesui we wanted to make you aware of the changes to these service numbers so you can start your preparations now.

The key changes being introduced on 1st July 2015 are: –

  • Freephone numbers will become free to call from mobiles as well as landlines.
  • The cost to call service numbers (that’s those starting 084, 087, 09, 118) will be split into two parts;
    • An access charge, which will be stipulated by the caller’s phone company
    • A service charge, provided by the organisation using the service

The 03 numbers are the only published range of non-geographic numbers that link their price at the same rate as the current local 01 and 02 number ranges, and will remain as the only non-geographic number of this type.

This means that all 084 and 087 numbers will have a consistent tariff structure to reduce the existing confusion about the charges to these numbers. The unbundled tariff will ensure consumers will know how much of their money is paid to their phone company and how much is passed to others, such as the organisation or service being called.

Structure of charges

To ensure the different charges are easier to understand and transparent to consumers, rules have been set on the structure of the access and service charges.

These include:

  • One access charge per tariff package, though the access charge may be included in a bundle of inclusive minutes for some or all non-geographic numbers
  • The access charge to be set as a simple ‘pence per minute’ rate
  • Each individual 084, 087, 09 or 118 number to have a single service charge that applies to calls to that number from all fixed and mobile phones
  • With the exception of 118, there will be a cap on the maximum rate of the service charge, according to the unbundled non-geographic number range
    • 084 range will be capped at 7p per minute (including VAT)
    • 087 range will be capped at 13p per minute (including VAT)
    • 09 range will be capped at £3.60 per minute or £6 per call
    • 118 range is used for Directory Enquiry services only, with various service charges applying
  • Phone companies must publicise the amount of the access charge for each tariff package they offer consumers
  • Organisations and service providers must include their service charge whenever the number is presented (i.e. in advertising and marketing).

Communicating the charge

If your business or organisation’s contact number beginning 084, 087, 09 or 118, you must ensure that your service charge is clearly displayed wherever you advertise or promote that number (including the company website). The service charge should be prominent and in close proximity to the number itself.

This means that the service charge should be provided alongside the related number in all communications directed towards current or potential users of the service, where the use of the number is promoted or advertised.

These communications are likely to include as a minimum: –

  • broadcast advertisements on television or radio;
  • press advertising;
  • online advertising, including paid-for search listings;
  • advertising bill boards and posters;
  • public notices, press releases and other public relations material which promotes contact with the organisation using the number;
  • point of sale displays and other fixed advertising;
  • packages, wrappers, labels, tickets, timetables and price lists;
  • service directories;
  • company websites.

Displaying the charge

Currently call cost descriptions follow the format:

“This call will cost you X pence per minute on a BT line, other landline providers may vary and calls on mobiles may cost considerably more.”

Under the new structure we expect the announcement to follow the format of:

“This call will cost you X pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.”

 

The Ofcom changes in July 2015 will affect all organisations currently using premium-rate numbers.

premium-numbers

To discuss the impact on your organisation, contact Sesui

For further information on the Ofcom changes visit UK Calling website

 

Call us: 03445 600 600