More good news in the telecommunications industry this week as the UK’s smallest mobile operator, Three, announced they will be making calls to 0800 numbers free from Today (18th March 2014), and cutting the cost of calls to all other 08 numbers to 5p per minute.
The tariff will be offered to all new contracts, whilst existing customers can sign up without having to extend their existing contracts.
It is estimated that mobile networks make £600m a year charging customers up to 40p per minute to call 08 numbers, which are usually free or low cost from landlines.
This news comes not long after the announcement that firms in certain industries including banks, utility services, insurance companies and broadband providers will be required to supply a Freephone helpline for their customers.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has already announced the plan to end charges for calls to 0800 numbers from mobiles; however this will not come into effect until June 2015.
These proposed changes won’t be altering the cost of calling other numbers in the 08 range however, which are currently charged at up to 41p a minute on mobiles, whilst costing as little as 4p and 8p from a BT landline.
The service charge is typically under 10p, with the majority of the cost to the consumer of a 41p a minute call being pure profit for the mobile operator.
From June 2015, Ofcom will require operators to be more transparent, separating access and service charges on bills.
Three said it hoped other operators would follow suit. Chief executive David Dyson said: “We believe it’s time to make mobile simpler, fairer and better value and calling 08 numbers is something we want to address for our customers.”