Mark Castle

Since the 1st July, changes to the way Non-Geographic Numbers – that’s numbers beginning in 08, 09 or 118 – are being charged, have been in effect, but it seems that a lot of businesses offering a non-geographic number are still confused about what is required of them under the new legislation. 

Why have Ofcom made these changes?

Research undertaken by communications regulator Ofcom found that consumers were often confused about how much it cost to call a business’s 08, 09 and 118 numbers, and as a result people avoid using them. Because of this, Ofcom decided to make changes to the way those numbers are charged with the aim of making those charges easier for callers to understand.

What’s changed?

Non-geographic numbers (NGN)

Previously most businesses would advertise call charges like this:

Calls cost 20p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.

However, since the 1st July, businesses have been required to advertise the cost of calling a non-geographic number broken down into two parts:

1. An access charge – this is defined by the callers phone service provider.

2. A service charge – this is set by the ‘number range holding network’ and promoted by the organisation offering the service.

Looking something like this:

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

Freephone numbers

In addition to the NGN number changes, all Freephone numbers (which begin with 0800 or 0808) are now FREE for consumers to call from mobile phones, just as they usually are from landlines. This is because Ofcom has stipulated that providers of 0800 and 0808 numbers will have to pay origination costs for mobile calls, rather than the mobile phone user.

Businesses will most likely start to see an increase in calls to Freephone numbers from mobiles which may result in increased costs to operate a Freephone number.

To find out Mobile Originating Levy’s for your Freephone number please email letstalk@opusteam.co.uk

What does this mean for my business?

Non-geographic numbers (NGN)

If your business uses a non-geographic service – numbers beginning with 08, 09 or 118 – you will need to update all of your marketing material wherever you promote one of these numbers (both online and printed) ensuring that the service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number. The information should take this form: “Calls cost Xp (or Xp per minute) plus your phone company’s access charge.”

Our standard access charge for NGN calls is 9.5ppm (ex VAT)

To find out the service charge for your non-geographic number please email letstalk@opusteam.co.uk

Replace your 0845 with the 0345 number equivalent.

An increasingly popular non-geographic number alternative for businesses are 03 numbers; as all 03 numbers are charged at the same price to call as any other UK landline (01 or 02 numbers) for all UK callers, including if they are calling from a UK mobile.

Exact 0345 numbers are available to owners of the 0845 number from the same originating carrier as the 0845 came from (only the original carrier can give you this number). Our seamless porting service then ensures you’ll be using your new number in no time.

If you would like to talk to us about replacing your 0845 numbers with the 0345 equivalent call us on 0345 3031 001 or email letstalk@opusteam.co.uk

Why do I need to comply with these changes?

Compliance will be regulated by PhonePayPlus and the Advertising Standards Authority Regulate with non-compliance resulting in penalties.

If you have any questions about these changes please feel free to email letstalk@opusteam.co.uk

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