Three has announced that it is making 0800 numbers free for customers signing up to new monthly plans, as well as slashing 084 and 087 calls to 5p per minute, amidst new research that reveals that Brits shell out over half a billion pounds a year on 08 ‘freephone’ numbers a year.
These charges typically range from 14p to 40p. Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date.
The research, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Three, found that:
- 08 calls cost UK consumers over £600 million a year
- 75% do not know what they’re being charged when they dial 08 numbers
- 45% of those on a mobile phone contract have suffered from ‘bill shock’, upon receiving a bill that was, on average, £33.63 more than they’d anticipated
The most prevalent reason for this was due to ‘out of bundle’ calls to 0800 numbers (31%)
When queried, premium mobile charges for 0800 numbers emerged as the most frustrating for consumers, something Three is responding to as part of its long term goal of making mobile bills fairer and easier to understand.
New research – conducted by YouGov – has found that mobile phone users are in the dark when it comes to the cost of making calls to 0800 numbers from their mobile phone.
Three quarters of people surveyed have no idea how much their operator charges them for an 0800 call and 10% think these are free, as they would be from a landline. Research also highlights that calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers cost UK mobile consumers an estimated £600 million a year.
The research also found that 47% of mobile phone users have experienced bill shock, with almost a third (31%) of these users saying this was caused by out of bundle expensive calls such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.
From today, customers who sign up to Three’s new plans can call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers for free, while all other 08 numbers, like 084 and 087, will cost 5p per minute. These charges typically range from 14p to 40p. Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date.
Dave Dyson, Chief Executive at Three, said: “We asked people what frustrated them most about their mobile bills and confusion around the cost of calling 08 numbers came out top by a big margin. These charges are often buried in the small print and they’re expensive enough to make most customers fear calling them from their mobiles.
“We believe in making mobile simpler and better value – the cost of calling 08 numbers is something we want to address for our customers.
“UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances. That’s why we’ve made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA. It’s why we’ve launched 4G at no extra cost and why we’ve committed not to raise our monthly recurring charges during the minimum period of a contract. ”
Under the new plans, customers will also be able to set limits to stop them going over their minutes allowance and limit spending on expensive numbers.
They will also receive text alerts to help them understand when they are close to using up their voice and data allowances.
To celebrate that 0800 numbers are now free, Three is launching a selection of fun and pointless 0800 numbers on 17 March for people to call and enjoy, including a Singing Dictionary line, a compliments line and a 24 hours lullaby line.