Ofcom tackling free UK numbers, releases videos to help avoid massive bills

Good news for those who reside in the UK. Telecoms regulator Ofcom is looking to finally tackle the confusion over dialling 0845 and similar dialling codes used by many businesses from mobile phones. Not only that but the organisation has also released a number of videos to help avoid accumulating a huge bill from apps and stores.

The former will be warmly welcomed by consumers. This could help remove those expensive charges for customer service, directory inquiries and other freephone numbers. Changes to the rules are on the table around call charges to numbers starting 08, 09 and 118. Said numbers are for shops, banks, utility companies, directory inquiries, public bodies and more.

The charges in question are often expensive. We're talking as much as 10p per minute from a landline, or an astonishing 40p per minute from a mobile phone. Ofcom aims to make it more transparent just how much consumers have to pay to ring such numbers, as well as making 0800 numbers free for mobiles. For the time being, the cost can vary enormously depending on the mobile operator.

Ofcom wants to standardise and simplify the pricing. Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, said the following:

"Consumers need to have far more transparency about the price they are going to pay for calls so that they can make more informed choices and so competition can work more effectively. Making 0800 free from a mobile and giving people clarity about what they are paying for 118 directory enquiry services will improve transparency, improve competition and enhance trust in these important services."

Ofcom's consultation closes on May 28th this year. The regulator will allow mobile operators 18 months to implement any changes to call charging after the conclusion of the review is published.


Tackling those big bills

Have kids that own Windows Phones and enjoy using apps, or do you wish to try and keep that bill down each month? Ofcom has published an array of videos for multiple mobile platforms, including Windows Phone.

The Guardian also reports that the Office of Fair Trading will be looking into apps and games on smartphones, which have led to parents enduring massive bills from kids performing in-app purchasing. Luckily, Windows Phone sports Kid's Corner, a unique feature of the platform that enables parents to lock down exactly what kids have access to. Be sure to add a Wallet PIN too.

Have you experienced an expensive bill on Windows Phone?

Source: The Guardian, Ofcom

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.