OFCOM - the communications industries’ UK regulator - has outlined proposals where the goal is to quell consumer confusion about the cost of calling businesses and public services on 08, 09 and 118 numbers.
Proposals are set to provide simpler numbering for non-geographic calls and will include free calls from both telephone and mobile for 080 and 116 numbers. OFCOM has also laid out plans for 08, 09 and 118 numbers to have a new standardised structure giving a clear representation of charges being applied by phone companies.
Consumer confusion stems from the fact that all calls made from 0800 numbers are free when calling from a landline only and not mobile phones according to research conducted by the communication regulator. Yet the numbers are still referred to as freephone numbers.
The research has also uncovered how some consumers treat non-geographic numbers with an increasing lack of trust. Some are less likely to call the numbers because they’re not completely sure what they are used for and who can use them.
Should OFCOM’s plans to make 0800 numbers free for all reach fruition, it will provide call monetisation companies with a great platform to bring consumers from the mobile web to a company's sales team.
Freespee’s Commercial Manager, Chris Shields, is under no illusion about the revenue potential in OFCOM's proposals. "Freespee statistics show that if you as an advertiser have a geographic or toll free number, the volume of calls made to your business increases by 51% compared to those using premium rate numbers,” he said. “Program conversions will increase dramatically when the customer has no hesitation to pick up the phone!”