If your organisation uses a ‘non-geographic’ service number for people to contact you – that’s one beginning 08, 09 or 118 – you need to be aware of major changes to how these numbers are charged.

Research has found that telephone users are confused about how much it costs to call service numbers. This means people can lack confidence in these numbers, and sometimes avoid using them.

The new system will introduce greater confidence into this important market by enabling organisations to say how much calls to them will cost. The changes will be implemented on 1 July 2015 under the strapline ‘UK Calling’. The communications regulator Ofcom is working with major phone companies to communicate the changes to consumers.

In future, the cost to the consumer of calling a service number (starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) will be made up of two clear parts:

An access charge. This goes to the caller’s telephone company, charged as pence per minute.
A service charge. This is the remainder; it includes any revenue going to the service provider (that is you, the party being called), as well as revenue going to the ‘terminating call provider’ (or TCP: the company that provides the number to you).

In another change happening at the same time, all Freephone numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 are being made free for consumers to call from mobile phones, just as they usually are from landlines.