UK Calling FAQ

Changes to Non Geographic Numbers

What you need to know

Ofcom's  UK Calling campaign aims to make certain call charges much clearer, so that you know exactly how much you're paying. You probably use service numbers - numbers which start 08, 09 or 118 -  to make phone calls to banks, government departments, directory enquiries or even to vote in TV quizzes or shows. However, not everyone is aware of the cost of calling these service numbers. The good news is as of 1 July 2015, Ofcom changed the way these numbers are charged, to make the cost of calls clearer.

What changed and why? 

Two major changes happened on 1 July 2015 affecting 0800, 0808 and 116 (Freephone) numbers and 084, 087, 09 and 118 (service) numbers.

Ofcom made these changes because research has found that the general public don't know how much calls to these numbers cost. This lack of certainty means some people avoid using them all together or receive a nasty shock when they receive their phone bill. 

0800, 0808 and 116 numbers

The first change is that all calls to 0800, 0808 and 116 numbers will be free to call from a mobile, which is great news for everyone. Currently, most mobile operators still charge for calls to 0800 numbers. 

084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers

The information you used to see about the cost of calling 08, 09 and 118 numbers usually looked something like this:

Calls will cost 10p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.

If your phone line is not with BT, it's hard to know how much the call will cost. This is what the changes address. 

From 1 July 2015 the cost of calling 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers has been made up of two clear parts:

  • An access charge - This is what we will charge you per minute for making the call, and will be the same charge for all service numbers. Our access charge for calls made from a landline will be 7.2p per minute inc VAT. Calls from one of our mobiles will have an access charge of 21p per minute inc VAT. 
  • A service charge. This is the rest of the call charge, which will vary depending on the organisation you're calling. The Phone Co-op will bill you for this and collect the service charge.

The organisation you are calling must let you know how much the service charge is. These numbers must be advertised in a clearer way, stating the service charge e.g.

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

By adding together the Service Charge and The Phone Co-op's Access Charge, you will know exactly how much it will cost to call the advertised number. 

Do the changes apply from mobiles and landlines? 

The changes apply to calls made from mobiles and landlines and across the whole of the UK except for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Our access charge for calls made from a landline will be 7.2p per minute inc VAT. Calls from one of our mobiles will have an access charge of 21p per minute inc VAT.

Are text messages included? 

No, the changes do not affect the cost of sending text messages.

Which numbers are affected? 

The cost of calling service numbers starting 084, 087, 09, and 118 will be made clearer. Meanwhile, Freephone numbers beginning 0800, 0808 or 116 will be made free to call from mobiles.

Calls to other numbers beginning 00, 01, 02, 03, 05 or 07 are not affected.

Will my package change?

If you have a calls package that includes 0845 and 0870 numbers, they will no longer be included from 1 July and you will need to pay the access charge and the service charge when calling these service numbers.

The access charge for non-inclusive calls to service numbers made from your Phone Co-op landline will be 7.2p per minute inc VAT (cheaper than Sky or Plusnet) and 21p per minute inc VAT from your Phone Co-op mobile (cheaper than the big networks).

What's changed on my bill?

From this month, you will now see the access charge and service charge for any calls you have made to service numbers printed on your bill. The access charge is printed on the back of your bill under 'Useful Information' and the service charge is displayed in the itemisation. The cost of the call shown is the total cost and includes both the access charge and service charge for that call excluding VAT.

Changes on the bill 



Will 0500 Freephone numbers become free to call from mobiles as well? 

0500 numbers are not part of these changes and calls from mobiles to these numbers may still be charged for. Ofcom has decided that the 0500 number range will be withdrawn from use in 2017.

How can I find out what a company's service charge will be? 

The new system came into effect on 1 July 2015, companies and organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers are required to communicate the charges clearly.

Wherever they advertise or promote one of these services, they must ensure that the service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number.

To see what the service charge element looks like, just follow the link below and enter the first seven digits of the phone number, including the leading zero (eg: 0843400).


Need help?

Call us on 01608 434 000 for assistance, or send us an e-mail and we'll call you.