Three has become the first UK mobile operator (excluding MVNO’s) to offer free calls to 0800 numbers to its contract customers.
The news comes three months after Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards (pictured below-right) announced in December that all UK operators must cut the costs for so called free phone numbers (which are free on a fixed line)  within the next 18 months.
From today (March 18) customers signing to a Three contract will not pay for 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls, and be charged five pence per minute for calls to 084 and 087 numbers. Existing Three customers can switch to the new plan without charge or extension on their current contract. The operator said in a statement today (March 18) it took the decision to cut the fee based on research conducted by YouGov, which questioned 2018 adults online between February 12 and February 13.
Research also highlights that calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers cost UK mobile consumers an estimated ?600 million a year. The free calls to 0800 numbers, as well as the 5p per minute charge for calls to other 084 and 087 numbers, are illustrated in the table for Three’s new tariffs (click right to view in full). Three CEO Dave Dyson 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. He continued: “UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances.
MVNO Virgin Mobile already offers free calls to 0800, 0845, 0870 and 0808 as part of its ?22 per month VIP tariff.
So basically, your already contracted loyal customers are dirt to squeeze more money out of for the time being. Not only no free 0800 numbers for existing customers but also if on the one plan when you renew your contract tethering will be capped at 2gb.

I’m an existing 3 customer on the one plan, I contacted 3 to move to a new tariff containing these call charges and was informed, yes I could do it but for a charge of ?3 per month, this is ?72 for the duration of a two year contract. Liquid11, Sea Lake Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 3LQ, Company number: 04404380 Regulated by Ofcom.
This has prompted many businesses and organisations to move from 08 numbers to cheaper 03 numbers.Ofcom said that UK consumers spent a total of ?900m a year on 250 million calls to 084, 087, 09, or 118 service lines. The total cost of a call to a service number consists of the access charge, plus the service charge (up to 13p per minute).
The World Trade Organisation's former director-general tells the BBC that the UK economy risks a "huge blow" if it votes to leave the EU on 23 June.
IT for Donuts is our regular weekly feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.
This week, have you ever been stung by calling a ‘freephone’ number from your mobile phone? Actually, calls placed via this method will come out of the call allowance included with your mobile phone contract. To call an 0800, 0808 or 0500 number from your mobile without getting hit with a nasty surprise on your next bill, visit the 0800 Buster website.
Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling an 01 or 02 number, and must come out of any inclusive calls allowance. As of 1 July 2015 calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from mobiles as well as from landlines. Most mobile providers still charge for calls to 0500 numbers, anything up to 45p per minute.

Standard charges on mobile typically range from between 14 pence per minute to 40 pence per minute. Although these tariffs replace the operator’s existing plans, existing customers will not automatically be moved over to them and will continue as they are. These charges are often buried in the small print and they’re expensive enough to make most customers fear calling them from their mobiles.
That’s why we’ve made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA. When they call 0800 numbers which costs you ZERO in termination rates, they’ll continue to pay the charge up until government forces you to stop by legislation. Although free to call from landlines, mobile phone companies often charge to call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers. When you use this method to call freephone numbers, it’s not quite accurate to say that they’re free. So although most pay-monthly mobile phone users can benefit from following these instructions, proceed with caution if you’re on a pay-as-you-go deal. 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. It’s disgusting enough that we have already had to pay for these calls for several years, but for H3G to milk their loyal customers til the very last minute makes me sick!

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