back to article BT puts the 'free' back into 'freephone'

BT Mobile customers are to get free calls to 0800 numbers, just like fixed-line users, but in stark contrast to other operators' customers who are paying up to 25 pence a minute. From this morning there is no charge for BT Mobile customers calling freephone numbers, so they can spend hours calling support to find out what …


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  1. Steve

    Free 0800 calls are nothing new...

    I thought that some of the mobile operators who used to not charge for 0800 numbers, started to charge a number of years back because people were abusing the system by calling companies on 0800 numbers, who would in turn forward the call to any other number for less that the mobile phone operator.

    The operators did try blacklisting specific 0800 numbers, but it then became a game of cat-and-mouse with the cheap(er) call companies constantly changing numbers, so the mobile operators effectively threw the baby out with the bathwater and started charging for all 0800s - quite good for their revenues too.

    I wonder if this will start happening again an if so, how BT plan to tackle it?

  2. Steve Taylor
    Paris Hilton


    If as you say "the vast majority have no idea how much it costs" then how does it follow that "dropping the charge will be popular with users"?

    Paris, as she might understand this strange logic.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know the history...

    The original concept of 0800 freephone numbers was that the caller didn't pay. It is therefore very silly that now for mobile users 0800 calls typically cost *far more* than straightforward geographical numbers (which are often in included-minutes anyway). After all, many people -myself included- no-longer have a landline.

    While we wait for other operators to catch up, continues to provide a helpful service and sometimes lists geographic (cheaper) alternatives to 0800 "freefone" numbers.

  4. Chris Griffin

    inclusive minutes

    It doesn't bother me so much that I pay for 0800s from my mobile - I accept that mobile connections are more expensive. I just want them to come out of my minutes package!

    Surely it must be cheaper of vodafone et al to connect a 0800 call than a mobile call?? So why is the latter included and not the former?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's BT ....

    Where's the catch?

    Will you have to listen to a 'message from our sponsors' first?

  6. Jedi Name Germinator

    In the UK we pay for all phone calls.... way or another.


    When I lived in the UK a person phoning your mobile payed for the call - Not sharing the charge with the receiver of the call as what happens here in Canada.

    Or have things changed?

  7. Simon Preston


    I do hope the rest of the operators follow this.

    As for the first post. Surely people get so many free minutes these days that it is not worth the effort going to people that provide cheaper calls.

  8. Richard Neill

    Free anytime minutes

    The stupid thing here is that I have more inclusive minutes than I can ever use, and they include cross-network mobile calls and daytime calls to landlines. So I should be able to use these free minutes for the 0800/0845 calls. But I can't. It's really annoying!

    Can't Ofcom fix this? Or could the kind businesses who provide 0800 numbers please give us a regular (charged) landline number so that I can call them for free...

    [There must be a business opportunity here on the margin]

  9. Thomas Bottrill

    I'd be happy

    If my operator at least included non-geographic numbers (0800, 0845, 0870) in my allowance, rather than charging me extra for them.

  10. zonky

    So you just call an 0800 phone dial service

    and not place any actual calls through the mobile?

  11. Daniel B.

    Re: In the UK we pay for all phone calls....

    "When I lived in the UK a person phoning your mobile paid for the call - Not sharing the charge with the receiver of the call as what happens here in Canada."

    Um... I think that's the whole point, isn't it? Any calls other than 0800 are paid by caller. Nobody should pay for *incoming* calls, except 0800 / 1800 / 01800 toll-free numbers.

  12. Lionel Baden


    Bt have also dropped the chargesa for 0845 numbers

    So i have to admit they really are trying to please the customer atm

  13. Ken Knowles

    Paying for local calls

    I haven't paid for a local call for years, which part of the UK do you live in?BT has provided inclusive calls for a long time now along with companies such as 1899 ect. Also there is no such thing realistically as a local call, all calls are charged at the same rate on the basic packages

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The catch

    The catch is that 0800 number operators always get the caller's phone number (CLID), even when that person with holds their number. This means that if you call an 0800 number from your mobile, no matter what you are opening your phone up to spam texts, etc.. Bear in mind that 0800 numbers are usually for sales lines, so just think of the kind of people you are giving this data to.

    And Richard Neill: You are an idiot. They are not free minutes at all, you pay for them through your subscription. By using their marketing term you are just helping to propagate the myth that anything from a business is free! This does not need regulating as you suggest, either your naivety needs to be or the mobile companies need to be forced to stop selling "free" minutes, "free" texts and "free" phones.

    But comms is one of the biggest money spinners for the advertising world in the UK currently, hence why "free" stuff in exchange for money and unlimited broadband services with limits are not clamped down on by the ad-industry funded ASA.

  15. A J Stiles

    @ Jedi Name Germinator

    In the UK, with mobiles, you pay up-front for the calls you are going to make on an as-and-when basis, as opposed to receiving regular bills for calls you have made. Depending on who your network operator is, you can buy various packages of talk time, text messages and internet use. You get unceremoniously disconnected when that runs out (but it's still not as bad as receiving a thwacking great bill). And the person who places the call, pays for the call.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The catch?

    I Wonder if they will do a Phorm Webwise equivalent. Something like, listen to all the conversations, make notes and divert your calls to other businesses. I wouldn't put it past them.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ummm 2 words

    "contract phones"

    where you can get a thumping great bill, or have you only ever been offered PAYG?

    on a side note 3 have lost my business by lying about my ability to change plans by implementing a set of daft byzantine rules which bar me from moving price plans as "they are all in groups and all the others in your group apart from the 45 quid plus ones were discontinued about a month after your plan was signed" <- big surprise there from the company who has zero support staff in Europe.

    So a few words for 3 "take your renewal and shove it where the sun doesnt shine, I'm off elsewhere, probably O2"

  18. Anonymous Coward

    BT later announces

    that the use of 0800 numbers is going to diminish very rapidly and, of course, will be replaced by 0870 or 0845 numbers which are now free on appropriate BT landlines.

    Meanwhile charges on mobile phones accessing 0870 or 0845 numbers will go through the roof.

  19. Andrew Woodvine

    @ Chris Griffin

    Yes it is cheaper for a mobile company to connect a 0800 call than it is to pay the termination fee for connecting a call to another mobile network.

    Mobile companies don't want 0800 (o 0870 for that matter) to come out of your inclusive minutes as people use them as call-though numbers for getting cheap international calls - mobile networks would sooner you dial directly so you pay their much higher rate. By making 0800 calls chargeable regardless then at least they are still making some money if you use a call-though service.

    Of course, there's always a way around these things. You can call a standard geographical number, +44 23 8003 0800 and then enter the 0800 number when your call is answered so that the call is deducted from your inclusive minutes.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Telephone RIP OFF!

    It costs more to call a 'freephone' number than it costs me to call a geographical number! ( which comes out of deal minutes)

    Whats more the recipient company pays for the call when its 0800 but not if its geograpical.

    Companies should just give up with free, locall, and other numbers and make a geographical number available.

  21. David Cornes

    I'll repeat that:

    Can't big them up enough! They've saved me a small fortune over the past year or two!

    One more time: :-D

  22. Robert M Jones

    BT still confused over their 0845 0870 offer?

    Let's hope there is better communication between BT and its customers over this offer, than over the recent and welcome offer to include 0845 and 0870 calls within BT call packages. I'm still not sure whether the offer on 0845/0870 calls extends to BTBroadbandTalk call packages, as I have been given conflicting information by different departments, and sometimes even different forum moderators on the same BT Beta forum

    don't seem to be able to agree. One lot of BT staff insist the 0845/0870 offer started for both landline and BTBBTalk VOIP packages, on 16th February, and the other lot insist that BTBBTAlk customers won't benefit till April 1st.

    But grumping aside - the offers are welcome, as long as they are not cancelled out by the less publicised simultaneous price rises.

  23. Jon

    Re: Re: The catch

    @AC I think what Richard Neill meant by "free minutes" is "minutes I have already payed for and usually go to waste at the end of the month as I do not use them all" or "inclusive minutes". I think most people know these are not free and companies usually do just call them inclusive.

  24. Andy Livingstone


    Not all BT landline customers enjoy free 0845 or 0870 calls.

    They are masters at Headline news while hiding true charges.

    Would never use a BT mobile and certainly never make calls through BT landlines.

    Last time I asked the BT Indians a question they suggested I talk to my neighbours. When I asked how come my nighbours might know more about BT billing than BT did......they disconnected.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Now if only...

    .... they could remove the "wank" from their broadband service.

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