In a move that shocked the UK Virtual Numbers industry, Numbergroup Network Ltd recently removed all subscription costs from their UK 0800 Numbers.
With other virtual phone numbering providers, such as BT, charging as much as £10.00 per month to buy an 0800 number, Numbergroup’s decision to offer Freephone numbers at zero cost is expected to shake up the industry.
Expect other 0800 Number providers to follow suit in the coming months. With a price war on the cards, this can only be good news for businesses looking to acquire 0800 or other UK virtual numbers.
What are 0800 numbers & when were they introduced?
Numbers starting with 0800 are called Freephone numbers and were introduced into the UK in 1985. They were called “Freephone” because they were free to call from landline numbers.
When first introduced, the prefix 0800 was followed by a number of six digits starting with a “0”.
The freephone capacity of 0800 numbers was increased by businesses in the 1990s as competition arose. They became very popular, which prompted a shortage of numbers. In reaction to this, more 0800 numbers were introduced and lengthened to have seven digits after the 0800 beginning.
During the 1990s, 0800 numbers were made available to companies other than BT.
Confusion behind 0800 number call costs
Soon after being introduced, some of the features of freephone 0800 numbers caused confusion among consumers. For instance, many people assumed that calls to 0800 numbers were included in their mobile call packages. It transpired that most mobile phone networks charged users for calls to these “freephone” numbers.
This prompted Ofcom to introduce new “UK Calling” legislation in 2015 as a means to make the cost of calling certain numbers more transparent to consumers. So, since 1 July 2015, numbers that start with 0800 have been free to call from both landlines and mobiles, and the business who owns the 0800 number bears the cost.
What are the benefits of owning an 0800 number?
Numerous studies have shown that 0800 numbers are effective marketing tools for businesses as they are trusted and recognised by consumers.
0800 numbers are also portable, which means companies can take the number with them if they move telephone companies. This is becoming more common now with the prevalence of cloud telephony and business phone systems such as Virtual PBX.