Freephone 0800 numbers are free to call from mobile and landline phones. They allow number owners to take on all of the costs associated with phone calls made to their numbers. While having an 0800 number doesn’t make much sense for most private citizens, unless of course you avail of a free 0800 number trial offer, companies and businesses often find them useful for encouraging calls from customers or clients. According to some estimates, 65% of respondents in the UK said that they were more likely to call a Freephone number than a number with a normal regional dialling code. For companies with services such as customer service hotlines or phone-based ordering services, Freephone 0800 numbers are a recognizable and efficient way of ensuring that everyone who wishes to reach them over the phone is able to.
Before 1999, the official Freephone number in the UK was 0500. After 2000, most 05 range numbers were assigned to Voice over IP services and corporations. Ofcom decided in 2013 to discontinue 05 range Freephone services in June 2017, agreeing to provide those who want to migrate to a currently-existing Freephone number with a number in the 0808 5 range. (Besides 0800, 0808 is the other major 08-range Freephone number.) This decision was partly to bring the UK in line with international standards: 0800 (800 in the United States) is the Universal International Freephone Service number, decided upon by the International Telecommunication Union.
Costs vary from provider to provider. 0800 numbers are often more expensive than the rates people pay for competing types of business numbers, such as business-rate numbers regulated by Phone-paid Services Authority.
In addition, it is often more expensive to provide a Freephone 0800 number that is free for everyone in the world to call than to provide one that is free just for numbers coming from the UK.
Some Freephone plans offer a flat monthly fee and a smaller per-minute fee, while others offer a smaller or non-existent monthly fee in exchange for a higher per-minute fee. Many plans in this latter group include a monthly minimum charge: for example, though you may not pay a separate monthly fee, your contract may require you to receive at least £100 worth of per-minute charges per month, or pay the difference. Another variable some plans take into account is where the caller is calling from in relation to the location of the 0800 number. Prices can start as low as £7.97 a month, plus a few pence per-minute fee. The lowest-price plans without a separate fee require a minimum of about £25 of per-minute charges per month.
Many plans also require an initial fee for purchasing the number and setting it up. This can cost as little as £4.95.
There are a number of ways of integrating Freephone 0800 numbers into pre-existing phone configurations. Many purchasers of 0800 numbers simply forward calls coming into their 0800 number to pre-existing phone numbers. Others take the opportunity to set up entirely new systems. Many Freephone 0800 number providers offer services for people interested in re-configuring their workplaces’ phone systems, including new answering machine services, welcome messages, automatic systems for forwarding customers to different departments, hold services, fax-to-mail services, and more.