New mobile phone number directory, 118 800, has stated that rumours that all mobile numbers in the UK are automatically opted into the system and that mobile owners will be hit by an onslaught of unsolicited calls are untrue.
Over the past week, viral emails have moved from friend to friend on the internet, warning people to opt out of the 118 800 directory to avoid being spammed.
However, in a statement issued to today in response to the viral email, 118 800 claimed: “We never give out anyone’s mobile number. Not even to their closest friend. If someone wants to get in touch, and we have your number, we contact your mobile and tell you who they are. If you reject the call, they don’t get through, and they don’t have your number. But if you’re happy to talk, they’ll get through and you can choose whether or not to share your number.”
118 800 added: “We promise we don’t have children listed, we never ever give out any mobile numbers. We connect people who want or need to talk on the move using a system painstakingly designed to protect privacy, and we never ever sell or rent out mobile numbers to sales organisations, charities or anyone else.”
The emails doing the rounds state: “Early next week all UK mobiles will be on a directory which will mean that anyone will be able to access the numbers. All numbers including those belonging to children will be open to cold calling. It is easy to unsubscribe but it must be done before the beginning of next week to make sure that you are ex-directory. You may want to suggest it to all your friends and family who have UK mobiles or they could be swamped by unsolicited messages and calls.”
The email also states that removal of mobile numbers from the directory is recommended by the BBC, according to a story on the BBC site about the launch that does not actually recommend anything, but that does fail to acknowledge how the service works until the very end of the article.
Raj Raithatha, CEO at 118 800, told Mobile Business in June at the launch of the service: “A directory service has to be modern, and in the twenty first century, the first thing you can see is missing from other directory services is mobile numbers. We provide both mobile and fixed line numbers; our intention is to connect users to mobile numbers, but if not, we provide fixed numbers also. This is an evolutionary service; we all know mobile is where it’s going.”
118 800 is currently based on a residential addresses, but this month a business directory search will be available to link callers with companies, associations and clubs. Companies can phone 118 800 or go online to list their mobile numbers and email addresses on the service.
Calls cost 69p connection and 14p per minute if the user is connected, plus standard mobile network costs. This compares to 79p connection and 29p per minute plus network charges for 118 118, which does not provide mobile numbers. Users connecting online are charged £1.