Industry regulator Ofcom says that consumer confidence has been threatened by confusion about the prices and services associated with certain numbers, including services beginning with 08 numbers. Consumer confidence has also been threatened by the misuse by some communications providers (‘CPs’) of certain types of numbers, such as numbers beginning with ‘070’, which tends to bring all services offered on such numbers into disrepute.
As a result Ofcom will create a new range of numbers – beginning with ‘03’ – which they think many customers will trust to a significant degree. Consumers will pay no more to call 03 numbers than they would to call a geographic number (beginning with ‘01’ or ‘02’).
“We think that many businesses, public services and voluntary services will want to enable their customers to call them on 03 numbers rather than 08 numbers; and increased consumer protection from abuses on some existing 070 PN services. For these numbers – which are often confused with mobile numbers Ofcom requires that from 1 September 2007 callers get a free announcement about call costs, before the call begins, for any call costing over 20p (per minute or per call).”