Cheap alternatives to 0870 and 0845 calls Premium rate and other call costs

A man making a mobile phone call

Most mobile contracts offer some inclusive phone calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers

The table below summarises UK call charges for the most commonly called types of phone number. 

It shows how much you're likely to pay to call different phone numbers, and whether they may be included in any call package you have with your phone company. 

If you think you're paying too much with your current phone company, see our reviews of the best home phone deals and mobile phone networks.  

UK Calling

On 1 July 2015, Ofcom introduced a new scheme called UK Calling, which aims to make it easier to work out the cost of calling numbers starting with 084, 087, 09 and 118. 

Under this scheme, the charges for these numbers are now split into an ‘access charge’ and a ‘service charge’.

  • The access charge is set by the phone company and must be made clear on phone bills and when taking out a contract. The same access charge will be applied to 084, 087, 09 and 118 calls. 
  • The service charge is set by the organisation you’re calling. This must be made clear wherever its service is advertised.  

Phone numbers starting with 084, 087, 09 and 118 are known as ‘revenue sharing’ numbers because the organisation being called may receive part of the service charge that was paid by the caller.

Calls to 0800 and 0808 made free from mobiles

As part of the changes, Ofcom also made numbers starting with 0800 or 0808 free to call from all mobile phones. Before 1 July 2015, they were free from landlines but not all mobiles. 

Typical call costs 

The cost of calls can vary dramatically depending on whether you're calling from a mobile or landline, your phone company, and the type of number you're calling. 

The table below details how much you can expect to pay to make a phone call, based on its dialling code. The typical costs listed are based on our analysis of five leading mobile phone companies and five home phone companies in February 2016. You pay more or less depending on your phone provider.  

Call costs
Dialling codeUsed forIncluded in call packages for landlines?Included in call packages for mobiles?Typical costs from landlinesTypical costs from mobiles
01/02/03Local and national calls (such as calling your neighbour's house or a relative in another part of the country).YesYesMost landline phone contracts offer inclusive weekend phone calls to 01, 02 and 03 phone numbers as standard. Calls made to these numbers outside of inclusive call packages typically cost between 10p and 12p per min, plus a connection charge between 3p and 18p.Most mobile providers offer deals with inclusive calls either on a contract or on pay-as-you-go. If there is no inclusive allowance, or it has been used up, calls can cost anywhere from 3p to 40p per minute depending on your network. 
05000500 is a 'freephone' number that is free to call from landlines at all times, but not always from mobiles.FreeSometimesAlways free.Typically 7p to 40p per min, depending on your network.
07An 07 number followed by any digit (except '0') is usually a mobile phone number.SometimesYesMost companies charge between 11p per min and 20p per min for calls to mobiles, plus a connection charge between 3p and 18p.  Most mobile providers offer deals with inclusive calls either on a contract or on pay-as-you-go. If there is no inclusive allowance, or it has been used up, calls can cost anywhere from 3p to 40p per minute depending on your network.
070An 07 number followed by an '0' is not a mobile number. Also known as 'personal' or 'follow me' numbering, 070 can be set up to divert calls from one phone number to another, so that the person being called can keep their own number private, and remain contactable wherever they go.NoNoBetween 4p and 65p per minute, depending on your provider. You'll also pay a one-off call charge of up to 50p.  Anything from 30p up to £2.50 per min. They are easy to mistake for mobile phone numbers, so may be used to try to con you into calling a profit-making number that will cost you a lot. If you receive a missed call on your mobile from an 070 number, don't call back.
0800/0808Dubbed 'freephone', these are always free to call.FreeFreeAlways free.Always free.
0843/0844Non-geographic, revenue-sharing numbers.NoNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 084 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 7p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.Most mobile providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 084 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 7p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.
0845Non-geographic numbers that can be used for revenue sharing. Some, but not all, landline providers include 0845 calls in call packages.SometimesNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 084 calls outside of inclusive minutes. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 7p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.Most mobile providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 084 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 7p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.
0870Non-geographic numbers that can be used for revenue sharing. Some landline providers include 0870 calls in call packages, but others don't.SometimesNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 087 calls outside of inclusive minutes. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 13p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.Most mobile providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 087 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 13p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.
0871/0872Non-geographic, revenue-sharing numbers.NoNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 087 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 13p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.Most mobile providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 087 calls. You'll also pay a service charge of up to 13p per minute, depending on the company you're calling.
09Premium rate numbers. They are often used for TV phone-in quizzes.NoNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 09 calls, but the service charges vary dramatically depending on the service you're calling. Callers should be prepared to pay up to £3.60 per minute, plus a one-off call charge of up to £6.Most mobile phone providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 09 calls, but the service charges vary dramatically depending on the service you're calling. Callers should be prepared to pay up to £3.60 per minute, plus a one-off call charge of up to £6.
118Directory enquiries numbers. These are a type of premium rate number and can be very expensive to call.NoNoMost landline providers set an access charge between 7p and 12p per min for 118 calls, but the service charges vary dramatically depending on the service you're calling. Callers should be prepared to pay up to £5 per minute, plus a one-off call charge of up to £4.  Most mobile phone providers set an access charge between 25p and 45p per min for 118 calls, but the service charges vary dramatically depending on the service you're calling. Callers should be prepared to pay up to £5 per minute, plus a one-off call charge of up to £4.

Phone charges jargon buster

Inclusive call minutes

Mobile and home phone packages often include a certain number of inclusive or 'free' calls to 01, 02 and the newer 03 phone numbers. Most home phone companies – such as BT or Virgin Media – offer inclusive weekend calls to these numbers as standard. 

Inclusive mobile and landline minutes often exclude revenue-sharing numbers, such as 0845 and 0870 (with a few exceptions). They always exclude premium rate 09 phone numbers. 

Find out which companies have the best deals on inclusive minutes in the latest Which? survey of home phone services.

Geographic phone numbers

A geographic phone number, such as 0161 for Manchester, tells you which part of the country you're calling. Geographic numbers always start with 01 or 02.

Non-geographic phone numbers

These phone numbers include all those starting with 03, 08 and 09. Non-geographic phone numbers won't tell you where in the country you're calling. Large organisations like to use them because they can use one phone number for all customer communications, which won't have to change if they move office location.

Phone call connection fee

As well as the per-minute cost of your phone call, you may have to add a call connection fee for every non-inclusive call. The fee doesn't apply with inclusive calls.

Revenue-sharing phone numbers

Organisations can share the profit they make from your call to 0844, 0845, 0870 and 0871 numbers with the home phone or mobile network provider. The charges for these numbers are now split into an ‘access charge’ set by the phone provider and a ‘service charge’ set by the organisation. 

Costly Calls campaign

Which? believes you shouldn't have to pay a premium to make a complaint about a company. That's why we launched our Costly Calls campaign in September 2013. 

Since then, the government has ordered a host of companies, including all airlines, train operators, travel companies and retailers to ensure that customers pay no more than the basic rate to access customer service phone lines.

The Cabinet Office also issued guidance requiring government departments to use geographic numbers for key public services, particularly those for vulnerable people.

Financial companies, such as banks or insurers, were also officially covered by these rules from 26 October 2015.

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Last updated:

February 2016

Updated by:

Joe Elvin

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.