Calls to 0800 and 0500 numbers which currently cost 10p per minute from BT Mobile phones will be free from 1 May 2009, the company has announced.
On other mobile networks including O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Vodafone and Virgin, callers are charged up to 25p a minute for calling ‘freephone’ numbers which were set up to allow consumers to call helplines without incurring a charge.
BT is currently the only UK mobile phone operator to offer free 0800 calls, although rivals One2One (now T-Mobile) and Orange did offer this service in the 1990s.
BT’s latest announcement follows its recent change for the 14 million BT landline customers whereby 0870 and 0845 numbers are included in call packages. In February 2008, the company also changed all its helpline numbers to the 0800 prefix.
New customers cannot get BT Mobile as a standalone service, however it is available as bundled deal on BT’s Broadband Anywhere package. This bundle includes the BT ToGo mobile handset and access to the internet via BT hotspots and BT’s Fon network.
Cheaper mobile calls
Al Warman, Which? researcher, said: ‘BT Mobile users will definitely benefit from true ‘freephone’ calls. Calls to the widespread 0870 and 0845 numbers, however, will still be chargeable from a BT mobile, so use www.saynoto0870.com to find a cheaper alternative.
‘It will also be interesting to see whether other mobile operators follow their lead, or continue to profit from consumers who are often unaware of the costs that their 0800 calls incur. Plus don’t forget that 0800 calls are free from BT payphones, although perhaps less convenient than using your mobile.’
Which? has reviews of all the latest mobile phones, plus a mobile network satisfaction survey so you can find the best handset and operator for you.
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