1850 and 1890 Numbers to be Included in Bundles

At long last, it looks like Comreg is eventually doing something about the charges for calling 1890, 1850, 0818 and 076 numbers.

(These numbers are known as Non-Geographic Numbers or NGNs).

Proposals and consultations have been ongoing since late 2018 – but now there is an implementation date.

ComReg is planning to

  1. Make providers charge the same for all   ‘1850’, ‘1890’, ‘0818’, and ‘076’ numbers  and
  2. Also, make phone companies include all these numbers in any bundles of landline call minutes. No separate charge will apply for any NGN call (unless you have used up your bundle of call minutes.

Summary of the Proposed Changes

1. From 1st December 2019, they will introduce a new ‘Geo-Linked’ retail tariff condition for 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076 NGNs.
Calls to these NGNs will be no more than the cost of calling a Geographic number. Also – IF calls to Geographic Numbers are included in a user’s bundle of ‘call minutes’ then calls to these NGNs will also be included in their bundle.

2. To reduce the number of NGN ranges from five (1800, 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076) to two (1800 and 0818)  by the end of 2021. With 1800 being free to call.

These numbers  (‘1850’, ‘1890’, ‘0818’, and ‘076) are classed as “Non-Geographic Numbers” (NGNs).  They were originally introduced when all we had was Eircom landlines. These numbers were used in order to try and reduce call costs for people outside Dublin contacting places such as government departments in Dublin.

The issue is – that many people now have telephone plans or bundles with inclusive call minutes – but the vast majority of phone providers do not include these NGN calls in the bundles.
This can result in consumers, who think they have paid for unlimited calls, getting unexpected extra call charges when they ring these “lo-call” numbers.
When the NGNs are used for busy call centres such as Revenue, Water Charges, NCT or Property Tax – the call costs can soon mount up while you are connected and wait to speak to someone.

There is also confusion about exactly how much the charges are for calling these Non-Geographic Numbers – with some people thinking they are free and many others think they are expensive. In a recent survey about 1850 and 1890 numbers, 41% of respondents stated that they believed that organisations can make money from customers dialling those numbers. (They don’t).

We have written previously about the potential high charges for calls to numbers with these prefixes : –

Cost of calls to 1890 numbers

Call costs for 0818 numbers

Charges for calls to 1850 numbers

How much to Call 076 Numbers

ComReg is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of the electronic communications sector in Ireland (telecommunications, radio communications, broadcasting transmission and premium rate services) and the postal sector.