At long last it looks like Comreg might eventually do something about the charges for calling 1890 , 1850 , 0818 and 076 numbers .
They are planning to firstly make providers charge the same for all ‘1850’, ‘1890’, ‘0818’, and ‘076’ numbers and make phone companies include these numbers in any bundles of landline call minutes.
These numbers are classed as “Non Geographic Numbers” (NGNs). They were originally introduced when all we had was Eircom landlines in order to try and reduce call costs for people contacting places such as government departments .
The issue is – that many people 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 numbers are used for busy call centres such as 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 confusion about exactly how much the charges are for calling these Non Geographic Numbers – with some people thinking they are free and many others thinking 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
The proposals from Comreg – published in August 2017 – were as follows :
- To keep ‘1800’ numbers as Freephone numbers (i.e. free to call from landline and mobile)
- Simplify the other charges by setting the same tariff for all ‘1850’, ‘1890’, ‘0818’, and ‘076’ numbers . This would mean that a call to any of those four classes of “NGN” would cost the same as an equivalent call to a “Geographic Number” .
- Where geographic calls are provided “in bundle”, phone companies must also include NGNs in the same bundle of call minutes.
- To eventually do away with 1850 , 1890 and 076 prefixes and just use 0818 .
It makes sense – the only question might be why didn’t they do this sooner?
The proposals were subject to a public consultation – and that ended in October 2017. This week (July 11th 2018) the results of the consultation were published. Most of the Telecoms companies were not too happy with the proposed changes – but Ofcom are still planning to go ahead with them.
It is hoped that the changes to the tariffs for 1850 , 1890 0818 and 076 numbers will be implemented by the end of 2019 .
It is then hoped that the removal of 1850 , 1890, and 076 numbers and replacement with 0818 will be implemnted by the end of 2021.