The use of an 076 phone number prefix in the Irish public service has become more widespread in the past two years . The 076 prefix was initially rolled out as part of a wider Irish Government initiative to try and reduce call costs for both public bodies and customers. It isn’t working.
This 076 prefix was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the “Lo Call” 1890 and 1850 numbers . The problem with 1890 and 1850 numbers is that the telecoms providers treat them as an out of bundle number.
It was hoped (assumed) that 076 numbers would be treated differently – but they aren’t.
Calls to 076 numbers are usually charged at the same rate as if you were calling a national landline number. So – you might expect that they would be included in providers landline “bundles” ……. but 076 Calls are Not Included in most provider’s Bundles
Charges for calling an 076 number
- Three – 35c per minute
- Vodafone Mobile – 35c a minute
- Sky Landline – 2.5c to 6.9c peak plus 9.7c connection fee.
- Virgin Media Landline – 4c per min plus a 16c connection fee.
- Eir (com) Landline – ranges from 3c to 9c per minute depending on time of day
Vodafone ,Three , Eir, Sky , Tesco ,Virgin or Eircom don’t include 076 numbers in their “free” inclusive calls. Some of them did include 076 numbers in bundles when they first started to be used – but it looks like they have all gradually excluded them from inclusive minutes.
The government’s reason for using 076 numbers was because they assumed, for some reason , that calls to 096 would be classed as “in bundle”. But the telecoms providers have their own rules – and there is currently no obligation on them to include 0761 or any o76 numbers in any call bundles.
It would make more sense if government departments just used normal geographic landline numbers . These would then be included in all providers inclusive minutes and would avoid any confusion and unexpected bills.
Several government departments and state funded bodies are using the 0761 prefix.
Some public sector areas that use them are:
The Insolvency Service
Money Advice and Budgeting Service
Driver Licence Service
Direct Payments (Dept Agriculture)
You can also see details of 1890 call costs here – you might be shocked when you see how much a “lo call” number can end up costing you.
There are proposals in the pipeline by Comreg to clarify and simplify the charges on 076 numbers and other similar numbers such as 1850 and 1890 -by 2020 : more about that here