The use of an 0761 phone number prefix in the Irish public service has become more widespread in the past year or so. 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 0761 prefix was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the so called “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 that 076 numbers would be treated differently – but they aren’t.
You can 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.
Charges for calling an 076 number
Id Mobile – 35c per minute
Three – 35c per minute
Vodafone Mobile – 35c a minute
Sky Landline – 2.5c to 6.9c peak plus 9.7c connection fee.
Virgin Media – 4c per min plus a 16c connection fee.
Eir (com) Landline – ranges from 1.34c to 9c per minute depending on time of day
Phone numbers starting with 076 are classed as “Voice over Internet Protocol” calls (Internet based). In 2011 a block of 200,000 “076” numbers were allocated to the public service . As far as we are aware – all 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 landline “bundles” ……. but 076 Calls are Not Included in most provider’s Bundles
Lycamobile seem to be the only provider that currently includes 076 calls as part of bundled calls – so well done to them .
It turns out 076 numbers are not included in inclusive/bundled minutes by the vast majority of providers. Vodafone , Meteor ,Three , iD Mobile, Sky , Tesco ,Virgin or Eircom don’t include 076 numbers in their “free” inclusive calls. Maybe some of them did include076 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 idea of using 076 numbers was because they assumed for some reason that such calls 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)