Helplines and free to caller numbers

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Regular readers of this blog will know that a major area of work for Helplines Partnership has been seeking to minimise the impact that the non-geographic numbering changes will have on helplines’ capability to continue to be able to afford to stay on free to caller number ranges. You can read our publication on this here

A key change is that all calls to 080 numbers, such as 0800 or 0808 will become free from all mobiles. This is great for callers, but if your organisation uses an 080 number, the costs of running that number could increase. We’ve been working with the telecoms sector for a long time to get clarity on what these costs may be and it looks likely that on a general 0800 number it might increase substantially.

We are aiming to ensure that the established SFT scheme is maintained, however at this stage there is still no formal agreement on future pricing arrangements. The 0808 80 SFT number range is only available to helplines that meet minimum standards of service to callers. Helplines pay 2.1 pence per minute to receive calls under this scheme, which for many helplines is just about affordable, particularly as the volume of calls that helplines receive is increasing. Contacts within the industry have all said they are keen to ensure helplines are not adversely affected, however, definite arrangements for ensuring this happens remain unclear.

We’ll keep fighting on this, and hope to have news of an agreement soon.

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