Ofcom are leading a new campaign named UK Calling which aims to make call charges much clearer, so that you know exactly what you’re paying for. Read our frequently asked questions below for more information.
What is UK Calling?
UK Calling is the name of the changes that will make telephone charges clearer, and the information campaign explaining them. The campaign is being led by Ofcom, the communications regulator, who will work together with us and other major phone companies.
What will change and why?
Consumer Research (conducted by Ofcom) found that customers are often confused about how much it costs to call service numbers, meaning customers lack confidence in these numbers and sometimes avoid using them.
The cost of calling service numbers from your Sky Talk tariff will be made clearer, particularly to Service numbers beginning 084, 087, 09, and 118. You may use these for a range of things, including finding out information, banking, directory enquiries and entertainment services.
Sky, and other organisations that use these numbers, are currently unable to tell you how much your call will cost. This will change so that the cost of calling these numbers will be split into two parts:
• An access charge: this is what we’ll charge you, per minute, for connecting the call. The access charge for Sky Talk customers will be 11.5 pence per minute from 1 December 2015.
• A service charge: this is the rest of the call charge. The organisation you are calling will tell you how much it is.
• Adding the two charges together will give you the exact cost of the call.
• In addition, all numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 will be free to call from mobile phones, just as they usually are from landlines.
- Will the overall cost of calls change?
Freephone numbers, starting 0800 or 0808, will become free to call from mobile phones. At present all mobile phone users are generally charged for these numbers.
For numbers starting 084, 087, 09 and 118, the new system will make the cost of calls clearer. There may be some small changes to the cost of individual calls, as we and other telephone companies adapt to the new charging system.
- Will the changes apply from mobiles and landlines?
Yes, they’ll apply to calls to service numbers from both mobiles and landlines.
- Will the changes apply across the whole of the UK?
Yes, they’ll apply across the UK. This won’t include the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, who will have their own structure for these calls.
- What if I call from a payphone?
The changes won’t affect calls from payphones. Those calls will continue to be charged as they are now.
- Will text messages be affected?
No, the changes won’t affect the cost of sending text messages.
- When will these changes happen?
All UK call providers will implement the changes on 1 July 2015. There will be an information campaign, UK Calling, to make all UK customers aware of the changes in plenty of time.
- I've heard that some companies will have to offer a contact number charged at basic rate. How does that fit with UK Calling?
The Government has introduced new legislation affecting all UK companies who offer phone helplines to customers who have purchased their products. These parties must ensure that these customers are offered a ‘basic rate’ contact number.
Basic rate means a number which costs the same as a standard ‘geographic’ call (like an 01 or 02 number), a standard mobile rate or else is free. This change is separate from the UK Calling changes, which are being led by Ofcom. Go to www.gov.uk to find out more.
- Which numbers will be affected?
The cost of calling service numbers starting 084, 087, 09, and 118 will be made clearer. Meanwhile, Freephone numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 will be made free to call from mobiles.
Calls to other numbers beginning 00, 01, 02, 03, 05 or 07 are not affected.
- Will telephone numbers change?
The new arrangements won’t require any telephone numbers to change, meaning we won’t have to change our number. Organisations are free to move to a new number if they wish.
- Will I need to make any changes to my phone or the package I am on?
No, there is no need to make any changes to your Sky Talk pack. We’ll advise you of your access charge for calling these numbers once the changes come into effect.
- Why doesn’t Ofcom ban non-geographic numbers or force companies to use ordinary geographic numbers?
Organisations are free to choose which kind of telephone numbers they use, though the Government has introduced new legislation affecting all UK companies who offer phone helplines to customers who have purchased their products. The organisations must ensure that these customers are offered a basic rate contact number.
Ofcom doesn’t have the power to force organisations to use particular numbers, however Ofcom does encourage them to consider using 03 numbers, which cost no more to call than a normal geographic number.
- What is happening with Freephone calls from mobiles?
Calls to numbers beginning 0800 or 0808 are being made free from customers mobiles and landlines, making things much clearer. At present these numbers are generally free to call from landlines, but there’s a charge from most mobiles.
- Will 0500 Freephone numbers become free to call from mobiles?
0500 numbers are not part of these changes and you may still be charged for calls from mobiles to these numbers. Ofcom has decided that the 0500 number range will be withdrawn from use in 2017.
- Will costs change?
We will not be changing the cost of Sky Talk tariffs, but there will be changes to calls to non-geographical numbers which will have a Sky access charge of 9.5 pence per minute effective from 1 July 2015. This access charge will increase to 11.5 pence from 1 December 2015.
- When will I be able to find out the access charge for my tariff?
We are sending all of our Sky Talk customers a letter explaining the access charge rate of 9.5 pence per minute effective from 1 July 2015. This access charge will increase to 11.5 pence from 1 December 2015.
- Exactly how will the organisation I am calling communicate the service charge?
From 1 July 2015, organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers will be required to communicate the charges clearly. Sky will be updating the way we display the call charge information in our bills to show how much of the call is from the access charge, and the rest being driven by the service charge.
Wherever we advertise or promote one of these services we'll ensure that the service charge is displayed in an obvious position, close to the telephone number.
- Who takes the money from the cost of calling a service number?
We collect payment for the access charge and service charge for all calls made by Sky Talk customers. The payment collected for the service charge is then passed on to the organisation you called.