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Consumer telecoms expert comments on Ofcom ruling on landline and mobile charges

19 July 2015: Ofcom has announced clearer landline and mobile charges for calls to numbers starting 084, 087, 09 and 118, while Freephone will become free from mobiles.

At present, callers to these numbers are not always told how much the call will cost them. Prices will become clearer on telephone bills, and in marketing and advertising, from 1 July.

Commenting on the announcement, telecoms expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said:

"I see this as the first step to addressing a wider issue. UK landline and mobile providers use compound pricing structures to advertise tempting – and arguably unrealistic – headline prices.

"Freephone, 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers often represent substantial add-on costs to the prices advertised, and up until now providers have not been obligated to make it especially clear how much this is likely to add to your bill.

"The upshot is that someone with a £12.99 per month plan including free minutes, texts and data can, and often will, find themselves paying multiples of that at the end of each month. This is simply due to the fact that we often perceive there being little choice but to call these numbers to pay a bill, make an enquiry, conduct our banking and so on.

"The truth, however, is that there are usually alternatives to calling these 08 numbers in the first place, and frugal consumers should always seek out their local alternatives."

"Upfront warning of the cost of calling 08, 09 and 118 numbers will cause a sharp decline in their use."

The full Ofcom release is available here:http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/phone-charges-made-simpler/

Notes to editors

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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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