GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

Call centres must address 0500 number switch-off

call on phoneIt has been highlighted that any call centres that continue to use numbers starting with 0500 will need to make alternative numbers available from 3rd June 2017. It was on this same date in 2014 that Ofcom originally announced that they would be closing 0500 numbers. Now, any telephone answering services still using the number have less than a year to make the switch.

Under current pricing, landline calls to 0500 numbers are free. However, the increasing use of mobile phones has concerned regulators, with prices to the same number from mobile devices costing up to 55p per minute. In order to ease the transition, Ofcom has already reserved matching 0808 5 numbers, allowing call centres to migrate easily. Upon completion of the move, new numbers are an extra digit longer but retain the final six digits of the original number.

The new 080 numbers mean that landline and mobile callers will not be charged. Instead, the called party pays for the higher operational mobile costs associated with 080 numbers. This might make many call centres and companies keen to switch to non-geographic 03 numbers where costs for both mobile and landline are treated the same, as is the case with the costs for 01 and 02 numbers.

For firms using 0500 numbers, it is important to address the situation early. A pre-recorded message is normally offered to callers when an old number is dialled, but since Ofcom is simply switching the code off, individuals will not be able to connect at all, potentially resulting in lost business and customers.

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