Hello Peeps, new to this forum but it looks lively.
Can somebody tell me why a freephone number, which we have all come to know in the UK at least, is chargeable ? I know that landlines will be free on 0800 but it seems obvious to me that 0800 should mean free on all networks and landlines. I have colleagues at work that do not have a landline for whatever reason - why do they have to pay for a free service that my landline provides ?
Mobile networks claim they have higher overheads and interconnect charges than landlines, and therefore an 0800 number presents an issue for them - providing them completely free isn't good business sense.
However, I cannot see why it shouldn't come out of your inclusive minutes, Orange aren't charged any more to connect to an 0800 number than any other number, so if you have cross network minutes on your account, they should be used.
However, I think the biggest reason for 0800 numbers being charges is because they were used for calling card services, where you dial an 0800 number and then dial another number and you get billed by the company running the 0800 number but Orange couldn't charge you for it. They used to routinely block/charge for these calling card 0800 numbers when they discovered them (well, you could do that in 30 seconds for some companies - just going to their website or calling their automated CS line!).
By blocking 0800 numbers they effectively kill many of the calling card schemes as it adds 10p per minute onto the cost of the calls. The only way I can see it being cost effective is for certain international calls.
There's also some which have 'landline' range numbers which do the same but come out inclusive minutes - again, only suitable for international calls really.
So, the 2 reasons I see they're doing it is their costs to handle 0800 calls are greater than landline companies, and they want to stamp out calling cards, bringing the revenue from cc companies into Orange.
They do make certain 0800 numbers free - mainly charity. I believe T-Mobile are similar, only charity and a few other 0800 numbers are free (ie. AA and RAC I believe).