1.1 The purpose of this Statement is to implement some important changes to the regulation of calls to 0870 numbers. The 0870 number range has been a source of significant and increasing concern for some consumers for several years. There has been a considerable amount of confusion amongst consumers over the cost of calls to 0870 numbers, compounded by the misleading advertising of these calls as being ‘national rate’ calls when in fact they have often been considerably more expensive than calls to geographic numbers (01 and 02 numbers). There has also been a growth in consumer complaints about 0870 calls and signs of an increase in consumer scams on 087 numbers, which threaten further to undermine consumer confidence in the range.
1.2 Ofcom is committed to addressing these issues and we are therefore proceeding with proposals designed to improve pricing transparency and reduce the potential for scams on the 0870 range. The changes are designed to facilitate a restoration of the linkage between the pricing of 0870 calls and calls to geographic numbers. We believe that Communications Providers (‘CPs’) themselves bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that consumers have a sufficient understanding of call prices to enable them to make rational decisions about using them. We will therefore look to CPs, working within the new regulations, to take steps to secure an improvement in consumer understanding of 0870 pricing. We will actively monitor the effectiveness of the new framework and will consider further action if required.