In April 2012 we consulted on a set of proposals designed to address identified market failures in the provision of non-geographic calls. In that consultation we provisionally concluded that substantial restructuring of the existing regulatory controls on the use of non-geographic numbers was required in order to address these market failures and to ensure its future as a vehicle for the delivery of services to consumers.
One of the key recommendations was that the 080 (Freephone) and 116 number ranges should be free to caller from all telephones, fixed and mobile. However, we said that we would issue a separate consultation on options for the 0500 range, the little-used, 'closed' second Freephone range. This would enable us to seek views on the specific issues surrounding this range from SPs and consumers without them being lost within the broader consultation on the options for other non-geographic numbers.
These documents are intended to help consumers make better informed decisions, especially those who are thinking about changing provider or purchasing a new service. We also believe that publication of provider-specific complaint volumes incentivises providers to improve their performance.