UK communications regulator Ofcom is proposing some changes to the rules that affect phone numbers.
In many areas of the UK, fixed-line (‘landline’) telephone customers can make calls within the local area without dialling the area code. For example, a fixed-line customer in the 01632 area calling another such customer in the 01632 area would not need to dial the full number with code – such as 01632 960123 – but could currently simply dial 960123.
Ofcom’s proposal is that phone companies will no longer be obliged to offer this service. It says the gradual move from traditional public switched telephone networks (PSTN) to Internet Protocol (IP) networks makes local dialling less easy to provide – and also says it’s becoming a less valuable feature to customers.
However, the regulator says it intends to maintain a link between fixed-line area codes and geographic locations, enabling customers to know where in the country they’re calling.
Ofcom is also proposing to eliminate ‘cash for calls’ revenue-sharing schemes. These provide a financial benefit for the company that receives the call but incur costs for the phone companies originating the calls. As a result, customers calling these numbers can be charged at a higher rate that isn’t included in any monthly allowance they may receive.
The Ofcom consultation
on these potential changes will run until 2nd July 2021, with a final decision expected to be published in the autumn.