Dial M for Magic or for Mayhem? by MIKE ODYSSEAS, Managing Director of Stockton-Based Business to Business Telecommunications Firm Odyssey Systems

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE ODYSSEAS

FOR many years, an 0800 number has been seen as the best way for businesses to allow their customers to get in touch, free of charge.

With the plethora of 0845, 0844 and other prefixes which have hit the market, 0800 numbers have held strong, allowing businesses to encourage incoming calls.

However, according to industry regulator Ofcom, 2011 will be the first year to see more calls made from mobile phones than from landlines.

It is this change in telecommunications habits which will see the decline in the 0800 number.

As well as the new dominance in mobile calls, there is a new prefix in play, which will add to 0800's demise.

03 numbers are in a prime position to become the major player for businesses that would like to increase incoming traffic.

0800 calls are not free from mobiles and cost up to 20p per minute.

Also, some simply do not work from mobiles.

The motorists among you may have noticed this if you have tried to call such numbers as radio traffic and travel people - safely, of course - from a mobile, to report a problem on the roads.

An automated voice will tell you that "this number is not available from a mobile phone, please try again by dialling...".

It's off-putting and not exactly safe.

On the other side of the prefix coin, 03 numbers have seen a boost in popularity, because they cost the same to call as a regular landline and are included in "free minutes" packages on mobile contracts.

Additionally, 03 numbers cost businesses around 90% less to run than those with an 0800 prefix. …