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Cost of calls to 1850 and 1890 numbers no longer a shock for consumers
Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

The price changes by ComReg will see consumers paying significantly less.

For those of us old enough to remember, having to call an 1850 or 1890 number was enough to strike fear into the heart of your worst phone bill, simply for the sheer uncertainty about how much it might cost you.

Thankfully this uncertainty around calling so-called Non-Geographic Numbers (NGNs) will no longer be a problem for consumers from 1st December 2019 thanks to new changes being introduced by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

So then, what exactly are NGNs?

In a nutshell

NGNs are those numbers beginning with 1800, 1850, 1890, 0818, or 076 and are most often used by businesses for the purposes of customer support and the provision of related services.

But what changes and savings can consumers expect?

The changes afoot

The changes will introduce a standardised tariff across all NGNs - in other words standardise and significantly reduce the cost incurred when calling those NGNs mentioned above from either a landline or mobile.

From 1st December, when calling an NGN, the cost will be no more than the usual charge to call a landline number. And what's more, calls to NGNs must be included in mobile and landline call bundles.

ComReg has also outlined the eventual phasing out and reduction of three of the five NGNs from January 1st 2022, with the exception of 1800 and 0818.

The time given will allow companies and organisations who currently use 1850, 1890 and 076 NGNs to make the transition.

Calls to 1800 numbers will continue to be free while 0818 will remain as a standard rate.

Impact on consumers

The announcement by ComReg is good news for consumers whose calls to NGNs will now be included in call bundles, provided calls to landlines are covered and minutes not already used up.

Charges will be deducted on a per-minute basis from bundles, or where a bundle isn’t in place will be charged on a per-minute basis at the same rate as a call to a landline.

The thought process behind the simplification is exactly that - simplification; making services easier to access for consumers along with lowering the cost associated with calling NGNs. And of course, no more bill shock!