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17th March 2019

Are your mobile bills higher than you expect but you’re not sure why? Here we explain some of the most common additional charges we see on our client’s bills and advise on ways to avoid them.

Non-Geographical Calls

Non-geographic numbers, typically starting with 08, are usually excluded from inclusive call plans and are chargeable. It’s now free to call 0800 and 0808 numbers from a mobile but 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers still carry charges.

How can I avoid charges?
• Where possible, don’t make calls to 0844, 0845 and 0870
• If your call is to a customer service department, many now have a free web chat alternative
• If you must make the call from a mobile, most companies have an alternative geographic number (01, 02 or 03) that connects you to the same place. has a large database of these alternative numbers.

MMS Messaging

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a way to send messages that include media content between mobile phones.
The most common use involves sending photographs. However, you might be charged for a MMS when you thought you’d sent a standard text (SMS) for one of the following reasons:

• There are pictures or attachments included in the message
• You’re sending a text to a group
• You’re texting an email address
• You have breached the character limit (160)
• You’ve inserted a symbol, video, gif, emoji, or sound clip in your message

How can I prevent charges?
• Avoid the main reasons (outlined above) that cause a SMS to convert into a MMS.
• Use other messaging services that work over data and Wi-Fi. Popular applications include Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Directory Enquiry Services

Did you know, a 90-second call using directory enquiry service 118118 will cost you £11.23?

There are hundreds of companies offering directory services with the prefix of 118, each charging their own call rate.

How can I find the information I need but avoid high charges?

• Use a free search engine such as Google to find a business contact number, or the online BT Phonebook for residential information.
• Use a cheaper alternative. O2 charges customers £1.20/min to call their directory enquiries service, 118402, and Vodafone’s 118881 number costs just £0.71/min.
• If you have to use a directory enquiry service, don’t let them connect your call. Take note of the number you need, hang up and dial it yourself, otherwise your entire call will be charged at a premium rate.

Good News!
Due to the increase in directory enquiry costs, Ofcom is enforcing a price cap on charges for services provided on 118 numbers. As of 1st April 2019, a cap of £3.65 per 90 seconds will come into effect.

Premium Texts

Premium Text Charges usually display on your bill as four, five or six-digit numbers. Common Premium Rate Services:

• Sending messages to radio stations
• Downloading games
• Entering TV competitions
• Voting on TV reality shows
• Charity donations
• Weather/Traffic updates

How can I avoid charges or cancel a subscription?

• Use online methods for voting on TV shows etc as this is a free alternative.
• Use an online search engine for weather and traffic updates
• For unknown services, use the Ofcom partner PSA’s website ( where you can enter a short code to find contact details to cancel the service.

See our recent blog for more information.

Mobile Data

Many activities use data, such as sending emails, browsing the web and using social media. If you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi then you are using your mobile data.

Once you have used your monthly allowance, you will be charged your mobile networks data overage rate. On average, 1GB of data overage costs between £25-30.

Tips to reduce usage:
• Save heavy data using activities until you are connected to W-Fi, such as streaming and downloads.
• Make sure auto-updates and backups are scheduled to happen over Wi-Fi only.
• Avoid allowing your phone to be used for tethering.
• Adhere to your mobile network’s warning messages
• Use a data monitoring tool to keep an eye on usage throughout the month.

For advice on ways to monitor your usage, see our recent blog:

At 8020 we carry out regular reviews of our clients bills, to ensure these types of charges don’t go unnoticed.

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