The Irish communications regulator, Comreg, has decided to tackle “non-geographic” phone numbers (NGN) ie. numbers that aren’t linked to a specific location. At present businesses can setup numbers using 1800, 1850, 1890, 076 and 0818. The cost to ring those numbers vary, but as many phone companies have started bundling standard national calls into their plans often these numbers weren’t included, so consumers were paying extra to call them. Bear in mind that when the numbers were first introduced free calls simply did not exist and the cost for making a local call versus one to another part of the country was, at the time, quite big. Of course I’m talking about many many years ago, before mobile phones became commonplace.
Yesterday’s announcement from Comreg will probably be welcomed by consumers, but will annoy some businesses.
From December 2019 calls to 1850, 1890, 0818 or 076 numbers won’t cost more than calls to a landline. So if your phone provider includes calls to landlines in your plan the NGN numbers will also be included. This change won’t upset businesses.
However from 1 January 2022 the 1850, 1890, and 076 will cease to exist. Both the 1800 (freephone) and 0818 ranges will continue to exist.
While this move might be welcomed by some consumers, it’s a move that is going to cause businesses headaches. While they’ll have just over 3 years to make the change it means that businesses will have to phase out their 1850, 1890 or 076 numbers. That means updating signage, both on premises as well as on vehicles and anywhere else numbers are printed. There’s also all the business cards, print advertising and everywhere else that the numbers have been publicised for years.
What do you think about this change?
Is it going to cause you headaches?