Vodafone makes 1800 numbers free-of-charge

Yet another reason customers don’t need landlines

Vodafone today announced all 1800 numbers will be free-of-charge for customers from 1 July 2015.

Vodafone’s General Manager Industry Strategy and Public Policy, Matthew Lobb, said the move was good news for mobile customers.

“With all Vodafone customers able to make calls to 1800 numbers free-of-charge from their mobiles, it’s another reason why they don’t need fixed line phones. There’s no need to pay high fixed line rental charges when you can make free 1800 calls as part of your mobile plan,” Mr Lobb said.

The majority of Vodafone customers are on Red post-paid plans which already include calls to both 1800 and 13/1300 numbers, and from July all post-paid and pre-paid plans will have zero-rated 1800 calls.

“There is already no charge for calls from Vodafone mobiles to selected 1800 helpline services including a number of crisis support, child safety and emergency services hotlines. This new move extends the zero-rating to all 1800 numbers for all our customers,” Mr Lobb said.

Mr Lobb said Vodafone had been lobbying for change to create a level playing field so zero-rated calls from mobile phones do not unfairly advantage fixed line providers.

“We are doing the right thing for customers by making all 1800 numbers free for every Vodafone customer, but we are still calling for changes to interconnect arrangements,” Mr Lobb said.

“Fixed line providers make huge amounts of money by charging organisations, companies and government agencies high prices for 1800 and 13/1300 services. But at the same time they are asking Vodafone to carry these calls below standard interconnect rates or demand that we pay fixed line providers to carry their calls on our network.

“These fixed line providers are double-dipping and if it is not resolved we will be calling for the ACCC and ACMA to fix this unsustainable situation.”

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Notes to editors:
1800 numbers were originally established by fixed line providers under an alternative revenue model which charged the commercial organisation or service providers, rather than the end user for each call. These numbers were established to overcome the prohibitive costs of making long distance STD calls from fixed line phones to banks, insurance companies and similar types of service providers which were located interstate. It is only in more recent times that 1800 numbers have been adopted by other businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations. The establishment of these types of ‘free call’ numbers also precedes the rise of mobile phones being used for virtually all types of calls and ignores the inequity that persists on interconnect arrangements between fixed and mobile termination rates.