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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Hanging on the Telephone

18 December 2014

Back before he had Jessica Rabbit on speed dial, Bob Hoskins went to some lengths to remind us “it’s good to talk” - and so it was, just so long as you did your snappy chatting after 1pm.  That was the magic hour when ‘peak rate’ was relieved, and calls could be dialled (yes, dialled) at the less onerous ‘standard rate’.  

Incredibly, just twenty years ago the UK telephone system was constricted and antiquated enough to require calls to be rationed by price, so that the network could cope with the volume of calls generated during business hours.  Some of you may even have a distant memory of those stickers on your office phone, imploring you to wait until after the lunch break to make that customer call - whatever a ‘lunch break’ was.

Connect with today, and the phone system is unrecognisable.  These days, a party line is something you pay a premium to join, rather than share with your nosey neighbour, and even Blondie have re-written their lyrics to: “You keep me hangin’ on the telephone … but your call is important to us.” 

Which brings us to the outdated anomaly of the 0845 code.  Back when long distance calls were called ‘trunk dialling’, some companies and public spirited bodies provided 0845 numbers, which were charged at the local rate, no matter where the call originated.  One such public spirited body was, of course, the generous souls at HMRC.  For once, we all had to applaud the initiative. 

Then things changed.  With almost everyone buying some kind of inclusive package for all their geographical calls, or just using one of those new-fangled mobile phones - 0845 actually worked out more expensive for most people. So, HMRC is now switching to numbers beginning 03, which are generally charged in the same way as the more familiar 01 and 02 numbers, and are usually included in call packages.

Lots of businesses list their ‘termination number’ - often listed as ‘calling from outside the UK’ since 08 numbers won’t work from abroad. So make sure you dial to suit your phone package – it could save you a lot of money!


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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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