08, 09 and 118 Phone Numbers: The Cost Of Calling From Your Mobile

July 1st, 2015

Find out how much it’ll cost to call special phone numbers from your UK mobile. Includes 08, 09 and 118 phone numbers.

UK Calling LogoFrom July 1st 2015, the cost of calling special phone numbers is changing in the UK. Special phone numbers, which beginning with 08, 09 and 118, are often used by companies in the UK. They’re also used for premium rate services, for TV show voting and for directory enquiries.

On all UK mobile networks, it’s now totally free of charge to call an 0800 or 0808 phone number.

For 084, 087, 09 and 118 phone numbers, the cost of your phone call is now divided into two parts. There’s an access charge from your mobile network operator (this varies from 5p/minute to 55p/minute). There’s also a separate service charge which goes to the company or organisation running the phone number.

Calls to an 084, 087, 09 or 118 phone number are not normally included in your monthly allowances. Pay Monthly customers will see a charge for the phone call appearing on their next bill. Meanwhile, Pay As You Go customers will see credit being taken from their account. Customers with a Pay As You Go monthly bundle will need to top-up extra money to pay for 084, 087, 09 and 118 phone calls.

At A Glance: Per-Minute Call Charges to Special Phone Numbers (08, 09 and 118 Numbers)

The following table gives a quick overview of how much you can expect to pay when calling 08, 09 and 118 phone numbers from your mobile:

Mobile NetworkCalls to 080 numbersCalls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers
ASDA MobileFree8p/min access charge + service chargeReview
EEFree44p/min access charge + service chargeReview
O2Free55p/min access charge + service chargeReview
ThreeFree45p/min access charge + service chargeReview
Vodafone (PAYG)Free45p/min access charge + service chargeReview
Vodafone (PAYM)Free55p/min access charge + service charge
giffgaffFree25p/min access charge + service chargeReview
1pMobileFree30p/min access charge + service chargeReview
BT MobileFree30p/min access charge + service chargeReview
C4C MobileFree23p/min access charge + service charge
Co-operative MobileFree21p/min access charge + service charge
Lebara MobileFree45p/min access charge + service chargeReview
LycamobileFree23p/min access charge + service chargeReview
OrangeFree44p/min access charge + service chargeReview
T-MobileFree44p/min access charge + service chargeReview
TPO Mobile (PAYG)Free5p/min access charge + service chargeReview
TPO Mobile (PAYM)Free35p/min access charge + service chargeReview
TalkTalk MobileFree25p/min access charge + service chargeReview
Tesco MobileFree25p/min access charge + service chargeReview
VOXIFree45p/min access charge + service charge
Vectone MobileFree25p/min access charge + service charge
Virgin Mobile (PAYG)Free36p/min access charge + service charge
Virgin Mobile (PAYM)Free45p/min access charge + service chargeReview
iD MobileFree30p/min access charge + service chargeReview

Sources: mobile.asda.com, ee.co.uk, o2.co.uk, three.co.uk, freesim.vodafone.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk, giffgaff.com, 1pmobile.com, productsandservices.bt.com, c4cmobile.com, thephone.coop, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, ee.co.uk, ee.co.uk, thepeoplesoperator.com, thepeoplesoperator.com, talktalk.co.uk, tescomobile.com, voxi.co.uk, vectonemobile.co.uk, store.virginmedia.com, store.virginmedia.com, idmobile.co.uk. Last updated on 1st September 2017.

For 084, 087, 09 and 118 phone numbers, a service charge should always be advertised along with the phone number. For instance, you might see: “calls cost 20p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge”. In this case, the service charge will be 20p/minute. You should add this to your mobile network’s access charge to find the total cost of calling that phone number.

0800 and 0808 Numbers

It’s now always free to call an 0800 or 0808 phone number. This is regardless of whether you’re calling from a UK landline or UK mobile. Your monthly allowance of minutes will not be affected when calling an 0800 or 0808 phone number.

Prior to July 2015, it was only free to call these phone numbers from a UK landline. Call charges from a mobile phone could vary wildly (in some cases, you could pay as much as 40p/minute).

084, 087, 09 and 118 Numbers

When calling an 084, 087, 09 or 118 phone number, the cost of your phone call is now divided into two parts. There’s an “access charge” from your mobile network operator (this varies depending on your network). There’s also a separate service charge from the company or organisation running the phone number. The service charge should always be advertised alongside the phone number.

Enter the per-minute service charge below to see the total costs of calling from each network:

084, 087, 09 & 118 Numbers: Call Cost Calculator

Please enter the service charge in pence:

pence per minute

Once you've entered the service charge for the number you want to call, the total calling charge from each UK network will be shown below:

Mobile NetworkAccess Charge+Service Charge=Total Charge (per minute)
TPO Mobile (PAYG)5p+10p=15p/minute
ASDA Mobile8p+10p=18p/minute
Co-operative Mobile21p+10p=31p/minute
C4C Mobile23p+10p=33p/minute
TalkTalk Mobile25p+10p=35p/minute
Tesco Mobile25p+10p=35p/minute
Vectone Mobile25p+10p=35p/minute
BT Mobile30p+10p=40p/minute
iD Mobile30p+10p=40p/minute
TPO Mobile (PAYM)35p+10p=45p/minute
Virgin Mobile (PAYG)36p+10p=46p/minute
Virgin Mobile (PAYM)45p+10p=55p/minute
Lebara Mobile45p+10p=55p/minute
Vodafone (PAYG)45p+10p=55p/minute
Vodafone (PAYM)55p+10p=65p/minute

At present, The People’s Operator has the cheapest per-minute rates for calling an 084, 087, 09 or 118 phone number. There’s a 5p/minute access charge plus the normal service charge. You can order a free SIM card from The People’s Operator to take advantage of the rates.

Customers on EE Pay Monthly who regularly call 084 and 087 phone numbers can buy EE’s £3/month service number add-on. The add-on gives you 300 minutes for calling 084 and 087 phone numbers. The add-on isn’t currently available on EE Pay As You Go.

Other Phone Numbers

UKFor all other phone numbers, the cost will depend on the type of phone number you’re calling:

  • 01, 02 and 03 phone numbers are geographical (they’re charged as a landline phone call). You can use the inclusive minutes on your tariff or bundle to call any of these phone numbers.
  • 0500 phone numbers are historical “freephone”. They’re only free when calling from a landline (you should check with your mobile network operator to find out the costs of calling an 0500 number). The 0500 number range will be withdrawn from the UK in 2017.
  • 07 phone numbers (excluding 070 and 076) are a UK mobile phone. You can use the inclusive minutes on your tariff or bundle to call these numbers.
  • 00 phone numbers are based in another country (you’re making an international phone call). Typically, you won’t be able to use your inclusive minutes when calling another country. For more information, see our article on international calling rates.

For more information, please see our in-depth article on UK phone numbers and how they’re charged for.

More Information

For more information regarding the July 2015 calling price changes, it’s worth seeing the official UKCalling website. For further information about the charges on your network, you should see your mobile network’s website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 16 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. J said:

    Do you have a section on which 071-075 and 077-079 numbers are not normal mobile numbers and thus are treated differently by providers?

    For example: 07781 07839 079111 079117 (Foreign – Guernsey), 074184 074576 074520-074526 079240-079244 079246-079249 (Foreign – Isle of Man), 07509 077003-077008 07797 07829 07937 (Foreign – Jersey), and numerous other smaller companies that sometimes aren’t included in bundles.

    It seems each company has a different list when it comes to the small companies.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi J,
      Many thanks for the comment and suggestion! This has also been requested before by other readers of the website – it’s not something I have at the moment but definitely a really good point and something that’s causing quite a bit of confusion at the moment. I’ll see if there’s anything we can do about this e.g. in our guide to UK phone numbers.

  2. Ian said:

    Full details of the one-hundred available Service Charge price points and the number ranges they apply to, can be found listed in the table at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-geographic_telephone_numbers_in_the_United_Kingdom#Service_Charge_Price_Points

    The specific Service Charge price point for any 084, 087, 09 or 118 number can also be looked up at http://checkit.uboss.com/

  3. Colin James said:

    Hi Ken,

    it used to be free to receive calls when roaming on the Isle of Man from my UK Sainsburys PAYG sim.

    Are there any similar deals now they’ve gone belly up?

    Cheers, Colin.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Colin,
      Thanks for your comment and that’s a very good question! Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure about the best roaming deals when travelling in the Isle of Man. I’ll leave this comment up here in case any other readers might know – or if you do find out, please do keep me updated!

  4. Ken said:

    Update: O2 is increasing their access charge from 25p/minute to 45p/minute on the 17th August 2015. Thanks to ian011 for the heads up on this change!

  5. Ian said:

    There are four types of Service Charge. Only of them is “per minute”.

    This call cost calculator shows the cost of calls up to one hour duration:


    Select the applicable Access Charge and Service Charge from the lists.

  6. Angus Day said:

    Tesco PAYG Lite customers have previously enjoyed an 8p per minute charge for 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers. This now increases to 25p/min plus service charge. Fortunately, all the numbers of this type that I have previously used have been changed to 03 or 0800.

  7. Harryo said:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the very informative reply!

    Over the last week or so I have received emails from my mobile phone supplier and bank giving details of charges payable when contacting them on certain 0800 numbers and was puzzled by the ‘split’ charges they mentioned.

    I did join giffgaff on Monday and purchased a £7.50 goodybag for starters, after reading what you mentioned about adding credit for calls to 084 or 087 I have just added an additional £10 credit, something I didn’t realise you could do.

    Also had a quick look on the Google Play store to see if giffgaff apps are available, there were some listed but have not checked them out yet.


    1. Ian replied:

      The “split” call charges apply only on calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers.

      Calls to numbers starting 080 are free-to-caller on landlines and mobiles.

      Since 26 October 2015 FCA regulation has required banks, insurers and card companies to use numbers starting 01, 02, 03 or 080. This extended the earlier BIS regulation that had already applied since 13 June 2014 to post-sales helplines for retailers, traders and passenger transport companies.

  8. Pete Forman said:

    As you pointed out in a previous blog on 2013-11-29 not all 07 numbers are included in allowances. 070 are personal numbers and 07624 are Isle of Man which often attract higher charges.

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Pete,
      Thanks for the reminder – I’ve added a note of this in the article above 🙂

    2. Ian replied:

      Mobile numbers generally use the prefixes 071-075 and 077-079.

      Mobile numbers in Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of man are usually excluded from call bundles and allowances and charged at a different rate to other mobile numbers. A list of these prefixes (including 07624) can be found here:

      Some networks also exclude some other mobile numbers. A list can be found here:
      This category shouldn’t exist as Ofcom removed the basis for this charging anomaly (higher termination rates) on 1 May 2015.

      Personal numbers are charged at a premium rate and use the prefix 070.

      Pagers are charged at a premium rate and use the prefix 076 (but not 07624).

  9. Harryo said:

    Hi Ken,

    I was wondering if you could tell me whether any of the mobile phone companies block 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers or charge high fees for accessing them, the reason for asking is that a relative who tried to phone a national breakdown service from his mobile was unable to do so.

    As a disabled driver it is essential that I choose a mobile company who does not block or charge excessive fees to premium rate numbers.”

    At the moment I’m in the middle of changing to sim free phones and looking at the various mobile phone providers.

    – Harryo

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Harryo,
      Thanks for your comment! I’ve split your message into two parts so we can properly address them in the right place on the website (the other half can be seen here).
      As you might have heard on the news, everything changed from this morning with regards to how 08 phone calls are charged in the UK. On all UK mobile networks, it’s now totally free of charge to call 0800 and 0808 phone numbers. With regards to 0845 and 0870, there’s an access charge from the network and a separate service from the company you’re calling. For giffgaff (the network you’re joining), calls to an 084 or 087 phone number will cost 15p/minute plus the service charge from the company you’re calling.
      As is common with all other networks, the access charge is not included in your monthly allowances. For this reason, if you use all of your credit to buy a giffgaff goodybag, you won’t have any credit remaining in order to call 084 or 087 phone numbers. You should add extra money to your account before making these calls.
      I don’t believe any UK network actually blocks phone calls to an 084/087 number. Instead, it was probably the case that your relative didn’t have any credit remaining to actually call these special-rate numbers.
      Hope this helps,

    2. CJT replied:

      Hi Harryo,

      Not sure if you still need this information, but Virgin Mobile do a deal on Monthly Sim Only @ £10 per month which includes calls to: 084 and 087 numbers. The info is here: http://store.virginmedia.com/virgin-media-mobile/sim-only/pay-monthly-sim.html

      Alternatively why not see if the breakdown company has an 01/02/03 number as well as the expensive 084/087 number.

      Just a thought

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