Non-Geographic Number and Premium Rate Calls
What are non-geographic and Premium Rate Services (PRS)?
Unlike geographic telephone numbers which begin '01' and '02', non-geographic numbers and the cost of calling these numbers are not linked to a physical UK location i.e. a city, town or village.
Non-geographic numbers usually begin with '03', '084', '087' or '09' and have more complex ways in which calls to these numbers are charged.
Sometimes, these numbers are called 'Service' or 'Premium Rate Service' numbers. Premium Rate Services is the title given to products and services that you can buy through your phone where the cost of these services are applied to your bill as a call charge. Examples of these numbers are those you might call when voting for talent shows, entering TV or radio competitions, calling video-chat services or listening to the weather and cost more to call/text than standard numbers.
Other non-geographic numbers begin:
- '070' which are called 'Personal' numbers. These are often used as a 'follow me' service where calls are diverted from one number to another. This is so that the person being called can keep their own number private whilst remaining contactable wherever they go.
- '118' are for Directory Enquiry services.
- '080' numbers or 'Freephone' numbers are free to call from landlines and mobiles. These calls will not be shown on your bill.
- Texts or Short code numbers which can be 4,5 or 6 digits in length are called SMS (Short Message Service) short codes These are often used by businesses to allow customers to opt-in to SMS campaigns, alert services, or to enter SMS competitions. Like Premium Rate numbers, these may cost more to call/text than standard numbers.
Sometimes, non-geographic Premium Rate Services are called Number Translation Services and so the terms NTS and PRS are used interchangeably.
Number Translation Services (NTS) and Premium Rate Service (PRS) Charges
Calls to NTS and PRS services consist of two elements – the Access Charge and the Service Charge.
The Access Charge is the fee that we will charge you for making and connecting the call over our network.
The Service Charge is the fee that the operator/owner of the number will charge you for accessing the service once we connect.
To understand how much a call may cost you, you need to add the Access Charge and the Service Charge together. We will invoice you for the total charge (both parts) and pass-on the Service Charge element to the operator of the NTS or PRS service.
We publish our Access Charges for connections to NTS and PRS on our Price List.
Any advertising of services provided by these numbers should clearly show how much the Service Charge part of your call will cost. These charges are not set by us.
We will also make it clear if any call bundles include calls to NTS or PRS services.
Finding information about Charges
You will find up-to-date pricing for each type of non-geographic and premium rate number on our Price List. General information on the most common numbers are provided below:
- '03' landline rate numbers: These are charged at the same rate as a geographic call (i.e. numbers beginning '01' or '02').
- '070' Personal numbers: Whilst these may look like a normal mobile phone number, they are not and are often more expensive to call. We recommend checking with the owner/provider before dialling.
- '080' or Freephone numbers: These are free to call from any landline or mobile and will not appear on your bill.
- '084' and '087' Service numbers: These service numbers are charged in two parts: the Access Charge which is the part you pay us (FibreNest) for originating your call; and the Service Charge which is how much you pay to the service provider you are calling. The Access Charge is paid at a pence-per-minute rate which can be found on our Price List and on the invoices you receive. Our Access Charge will always be the same whichever service you are phoning. The Service Charge for '084' numbers must not be more than 7p per minute/call and '087' numbers cannot be charged at more than 13p per minute/call.
- '09' Premium Rate numbers: These can be considerably expensive to call. As with '084' and '087' numbers, we will charge you a per-minute Access Charge for each call made. This will be the same whichever type of '09' number you dial. The Service Charge for '09' numbers will be more expensive than normal calls and is set by the provider of the service you are calling.
- '118' Directory Enquiry numbers: these should not be charged at more than £3.65 per 90 seconds. As with '084', '087' and '09' numbers, we will also charge you a per-minute Access Charge for each call made.
- Text Messages / SMS short codes: These can be 4, 5, or 6 digit numbers, usually beginning with 2, 6, 7 or 8. Sending texts to some numbers from your landline can be considerable expensive if they are to:
- 087 business information lines;
- Mobile games;
- Competitions and quizzes;
- Charity donations;
- Adult entertainment; and
- Chat services.
Please check with the service provider the cost before you send a text. Alternatively, you can block this service.
How to restrict access to NTS & PRS numbers
We offer the facility to bar calls to Premium Rate numbers. This means if anyone tries to dial these numbers using your FibreNest telephone service, the call will not succeed and the cost will therefore be avoided. If you would like to make use of this service, or to check whether you already have an active restriction in place, please call our Customer Support team using any of the following methods:
- Phone: 0333 234 2220 (option 2)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: FibreNest, Box 745, York, YO1 0JF
Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) and NTS & PRS providers
The PSA is the industry regulatory body for all Premium Rate charged services. It regulates these services to prevent harm to consumers.
NTS and PRS providers are responsible for complying with the rules imposed by the PSA's Code of Practice. The PSA investigates complaints about the promotion and operation of services that involve the use of a telephone-based connection to access a Premium Rate number. These include connections from landline telephone, Voice-over-IP telephones, fax, Internet, mobile phone (voice and SMS) and interactive TV.
The PSA specifically regulates the following services:
- Premium Rate numbers beginning '090' or '091'.
- Directory Enquiry services operating on numbers that begin '118'
- Reverse-billed SMS text messages (those you are charged for receiving) which contain content and operate on short codes.
- Any calls to '087x' numbers which exceed 7p per minute
The PSA's service is free to consumers and is fully independent.
How to complain to the PSA
If you think a particular service falls within PSA's remit, you can submit a complaint to them. There are various ways of doing this and before you do, we recommend that you visit their online number-checking facility at https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/service-checker. This will provide instant information about the number in question.
To raise a query or complaint with the PSA, you can use one of the following methods:
- Web: Using the online form found at https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/report-an-issue
- Phone: 0300 30 300 20
- Post: Phone-paid Services Authority, 25th Floor, 40 Bank Street, London E14 5NR.
If you have a copy of the promotion or material in question i.e. a page from a magazine or a photograph of a television screen, you should make your complaint in writing, accompanying this with a copy/image.
If it can be shown that your FibreNest telephone service has been used to call a premium-rate number but was done without your permission, the PSA may be able to help you obtain compensation from the PRS provider. Furthermore, the PSA may order a NTS or PRS service provider to issue you a refund if they have completed an investigation and the outcome requires this.
Disputes about PRS numbers on your phone bill
If you have a query regarding a NTS or PRS number on your phone bill, please contact our Customer Support team in the first instance where we will perform an initial investigation for you. You can contact us using any of the following methods:
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: FibreNest, Box 745, York, YO1 0JF.
- Phone: on 0333 234 2220 (option 2)
Where it is confirmed that your FibreNest telephone service was used to call a premium-rate number, we may ask you to refer your query to the PSA which will be able to help you identify the provider of the service or number on your phone bill.
If you have a question or complaint that we cannot resolve about calls to NTS or PRS numbers on your bill, the Ombudsman Service, of which we are a member, can help investigate this for you.
The Ombudsman Service can be contacted at any of the following methods:
- Phone: 0330 440 1614
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ombudsman Services: Communications
PO Box 730
To learn more about NTS and PRS services, you may find the following section of Ofcom's web site useful: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/information-for-industry/policy/premium-rate-services.
This document was created in June 2020 and was correct at the time of publication