Home » Business » Networking

Why Are 08xx Numbers So Expensive to Call From Abroad?

Aug 23, 2008
Many cheap and free audio conference call services use access numbers beginning with 08xx. The more common are 0871, 0870, 0844 and 0845 numbers. These number ranges are known as non-geographic or 'NGN' numbers. Whilst these are accessible from most landlines and mobile networks in the UK, there is no guarantee that you will be able to connect to them from overseas. There are a number of reasons for this, which are documented in this article.

NGNs and telecoms interconnect agreements
International telephone carriers such as British Telecom in the UK, AT and T in the US, Telefonica in Spain, and Deutsche Telekom in Germany sign up to agreements as to what type of traffic they will pass between each other. These are complex commercial and technical contracts called telecoms interconnect agreements.

All telecoms interconnect agreements include interconnection between 'normal' geographical numbers in the respective countries. For instance, you will definitely be able to call, say, a London number beginning with 0207 from any country in the world. It would not make economic sense for calls to London not to be supported.

In reality calls to all numbers beginning with 01 and 02 are supported as these cover almost all the standard phone numbers in the UK.However, calls to 08xx numbers are often NOT included in these agreements. Even when they are, the prices charged to connect are often outrageously high.

In Summary: There is no guarantee you will be able to connect to an 0871, 0870, 0844 or 0845 number from abroad and even if you can, you are likely to be charged an extortionate fee for the privilege.

The overseas NGN connection rip-off
One of the main reasons why overseas telephone operators do not like to connect to NGNs is the revenue sharing model around which they are based. When you call an NGN, your telephone company charges you and then passes on a percentage of what they make on the call to the owner (or renter) of the NGN in commission.The amount of commission varies considerably by number range from a few pennies a minute on the 0871 numbers down to a few fractions of a penny (or even nothing at all) on the 0845 numbers.

This mechanism works well within the UK since all the UK operators work within UK law and are able to pass commission payments around easily.The sums involved are often very small and hence it would be difficult to do this economically when you have overseas transactions or currency exchange to consider.

This cost and complexity when dealing with NGNs lead many overseas telecoms operators to not bother providing connections to UK NGNs. Those that do often charge very high rates for the calls to cover the extra costs and risks involved.

In Summary: Overseas operators often charge rip-off rates to connect to NGNs in the UK or simply don't connect your call.

What are the implications for audio conferencing?
If you are using an audio conference provider which requires overseas participants to call a non-geographic number in the UK, i.e. 0871, 0870, 0844 or 0845 there is no guarantee that their connection will work and no way of telling how much it will cost without first checking with the telephone company in the country you are calling from.

Please note, it makes no difference which conference call provider you use. If they issue you with an 08xx access number, you will run into the issues above. If you need reliable overseas access then you must use a service offering which provides local and freephone access to overseas participants via our global virtual private network (VPN). A VPN can be thought of as a private telephone network for the use of our customers only.
About the Author
Peter Bennett is CEO of Ozone Conferencing Limited. This article is taken from the resources section of the Ozone Conferencing website. Other recent articles includeCheap Conference Calls
and Free Audio Conferencing .
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 254
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories