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Industry News Consumer News

Consumers urged to check new contact numbers for important services as 1850, 1890, and 076 phone numbers are withdrawn

  • 1850, 1890, and 076 numbers are being withdrawn from service and will no longer operate after 31 December 2021
  • 1800 Freephone and 0818 Standard Rate numbers will remain in use in 2022
  • ComReg is making the change to improve the non-geographic number (NGN) platform and reduce customer confusion and costs
  • Commissioner Robert Mourik: “We are reminding consumers to ensure they know the new numbers for important services. We are also urging organisations that are still using 1850, 1890, and 076 numbers to switch to new numbers immediately and to communicate their new numbers online and to callers now.”

ComReg, the statutory body responsible for the regulation of the electronic communications sector in Ireland, is reminding consumers that organisations using 1850, 1890, or 076 non-geographic numbers (NGNs) have changed, or are in the process of changing, their numbers.

Organisations such as charities and banks use NGNs to provide services including helplines, customer care and technical support. ComReg is reminding consumers to check online for new numbers, to ensure that they are aware of the new contact details for important services.

As part of efforts to improve the NGN platform, the number of NGN ranges will shortly reduce from five to two. 1850, 1890, and 076 numbers will be withdrawn from service.  Only two NGN ranges will operate from 1 January 2022 – 1800 Freephone and 0818 Standard Rate numbers, and organisations are already realising savings having switched to these numbers.

While many organisations have already switched and informed their customers ahead of the 31 December deadline, ComReg is urging any organisations still using 1850, 1890, or 076 NGNs to contact their telecoms operator and switch to new numbers immediately to safeguard access to their service in 2022.

Robert Mourik, Commissioner at ComReg, said:

“For almost three years, ComReg has worked collaboratively and with great effort with telecoms operators to improve the Irish non-geographic number platform. This change will lead to real benefits for both consumers and organisations who rely on these numbers, including significant cost savings and removing caller confusion about the different number ranges.

“We are reminding consumers to ensure they know the new numbers for important services. We are also urging organisations that are still using 1850, 1890, and 076 numbers to switch to new numbers immediately and to communicate their new numbers online and to callers now.”

Improving the NGN platform

In 2018, following extensive research and consultation, ComReg decided to introduce measures to improve the NGN platform. These measures were designed to address the prohibitive cost of calling NGNs and to tackle confusion among callers on the differences between the five NGN ranges (1800, 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076).

In 2019, ComReg took the first step, introducing new retail tariffs that reduced NGN calling costs for consumers.

The final step in simplifying the NGN platform is the reduction in the number of NGN ranges.  1850, 1890, and 076 NGNs will be withdrawn and, from 1 January 2022, only the 1800 Freephone and 0818 Standard Rate NGN ranges will remain in operation.

These changes will simplify NGNs and provide clarity on the costs of calling the two remaining NGN ranges (1800 and 0818).  For callers, 1800 calls are free.  Calls to 0818 are included in customer call bundles that include calls to landlines or, out of bundle, charged at the Standard Rate, which is no more than the cost of calling a landline.

Notably for organisations, the cost of maintaining 1800 numbers has reduced significantly since the introduction of new wholesale charges last year. In general, there is no per-call cost to an organisation for receiving an 0818 call.

Organisations that still use 1850, 1890, or 076 contact numbers are urged to contact their telecoms operator and switch to and promote new numbers immediately. 1800 and 0818 numbers, as well as geographic (landline) numbers, are available.

For more information see comreg.ie/ngn

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