Are 0870 Numbers Free to Call on O2?

Are 0870 numbers free on O2? This is a common doubt raised by people as 0870 numbers are not easily understood. Moreover, different network operators also deal with them differently which increases the confusion.

To make you better aware, WeNumber has taken the initiative to solve your oft-repeated queries regarding various phone number prefixes, usage guidelines, and the charges applied by different phone companies.

This article is focused on 0870 numbers and their cost for O2 users.

Part 1: Are 0870 Numbers Free to Call on O2?

Are 0870 numbers free on O2? No, 0870 numbers are not free on O2. 0870 line calls are rarely ever included in any free call allowances. It’s true not just for O2’s tariff plans but is similarly valid for other network operators as well.

It’s natural to wonder why telecom companies treat 0870 numbers differently to other free numbers like 01, 02, 03, etc. Let’s understand in detail.

Basically, 0870 numbers are a type of business numbers. They are not linked to any specific town or city in the UK. Companies operating these numbers benefit from establishing a national level presence before callers.

Telecom companies that create these 0870 numbers also offer businesses several other useful add-on services. Consumers often need to call these numbers for booking event tickets, voting during TV show competitions, or for purchasing goods and services, etc.

When we call, we are basically benefiting from the service provided by these companies over the phone. In lieu of this, we need to pay them an extra “service charge”.

Companies using 0870 numbers earn rebates for the calls received by them. There is a huge potential to make money from these calls, especially if they have a large incoming call volume. Hence their use is quite popular.

While you must have understood why 0870 numbers are not free to call, it is also wise to be aware so that you are never wrongfully charged.

As per Ofcom regulation, companies are no longer allowed to use 0870 numbers for post-sales customer service. If you are charged, you should complain to the regulatory authority.

Part 2: How Much Does It Cost to Call 0870 Numbers on O2?

Here’s our answer to the question, are 0870 numbers free on O2? When you make a call to 0870 numbers O2, you will be levied a sum of

  1. service charge
  2. access charge

Service fee is directly determined by the organization that you are calling. It has an upper cap of 13 pence per minute set forth by Ofcom.

Within this limit, number owners can set any rate that they so desire. The same charges are applicable for all mobile and landline phones. It also does not differ between different network operator companies.

The access charges when you call a 0870 number on O2 varies according to the plan that you are enrolled for.

Pay as You Go customers need to pay a 45p access charge. After this, for each minute, the access charge is between 13p to 21p. Monthly pay plan users are levied an access charge of 55p for 0870 line calls, along with a charge of 68p per minute.

Thus, minimum call cost for Pay as You Go customer is 55p, while for Pay Monthly customer it is 68p, even if your call length is very short.

Interestingly, O2 does permit some limited free calls to 0870 numbers within the consumer’s plan allowance. The list of these 0870 numbers is mentioned on its website.

It is notable that previously users were not aware of how much they were charged when they called a 0870 number. This resulted in unpleasant shocks from phone bills.

Ofcom brought about a lot of transparency in service number charges via its famous ruling in July 2015. It was this same regulation that also enforced the two-part tariff rates for service numbers.

It is now mandatory for businesses to display the service fee next to the number so that callers are well aware in advance.

The access charge levied by O2 (and other network operators) for your calls to service numbers such as 0870, 09, 118, etc. is also distinctly mentioned in your plan agreement and phone bills.

Use of 0870 numbers is regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) in cases where the service charges are above 7 pence per minute or 7 pence per call.

Part 3: Are 0870 Numbers Free to Call Outside of the UK on O2?

Are 0870 numbers free on O2 when you’re calling from outside? It is tough to call a 0870 number from abroad as several operators do not permit this.

Sometimes they outrightly block such calls such that you cannot access a 0870 line till you reach back to the UK or can access a landline. In less extreme cases, they would be charging a premium to connect such calls.

There is a way out of this conundrum. Most companies provide an international telephone number for global customers. If it is available, you can use this number to call from abroad. For this, you would have to prefix the number with UK’s area code +44.


So, are 0870 numbers free on O2? We hope you are now clear that they are not. You need to pay the service charge as well as access charge for calls on 0870 numbers O2. In this article, we have clarified what 0870 numbers are and why and how they are charged.

Similarly, you might have more doubts regarding other telephone number prefixes or other network operator charges. You can easily find the answers to your queries on WeNumber’s website. We always aim to keep you up-to-date with the telecom industry.

WeNumber also offers a wide range of telephone numbers for our business customers. Choose and buy from our easy to memorize number collection and begin a new chapter in your business’ journey.

Our numbers also come with an impressive range of features and services to help you achieve great results.