03 numbers vs 08 numbers: which is cheaper?

27 November 2014

Is dialling an 03 number cheaper than dialling an 0845 number? We take a look at the real costs.

As more and more businesses change their 0845 numbers to 03, some people may end up paying more to call the new numbers than the old ones.

They are people who have a BT landline but do not pay an inclusive monthly fee that includes all calls, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If they include only weekend or evening calls, then a daytime call to a number beginning 03 outside their bundled minutes will cost more than calling an 0845 number. That's because 0845 numbers are regulated by Ofcom and limited to a fraction over 2p a minute during the day.

Normal geographic numbers 01, 02 and now 03 are not regulated and can cost a lot more outside an inclusive bundle. 

Counting up the costs

A daytime call to an 03 number will cost 16p to connect, plus nearly 10p per minute. That's £1.12 for a ten-minute daytime call. 

But calls to 0845 numbers during the day are a lot cheaper. There is still a 16p set-up charge but the charge is then around 2p a minute, so a ten-minute call would cost 37p. 

This anomaly occurs on BT. The safest way to avoid it is to buy a slightly more expensive package, that includes all calls at all times.

Is it time to ditch your landline? Weigh up the pros and cons.

*Correct at the time of publication.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.