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Free Mobile 1800 Calls Now Provided By Most Mobile Operators

Free Mobile 1800 Calls Now Provided By Most Mobile OperatorsVodafone had announced at the end of April that it would make all 1800 numbers free of charge for customers from July 1, in doing so joining Optus and Telstra.

Earlier in the year, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) called out telcos, including Vodafone, for charging Australian consumers for 1800 calls past a January 1 cut-off
date, following an initiative announced mid-last year.

ACMA noted that Vodafone had made the announcement “notwithstanding its concerns that providing free-of-charge mobile calls to 1800 numbers unfairly disadvantages mobile providers because of the way interconnect charges are calculated”.

“The Australian Communications and Media Authority understands this is an area of continuing negotiation within industry,” ACMA stated.

ACMA, however, also noted that a small number of mobile providers have yet to implement the free-of-charge calls for customers, stating that it will continue to work with the Communications Alliance and ACCAN to encourage the providers to implement the free-of-charge calls in a timely manner.

“In the interim, if making mobile calls to 1800 numbers is important to you and your provider has not yet announced that it has (or will) make calls to these numbers free of charge, you should consider the large range of providers and mobile plans which do offer calls to 1800 numbers free of charge,” ACMA advises.

ACMA stated that it considers the ongoing reform with regard to 13/1300 and 1800 numbers over the last several years, without the need for direct regulatory intervention, to be “a significant achievement”, acknowledging industry’s leadership role and the positive advocacy role played by ACCAN.