Indeed you have ever been in the situation of having to call a company or organization by phone. And indeed, in most cases, you have come across numbers that begin with the prefixes 800, 900, and derived from these, without knowing if at the end of the month the telephone bill will await you a surprise in the form of an extra cost, or if for, On the contrary, the call in question did not involve any expense.
And it is not difficult to get confused between this type of telephone number, commonly called special rate. That is why we have decided to create this guide, where we examine the characteristics of each one of them, including their prices per minute and all the information we should know about them.
Calls to 800 and 900 numbers, everything you need to know
It is logical and understandable to have doubts when deciding whether to make calls to these numbers or to accept them if they are received. After all, spam by phone is the order of the day – which has led us to reject more and more telephone communications – and it is not entirely easy to know what we will find after a phone call to a certain number.
However, it is easier than it seems to identify the cost of a call just by looking at the prefix of the phone number. And, in many cases, it is most likely that the call in question will be free.
A little history
It was in 1992 when telephone numbers started with the 900 prefixes were implemented in Spain. Initially, the idea allowed companies and organizations to offer their customers and users a single communication channel. Although initially only large companies could access them, today, even smaller independent organizations can hire these numbers.
The main peculiarity of these telephone numbers is that the calls made to them are free for the customer. Companies can assist them through helpful information or offer technical service without this impacting an extra cost for the user. . Now, who pays for these calls?
As stated by the National Markets and Competition Commission -CNMC-, this type of telephone number is known as automatic reverse charge number, which means that the companies themselves bear the costs of the calls—made by customers to their numbers with prefix 800/900.
But not everything is as beautiful as it seems on paper. As I mentioned, the cost of this type of call is borne by the company that offers the phone number, and it is the one who will ultimately have to pay the total to the customer’s telephone operator. When the call is made from a fixed network, the price is less than 1 cent per minute. The problem appears when the call is carried out through a mobile network since the price until recently was 10 cents per minute, which had led some companies to migrate their customer service services of this type from toll-free numbers to others whose calls do entail a cost for the caller.
Fortunately, the CNMC has decided to intervene in this conflict. It has been possible to set the maximum price at 4.21 cents per minute, a significant reduction compared to the previous rate. Thanks to this change, it is to be expected that companies and organizations will once again resort to the automatic collect numbers instead of migrating their customer service services to numbers that do imply a cost for the issuer.
Types of 800 and 900 numbers
Therefore, now it is clear: as long as you call a telephone number with an 800 or 900 prefix, either from a mobile or a landline, the call will be free for you. However, doubts arise as soon as other telephone numbers with special rates and additional rates come into play, implying a cost for the customer. Depending on the type, they have a different cost per minute:
In this case, the final cost is divided between the two participants of the call. In addition to the 900 and 800 numbers, it is one of the most used by companies and organizations. Within the numbers with this prefix, there are also two classes:
- Level 1 –Prefix 901 followed by 1, 2, or 3–: the price –from a fixed network– is around half the cost of a conventional national call.
- Level 2 –Prefix 901 followed by 5–: the price –from a fixed network– is somewhat higher than that of a conventional provincial call, but the cost per call establishment is lower.
Businesses mainly use the numbers with the prefix 902. It is one of the categories with which you have to be especially careful because when making a call to a number with this prefix, we assume the cost of the ring. As in the previous case, there are two different levels:
- Level 1 –Prefix 902 followed by 1, 2, 3, or 4–: the price –from a fixed network– is the cost of a conventional national call, but the cost per call establishment is lower.
- Level 2 –Prefix 902 followed by 07–: the price –from a fixed network– is somewhat higher than that of a conventional provincial call, but the cost per call establishment is lower.
If you see a phone number starting with 905, you better stay away. This prefix is used mainly by mass voting services by telephone – the specific numbers used by Reality Shows and other television or radio programs – and other commercial platforms. In general, they have a higher price than the rest of the prefixes, although it is divided into different classes:
- Level 1 –Prefix 905 followed by 1–: the price of 0.30 euros per call from a fixed network.
- Level 2 –Prefix 905 followed by 2–: the price of 0.30 euros per call establishment plus 0.20 euros of remuneration for the recipient after the first 11 seconds of the call.
- Level 2 –Prefix 905 followed by 7–: the price of 0.5 euros per call plus 0.20 euros of remuneration for the recipient from the first second of the ring.
- Level 3 –Prefix 905 followed by 4 or 5–: the price of 0.3 euros per call establishment plus 0.90 euros of remuneration for the recipient after the first 11 seconds of the call.
- Level 3 – Prefix 905 followed by 8: the price of 1.20 euros per call. Compensation of 90 cents for the recipient is already included.
Numbers 803, 806, 807 …
The vast majority of telephone operators offer their customers the option of restricting or completely blocking calls and messages to numbers with 80x prefixes. There are even those that need confirmation from the customer to activate this service. That should already give you an idea about the danger that a call to any number in this category can entail.
These are known as premium rate phone numbers since virtually no flat-rate calls cover the generally high costs of calls. They are used mainly for leisure services –tarot, entertainment, professional services, etc.– Although there is no fixed price for calls made to these numbers, it must be taken into account that the higher the third digit of the prefix, the more expensive the call will be.
In short, among all this disorder of numbers, rates, levels, and prefixes, we must keep in mind that calls to telephones with prefix 800 and 900 will be free, while the rest will entail a cost, which will depend on both the type of prefix and the network being used to make the call; fixed or mobile.
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.