O2 to start charging for 0845 calls

Company will in a month's time start treating calls to non- geographic numbers as out-of-bundle, the last mobile operator to do so

O2 is to start charging for calls to non-geographic numbers, bringing it in line with other UK mobile operators.

The operator, which is owned by Spanish telco Telefonica, had been the only network to include non-geographic calls, such as 0845 and 0870, as part of customers' bundled minutes.

However, from the end of September, O2 will charge for such calls separately from users' bundles, at a rate of 20p per minute for pay monthly users and 25p per minute for pre-pay users.

"From 28 September we are removing non-geographical numbers from the inclusive minutes for most of our existing customers, and we have communicated that to them today," an O2 spokesperson said on Wednesday. "These numbers have been excluded from the bundle for all new customers since April 2007. Now we are applying this rule to all customers. This change brings us in line with other operators who have excluded non-geographic numbers from bundles for some time."

The spokesperson added that O2 would retain free calls to its customer service number and to helplines such as the Samaritans and ChildLine.

O2 is the largest mobile-phone operator in the country in terms of both revenue and the size of its customer base.