For the estimated 4.2 million Britons working from home, dialling into a conference call is a convenient way to conduct meetings remotely and save the expense of travelling to meetings. However, many people may be completely unaware of new call charges affecting the amount of money spent on conference call services, particularly if they are dialling in from a mobile phone.

On 1st July this year, Ofcom introduced charges for service numbers (numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118). Many of these numbers are used to dial in to popular conference call services and, since the changes, calls are now costing up to 95 per cent more. Despite this increase, there is little awareness of the issue and its potential impact on home workers, who may use these services regularly to connect with colleagues and clients.

The average service charge for calling the 08 numbers provided by six UK conferencing services is now an additional 6.64p per minute. Since Ofcom made its announcement, some mobile providers have also significantly increased their access rates – 02 has raised its access charge from 25p per minute to 45p per minute with other mobile phone operators charging a similar rate.

Research into conference call service providers using these service numbers shows that the average charge for a 40 minute call will now cost £11.31 from a mobile or £6.16 from a landline.

With service charges rising for numbers from some of the UK’s most popular conference call providers, many home workers may wish to consider alternatives.

By Kieron James, founder of WHYPAY?