While some mobile operators currently charge up to 40p per minute for calls to 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers, calls to these numbers have always been, and will remain, free when called from a giffgaff SIM card.
On 12 December 2013, Ofcom announced that 0800 and 0808 numbers will become free to call from all landline and mobile networks on 26 June 2015. However, this change does NOT apply to calls made to 0500 numbers. Mobile networks will be allowed to continue charging for these calls.
On 3 June 2014, Ofcom announced that the 0500 range of numbers will be closed on 3 June 2017. All users of these numbers have been offered the matching 0808 5 number as a replacement, e.g. 0500 112233 becomes 0808 511 2233.
Of the one million possible six-digit numbers found within the 0500 prefix, many thousands of numbers are currently active and in service. They are used by the BBC, various home shopping catalogues, several banks and insurance companies, a variety of well-known retailers, several travel companies and a selection of colleges and universities.
If they wish for their customers to be able to call them free of charge on their mobile phones from 26 June 2015, they will need to change their number by that date. While many organisations are expected to make the change from 0500 to 0808 5, not all will choose to do so. Some may already have other 0800 and 0808 numbers reserved or in service that they will wish to use. Others may decide to activate a new 03 number instead. In all cases, if they fail to change their number away from 0500 by 3 June 2017, they will lose it.
If you have any 0500 numbers in your list of contacts, make sure you check the respective organisation's official website for details of any forthcoming number changes. It may be worth making a quick call to any such 0500 number just in case there is already a recorded announcement on the line with details of what's happening.
If you're speaking to an organisation that currently uses an 0500 number and they have no idea about the forthcoming changes, point them in the direction of this Ofcom announcement.
I call Lloyds Bank on its 0500 number (0500 758 021). Albeit, the bank has a 03 and a 01 number (0345 300 0000 and 01733 347 007 respectively) for its account queries (customer service), I wonder if the formerly stated 0500 number will be converted to a 0808 5 one?
Today is the day. After three years notice, in theory, all 0500 numbers should cease to exist at some point today. As it is the weekend, in practice, the necessary work to disconnect all such numbers may not be completed until Monday.
As noted above, those who have changed their number have mostly replaced 0500 with 0808 5. However, numerous organisations are still advertising 0500 numbers seemingly unaware they will shortly cease to receive calls.