Mobile provider Three is making calls to 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers free, while it's also cutting the cost of dialling all other 08 numbers. But customers will have to take out a new contract to take advantage.

From today, customers who sign up to one of Three's new pay monthly mobile plans can call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers for free, while the numbers won't count as part of a monthly allowance. At the moment, pay monthly customers are charged 15.3p/minute.

It's also cutting the cost of dialling all other 08 numbers, including those beginning 084 and 087, to 5p/minute. Existing customers pay up to 35p/minute for calls to these numbers.

Only those taking up one of Three's new tariffs will benefit from the move, although existing pay monthly customers can switch from their current plan to one of the new ones without paying a fee. They'll also be able to keep their existing contract end date.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom ruled last December that calls to 0800 and 0808 numbers, which are generally free to call from landlines, will become free from mobile phones too, but not until 26 June 2015.

From June 2014 a new Consumer Rights Directive will also ban traders including airlines, train operators and major high street and online retailers from using expensive premium 084 and 087 numbers for customers. consumer expert Archna Luthra says: "It's ridiculous that mobile providers charge people for dialling freephone numbers so it's a welcome move from Three.

"But don't just plump for this deal based on that. Make sure you do a full comparison to ensure the tariff gives you the minutes, texts and data that actually match what you use.

"There are many easy tricks anyone can use to get free calls to 0800 numbers."

Beat 08 number fees

The first step to take is to check whether calls are included in your mobile or home phone package. Call an 0800, 0808, or 0500 number from a landline, for example, and these are generally free.

If you can't beat the fees using your inclusive minutes, there are other nifty tricks you can use. Here are a few:

  • Use the website to search for an alternative, geographic number for many 08 numbers.
  • If you've a landline, use an override provider. This is a phone service you can access without changing your home phone provider, 'overriding' the network. You can usually undercut the big providers.
  • If you have to use your mobile, you can cut costs to 0800 numbers by using the 0800Buster or the 0800 Wizard, which provide alternative numbers.

For more information, see our Free 0800 Calls From Mobiles and Say No To 0870 guides.