UK organisations wasting over £25,000 a year on expensive 118 calls

23 March 2011, York

A recent survey conducted by York-based Simunix, provider of the online directory enquiries service ukphonebook.com, of its 2 million plus users has revealed an alarming lack of awareness amongst its corporate customers of the true cost of calling directory enquiries from mobile phones.

Many large organisations, both private and in the public sector that provide mobile phones for employees are unaware of the unnecessary charges staff are accruing by calling 118 numbers from their mobile devices. An awareness campaign has been launched by Simunix after its market researchers found that some organisations could be saving over £25,000 a year by encouraging staff to use the mobile version of ukphonebook.com instead.

Simunix performed a study to determine exactly how much the various mobile networks charged for a one minute call to the two biggest directory enquiries providers, The Number’s 118 118 and BT’s 118 500.

The 3 network emerged as the most expensive network for calling 118 118 and 118 500, charging £2.55 and £3.58 respectively for a one minute call. Orange, T-mobile and Vodafone were all around the £2 mark with O2 emerging as the cheapest option charging £1.53 for a one minute call to either of these numbers (this is actually cheaper than dialling from a BT landline).

“We were shocked to discover how much people are paying for this information”, says James Bradley, a Marketing Executive at Simunix. “If organisations are to clamp down on this unnecessary expenditure, they need to offer their staff an alternative”.

Simunix currently provides organisations of all sizes throughout the UK with access to its own online directory enquiries service, ukphonebook.com. Many organisations have reported savings of thousands of pounds a year since incorporating the service into their systems as it removes the need to dial expensive 118 directory enquiries numbers.

The mobile version of this online directory enquiries service is now being offered to all corporate ukphonebook.com customers. Most of the UK’s police forces have already incorporated the service into their mobile operations.

James continues, “ukphonebook.com for mobiles is the perfect alternative. It’s a low cost, easily accessible source of information”.

Users of ukphonebook.com can search for telephone numbers and addresses from as little as 3p a search. If an organisation was to perform an average of 600 directory enquiries calls from mobile phones per month, they could potentially be saving up to £25,560 a year by using Corporate ukphonebook.com for mobiles instead.

The cost of calling directory enquiries, whether it is from a mobile or a landline has risen steadily since the industry was deregulated in 2002. Even dialling 118 118 or 118 500 from a BT landline costs users £1.68 and £1.65 respectively for a one minute call. Unless organisations take measures to prevent their staff from regularly calling these numbers, they will continue to lose money.

However, for those who cannot be convinced away from dialling for directory enquiries, Simunix are encouraging them to do a bit of research into the different 118 services available. John Lewis, Managing Director of Simunix says, “People will dial the number that first pops into their minds, which thanks to aggressive advertising campaigns tends to mean they are calling two of the most expensive services out there”.

He continues, “We are encouraging people to take the time to find cheaper alternatives. At Simunix we provide our own directory assistance number, 118 365 which costs 50p for a one minute call – that’s a third the price of calling 118 118 or 118 500”.

Simunix first launched the online directory enquiries service, ukphonebook.com in 1999. The public version of the website is available to private users who are given 5 free search credits daily with the option to buy more if needed. There is also a mobile version of the public website which is free to search and requires no registration. Since then, the company has gone on to introduce a number of additional directory solutions to the market including 118 365, 118-Express, TPS Manage and ZoneSearch.

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