News Blog

11 Nov 2013 | Filed under: Mobiles, Small Print, Telecoms

118 118 118 118 118….why does anyone dial them from a smartphone?

The adverts are innovative. They are simple and have now become part of the UK’s psyche and consciousness. Like Doctor Who or Stephen Fry. Unlike those venerable institutions, however, 118 118, if you are actually using it, is costing you a fortune.

This blog is prompted (in part) as it has annoyed me for years now and (in larger part) by O2’s recent announcement that they are raising their prices for calls to 118 118 (specifically) from the already ridiculous £3.00 per minute to the eye-watering £5.00 per minute from 12th Nov 2013.

I think that bears repeating. FIVE POUNDS PER MINUTE.

If, at the end of the call to 118 118, you allow them to put you through to your destination number, you will be charged a further £5.00 per minute for your conversation. So a 1 minute call to 118 118 to get them to put you through to a number, followed by a 5 minute conversation with the person you called will cost you (if you are an O2 user) £30.00.


If you have a Smartphone (60.4% of mobile users do), you have no excuse. Whatsoever.  Here are 3 incredibly easy ways to turn that £30.00 charge into a £0.00 charge:

1)      There is a search engine you may have heard of at which can help you find just about anything you need in FAR less time than it takes to call 118 118. Almost all listings now have a directly clickable link to ‘call’ the business you just googled. Cost = ZERO

2)      If you are a ‘brand fan’ and you just can’t get enough of those crazy moustachioed chaps, then go to (and bookmark it while you are at it). Simply type the name into the search box and hey presto! A clickable link to the number you want every time.  Cost = ZERO

3)      Use the computer you are usually sat at for either of the above methods and manually dial the number. It’s 11 digits long. I’m sure you can manage. Cost = ZERO

The advantages for personal users are obvious and don’t need reiteration.

Business-wise, if you are on an O2 mobile, as part of a fleet at your company, consider this. Let’s say there are 20 mobile users in your business and they all currently make one call per month to 118 118 like the one described above. If you all stop it, your company will save £7,200 per annum.


Or maybe you would prefer a free bar at your Christmas Party?

Stop. Now.


Lee Freeman is an Overhead Management Specialist at Auditel Leeds and is very annoyed when he sees customer’s mobile bills, which include the numbers 1, 1 and 8 in a row.

One thought on “118 118 118 118 118….why does anyone dial them from a smartphone?

  1. Great advice. There was an article on the news today about one of the service providers increasing the length of the introductory message as well that is seen as not in the best interest of the customers. FIVE POUNDS PER MINUTE for O2? Now that is eye watering.

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