No, 018 numbers are not currently free to call on UK mobile and landline tariffs. However the usual charges that apply when phoning these local numbers can be avoided if you have inclusive minutes remaining on your tariff, although these will still be used up unlike true freephone numbers.
Cost of phoning 018 numbers
Local numbers which start with 018 prefixes are charged at a standardised rate which applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, this consists of an access fee used to connect the call alongside a per-minute payment. However these charges can be avoided if you get inclusive minutes on your mobile tariff or a free calls bundle on your landline contract as these can be used on all 01 and 02 area code numbers. However unlike true freephone numbers which start with 0800 and 0808 prefixes you will still lose these minutes when making the call. The minimum charges for calling 018 numbers, excluding your free minutes, on each UK network are outlined for you here:
- EE landline customers who do not have a free calls bundle currently pay up to 12.5p per minute plus an access charge of 19p when phoning 018 numbers.
- Customers on an O2 Pay & Go tariff will pay 30p per minute plus a 30p access payment to call 018 numbers unless they get inclusive minutes via a rewards bundle
- Vodafone customers with a fixed landline currently pay 11.5p per minute as well as an access charge of 19p when calling local UK numbers staring with an 018 prefix.
Beware of 118 numbers
Due to their visual similarity it is important not to get confused between 018 numbers and 118 prefixes, this is because 118 numbers are charged at premium-rates. Therefore calls to these numbers can cost several pounds per minute, nor can your inclusive minutes be used to phone them instead.