What are 076 numbers? What’s the cost implications of calling 076 numbers?

saynoto1890_slider_1_faqIn my recent February 2016 – confirming the Geographic Alternative Numbers Updated Across the SayNoTo1890.com website, I indicated that there would be some follow ups to the issue raised by a number of users of this website regarding 076 numbers. As one correspondent said some time ago:

I have been lately waging my own battles with some government bodies over their use of non-geographic numbers and have come across the latest scam called 076 and 0761 numbers.

I’m not sure it’s a “scam” as such, but 076 numbers are now an issue for mobile phone users in the same way as 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers are. The costs are upwards on 30c per minute, but more particularly calls to 076 numbers are in most cases not deducted from minute bundles on mobile phone contracts. This is despite the fact that the introduction by such government departments was intended to reduce call costs for customers.

While there are a number of organisations who do provide an 076 contact number, it was likely when the Water Conservation Grant Section provided one last year that most people encountered an 076 number for the first time.

What is an 076 Number?

076 is the prefix originally by designated by COMREG for use when calling VOIP phones. VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol is effectively making telephone calls over the internet. You don’t have to be on the internet yourself when you’re calling a VOIP 076 number – you can call from any regular landline or mobile phone. And these days, you don’t necessarily need to be dialling an 076 number to call someone who’s using a VOIP service.

The key thing here is that given the distinction made by COMREG for the 076 numbers, mobile phone companies are using the number as a loophole (similar to 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers) to boost their earnings.

In most cases, you’ll see companies who use 076 numbers explaining that calling such a number will cost the same as a local call. In the same way that providers of 1890 LoCall numbers will say the same thing.

The key difference here, and what’s being left out, is “from an Eir(com) landline”. That’s how costs for 1890 numbers originated, and it’s now how 076 numbers are being priced.

Mobiles Are Different (as usual)

But as we all know, similar to calling an 1890 number from your mobile, you’re most likely charged the equivalent of a mobile to mobile call. And what’s of more pain and inconvenience, in most cases, calls to 076 numbers are not deducted from your minutes bundles on your mobile phone contract.

The mobile provider 48 is the most expensive for calling an 076 number, at 50c per minute. The cheapest that I can work out is with Meteor (either Pre-Pay or Bill-Pay). In both those cases, the cost is flagged as the same as their normal minute rate, which is 15c per minute. Similarly, Vodafone Pre-Pay and Bill-Pay price plans indicates that it’s the same cost as a normal call on a mobile to call an 076 number. Neither Meteor nor Vodafone deduct 076 minutes from your free minutes bundles.

As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not always easy to find out this information given the variety of phone packages, and phone costs, and peak and off-peak – you’d almost think that your mobile provider didn’t want you to know. In fact, there is no information anywhere for any of the Three Mobile plans on how much it is to call 076 numbers.

Finally, Tesco Mobile will charge you 30c per minute to call an 076 number – on the more expensive end of the scale. But, but, on a more positive twist, they’re the only company to deduct 076 minutes from their free minutes bundles on Pre-Pay and Bill-Pay contracts.

What to do?

Basically we need to treat 076 numbers the same as 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers. That is, as much as possible, we need to hunt down and share geographic alternatives for 076 numbers.

But that’s easier said than done. I’ve today contacted these 4 government organisations who provide ONLY 076 numbers on their contact pages on their websites. The don’t provide any geographic alternatives, and they’re the most popular organisations for people to be contacting me here. These are:

  • Money Advice & Budgeting Service
    • MABS Helpline 0761072000
  • Insolvency Service of Ireland
    • Information and General Enquiries 0761064200
    • Case Management Division 0761064200
    • Bankruptcy Division 0761064232
    • Regulation Division 0761064234
  • Citizens Information
    • Phone Service 0761074000
    • Website Team 0761079000
  • Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)
    • SUSI Support Desk 0761087874

So, if you have geographic alternatives for these numbers already, please let me know and I’ll update the website so others can benefit. Alternatively, if you know of other 076 numbers and other geographic alternatives, let me know and I’ll update the website.


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10 Responses to What are 076 numbers? What’s the cost implications of calling 076 numbers?

  1. colm tumbleton 12th December 2016 at 23:44 #

    The but but re Tesco and 076 from bundles. They are no longer taken from bundles. Tesco rep told me today they could no longer afford to include it in bundles. So the last network has fallen. So unless you have extra credit over and above your bundles subscription you simply cannot Call 076….from mobiles. All those government agencies and services including the HSE ARE off limits. They should be ashamed if themselves!!! I had to top up my mobile today just to call the HSE and the call cost me 5 euro……they need to be taken to task on this. Only in Ireland!!!!!

  2. Johnno 29th December 2016 at 17:57 #

    This corruption is no less than a lousy ‘numbers racket’! – legalised extortion- with the approval of a degenerate government. This corruption should be made an election issue – in the near future, I hope.

    Recently, Electric Ireland refused to do business with a customer who rang them on a line other than their lucrative 1850 number – and insisted that the 1850 number had to be used!

    Despite severe pressure, Electric Ireland staff steadfastly refused to do business, stating that they would “get in trouble” if they accepted the non 1850 call!

    Needless to say, as a result of this spineless conduct, Electric Ireland lost a good, prompt-paying customer!

    If they can afford to lose such a customer, the 1850 rip-off must be very lucrative indeed!

    • zzz 13th June 2020 at 08:17 #

      You clearly don’t know. Costs of provisioning a number are exactly the same irrespective of how the number looks like. There are providers there that offer any number you want, from any numbering range, for around £10 a year – provisioning is instant, takes a couple of clicks.

  3. Divas 25th April 2017 at 22:19 #

    You say: “076 is the prefix used for calling VOIP phones.” – this whole section should be removed as it is non-sense.

    Loads of numbers in other blocks are now carried as VOIP all the way through to their destination, or to a local provider.
    Indeed, there are voip providers giving out normal geographic numbers.

    Finally, that is not the purpose or intent behind 076.

    While 076 is a right mess generally, you should remove that section about VOIP. What you are saying is nonsense.

  4. Patrick Ryan 20th September 2017 at 10:30 #

    I’ve just rung the gate1.ie help line on 076 888 8914 using the Skype app (I have a monthly subscription). Gate1 are based in Holland. I was on to them for 4 minutes and the cost was zero.

  5. P 7th December 2017 at 18:01 #

    076 numbers are charged at your standard rate on a mobile – anything usually from 20c to 35c per minute.

    Many people on bill pay have free landline calls now, but 076 are not included in this, which can be surprising to many people.

  6. daibhid 28th May 2018 at 11:33 #

    Had an issue with Eir they charge for 087 calls from my landline. They did refund after the logic of charging for this call was put to them. They said they are not included in Eir unlimited bundle for national and local calls, even though it was a national call. They initially billed me for Euro 1.10 for 7 Minute call. Another provider charged me 7 euro cent. for the same call. Therefore Eir. charged just under 16 times more. This is almost 1600% difference. These charges do not reflect the cost of providing the service. Comreg needs to get a set of ”teeth” and bite hard with these companies. The soft approach is not working with companies like Eir (Other companies charge similar or higher prices). Real VOIP calls are so much cheaper. DO NOT CALL 076 numbers use an alternative.

  7. Robert 29th April 2019 at 10:28 #

    EE from UK charge 076 numbers in Ireland £3:50 per minute plus VAT. I occasionally call a relative who uses a VIOP 076 number – more than £20 for a 6 minute call! EE have refunded recent calls but say there’s nothing they can do on an ongoing basis.

  8. Grainne Gillespie yildirim 24th May 2019 at 21:51 #


  9. michael johnson 27th August 2020 at 14:13 #

    hi, mike here in Ireland. Just been receiving a call from 076 6801823 and when i answered the person call me hung up. I called back only to find the number engaged [ network busy]. having read your articles on this number i wont be calling this or any 076 number again!
    thanks for the warning . Reagrds Mike

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