Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom: Wikis


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United Kingdom telephone numbers

Location of United Kingdom (dark green)
Country United Kingdom
Continent Europe
Access codes
Country calling +44
International prefix 00
Trunk prefix 0
Dial plan
Regulator Ofcom
Type Open
NSN length 10 mostly, 9 for some areas
Typical format (01xxx) xxxxxx
(01x1) xxx xxxx
(011x) xxx xxxx
(02x) xxxx xxxx
03xx xxx xxxx
07xxx xxxxxx
08xx xxx xxxx
09xx xxx xxxx
List of United Kingdom codes

The UK telephone numbering plan, also known as the National Telephone Numbering Plan, is the system used for assigning telephone numbers in the United Kingdom. It is regulated by the UK government's Office of Communications (Ofcom), which holds responsibility for telecommunications.



Since 28 April 2001, almost all geographic numbers and most non-geographic numbers have 9 or 10 national (significant) numbers after the '0' trunk code. All mobile telephone numbers have 10 national (significant) numbers after the '0' trunk code. The overall structure of the UK's National Numbering Plan is:

Prefix Service type
01 Geographic area codes.
02 Geographic area codes (introduced in 2000).
03 Nationwide non-geographic code, charged to caller at geographic area code rates (introduced 2007).
These calls are included free in plans with "inclusive minutes", unlike 08 numbers which incur extra charge.
04 Reserved.
05 Corporate numbering and VoIP services (note: some VoIP services use 08 or geographic numbers).
06 Was reserved for possible use by Personal Numbering instead of 070 following consumer confusion with mobile phones.
07 Personal Numbering on 070, Pagers on 076, mobile phones on 075, 07624, 077, 078, and 079, WiFi numbers on 079112 and 079118.
08 Freephone (toll free) on 080, and Special Services (formerly known as local and national rate) on 084 and 087.
09 Premium Rate services.

A short sample of geographic numbers, set out in the officially approved (Ofcom) number groups:

Number Location
(020) xxxx xxxx London
(029) xxxx xxxx Cardiff
(0113) xxx xxxx Leeds
(0116) xxx xxxx Leicester
(0131) xxx xxxx Edinburgh
(0151) xxx xxxx Liverpool
(01382)  xxxxxx Dundee
(01386)  xxxxxx Evesham
(01865)  xxxxxx Oxford
(01204)   xxxxx Bolton
(0153 96) xxxxx Sedbergh
(0169 77)  xxxx Brampton

In the United Kingdom, area codes are two, three, four, or, rarely, five digits long (after the initial zero). Regions with shorter area codes, typically large cities, permit the allocation of more telephone numbers as the local number portion has more digits. Local customer numbers are four to eight figures long. The total number of digits is ten, but in a very few areas the total may be nine digits (after the initial zero). The "area code" is also referred to as an 'STD (code)' (subscriber trunk dialling) or a 'dialling code' in the UK.

The code allocated to the largest population is (020) for London. The code allocated to the largest area is (028) for all of Northern Ireland. The UK Numbering Plan also applies to three British Crown dependencies - Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man - even though they are not part of the UK itself.

For dialling the United Kingdom from overseas, Ofcom and ITU-T recommendation E.123 states that numbers be written in the form:

Number Location
+44 20 xxxx xxxx London
+44 29 xxxx xxxx Cardiff
+44 113 xxx xxxx Leeds
+44 116 xxx xxxx Leicester
+44 131 xxx xxxx Edinburgh
+44 151 xxx xxxx Liverpool
+44 1382  xxxxxx Dundee
+44 1386  xxxxxx Evesham
+44 1865  xxxxxx Oxford
+44 1204   xxxxx Bolton
+44 153 96 xxxxx Sedbergh
+44 169 77  xxxx Brampton

It is common to see the incorrect form +44 (0)xxx xxx xxxx used instead (with an additional zero in brackets). This form is not recommended by Ofcom[1] because it might confuse the reader. Callers within the United Kingdom substitute the +44 with the number zero (0). Calling +44 0xxx xxx xxxx will not work from most operators. It is therefore recommended to show the number in either the national or the international format, but not a mixture of both formats. The international format shows only those digits that overseas callers must dial.

Storing any UK telephone number in a mobile phone, or directly dialling it from the keypad, in the correct +44 <area code> <local number> international format (without the leading zero) allows the number to work when the mobile is calling out from any country of the world, including whilst still located within the UK. The mobile phone system will automatically replace the 'plus' with the appropriate International Access Code for the country one is dialling out from.



Geographic numbering

  • (01xxx) xxxxxx

This is the format used by most areas. It has a four-digit area code (after the initial zero) and a six digit subscriber number. These area codes were changed by adding a '1' directly after the initial zero as a part of PhONEday in 1995. Just short of 581 areas use this format, and the area codes range from 01200 to 01998 (except those that match the pattern 1x1 after the initial zero). A small number of these areas also have a few subscriber numbers that have only five digits. That is, almost all (01xxx) area codes now have only six digit local numbers. e.g.

01224 Aberdeen 22 = AB
01244 Chester 24 = CH
01382 Dundee 38 = DU
01429 Hartlepool 42 = HA
01482 Hull 48 = HU
01582 Luton 58 = LU
01670 Morpeth 67 = MP
01730 Petersfield 73 = PE
01736 Penzance 73 = PE
01772 Preston 77 = PR
01853 Ullapool 85 = UL
01947 Whitby 94 = WH
  • (01xxx) xxxxx

This is used for forty-one smaller towns where the subscriber number is five digits long.[2] The numbers therefore have only nine digits after the initial zero trunk code. These area codes were changed by adding a '1' directly after the initial zero as a part of PhONEday in 1995. Some of these towns have a mixture of six and five digit local numbers, others have only five digit local numbers. The number of such places has declined rapidly in recent decades. e.g.

01204 Bolton 20 = BO
01527 Redditch
01750 Selkirk 75 = SE
01900 Workington 90 = WO
01946 Whitehaven 94 = WH
  • (01x1) xxx xxxx

This is the geographical number format for the first round of five large cities moved to all figure dialling in the 1960s, and subsequently also used by Tyne and Wear/County Durham from the 1980s onwards. These six areas have a three-digit area code matching the pattern 1x1 (after the initial zero) and a seven digit subscriber number. These area codes were changed by adding a '1' directly after the initial zero as a part of PhONEday in 1995. The first three digits of the local number identifies a small area within the city.

0121 Birmingham formerly 021 (2 = B)
0131 Edinburgh formerly 031 (3 = E)
0141 Glasgow formerly 041 (4 = G)
0151 Liverpool formerly 051 (5 = L)
0161 Manchester formerly 061 (6 = M)
0171 Used for inner London until 2000
0181 Used for outer London until 2000
0191 Tyne and Wear/County Durham formerly 091
  • (011x) xxx xxxx

This is the geographical number format for the second round of large cities and towns moved to brand-new three-digit area codes. Five of these were moved in 1995 as a part of PhONEday. Reading followed several years later. At the time of the change, an extra digit was added to the subscriber number. These six areas have a three-digit area code matching the pattern 11x, with a seven-digit subscriber number. The first three digits of the local number identifies a small area within the town or city. Note that the former Reading area code had already been changed once, by adding a '1' directly after the initial zero as a part of PhONEday in 1995.

0113 Leeds formerly 0532 (53 = LE)
0114 Sheffield formerly 0742 (74 = SH)
0115 Nottingham formerly 0602 (60 = NO)
0116 Leicester formerly 0533 (53 = LE)
0117 Bristol formerly 0272 (27 = BR)
0118 Reading formerly 01734 (73 = RE)
  • (02x) xxxx xxxx

This is the newest geographical number format. It is used for the third tier of large cities and for Northern Ireland, and was formed as a part of the Big Number Change in 2000. The new area code is much shorter than the old one, and begins 02 unlike the previous 01 area codes. Numbers in these five areas are commonly misquoted, e.g. London as 0207 or Cardiff as 02920. The numbers consist of a two-digit area code matching the pattern 02x, and an eight-digit subscriber number. The first four digits of the local number identifies a small area within the town or city. At the time of the change, the subscriber part of the number gained an extra digit in London, those in Northern Ireland gained two or three digits, and the subscriber part of the number in the other areas gained two digits. All of these areas were also subject to a previous code change, one that added a '1' directly after the initial zero, as a part of PhONEday in 1995. The short area code is also known as a wide area code.

020 London formerly 0171 and 0181 (1995-2000),
071 and 081 (1990-1995), 01 (1960s-1990)
023 Southampton (023) 8xxx xxxx formerly 01703 (70 = SO)
Portsmouth (023) 9xxx xxxx formerly 01705 (70 = PO)
024 Coventry formerly 01203 (20 = CO)
028 Northern Ireland (028) 28xx xxxx Larne formerly (01574) xxxxxx
(028) 37xx xxxx Armagh formerly (01861) xxxxxx
(028) 82xx xxxx Omagh formerly (01662) xxxxxx
(028) 90xx xxxx Belfast formerly (01232) xxxxxx
(028) 92xx xxxx Lisburn formerly (01846) xxxxxx
(028) 95xx xxxx Belfast new number range
029 Cardiff formerly 01222 (22 = CA)
  • (01xxxx) xxxxx and (01xxxx) xxxx

This is the oldest geographical number format and is used for twelve smaller towns and villages where the subscriber number is either four or five digits long. Note that therefore the STD code and the subscriber number doesn't always total ten digits after the initial zero trunk code. These area codes were changed by adding a '1' directly after the initial zero as a part of PhONEday in 1995. The number of places using these two formats has declined rapidly in recent decades and Hallbankgate/Brampton is the last place in the UK with four-digit local numbers.

013873 Langholm
015242 Hornby
015394 Hawkshead
015395 Grange-over-Sands
015396 Sedbergh
016973 Wigton
016974 Raughton Head
016977 Hallbankgate/Brampton
017683 Appleby
017684 Pooley Bridge
017687 Keswick
019467 Gosforth

National Dialling Only ranges

These ranges have subscriber numbers beginning with the digits '0' or '1', eg:

01332 050xxx Derby
01382 006xxx Dundee
0141 005 xxxx Glasgow
0117 101 xxxx Bristol
0118 00x xxxx Reading
020 0003 xxxx London

These numbers are mostly used as the termination points for non-geographic numbers, and by some automated systems such as alarms. As such they are not usually meant to be directly dialled. In order to avoid confusion with codes beginning with these digits, the area code must always be dialled, even from within the same geographic exchange. These numbers have been problematic as some mobile phone operators in the UK do not allow access to these ranges, and there may also be difficulty accessing these numbers from outside the UK.

Non-geographic numbering

  • 03xx xxx xxxx — 'UK-wide' numbering.

On 27 July 2006, Ofcom announced that companies will soon be able to use an '03' non-geographic number, in place of other non geographic numbers (such as 0870 or 0845 numbers). Callers would be charged at the same rate as if they were calling a geographic number (01 or 02).[3] This means that customers who are benefiting from 'free' minutes on mobile phones or landlines would also be able to call these numbers using their inclusive minutes.[4] However, these calls remain chargeable by major UK Mobile Phone providers as they are not technically UK geographical numbers.[citation needed] On 13 February 2007, Ofcom released more details on their plans for the 03 range and announced that allocations of 03 numbers to providers would begin in March 2007. Three different ranges of numbers were announced; those beginning 0300/0303 are reserved for qualifying public bodies and non-profit organisations, those beginning 0330/0333, which are available for allocation to anyone, and those beginning 034x/037x which will be used for migration from the 084x and 087x number ranges respectively. Ofcom itself began using 03 numbers on 13 November 2007 for public use.[5]

030x xxx xxxx For qualifying public bodies and non-profit organisations as defined by Ofcom
033x xxx xxxx For any end user
034x xxx xxxx Migration range for operators who have 084x numbers
037x xxx xxxx Migration range for operators who have 087x numbers
  • 05x xxxx xxxx — Reserved for corporate numbering.

Unlike 03 numbers there is no uniform pricing for 05 numbers; BT charge a number of different rates depending on the number dialled.[6] Some are charged at geographic rate, others not, and unlike 03 numbers, other operators are not required to charge the same rates as BT for calling 05 numbers.

055 xxxx xxxx Corporate Numbering (but also used by BT for its Broadband Voice service)
056 xxxx xxxx Allocated by Ofcom for LIECS (Location Independent Electronic Communications Services), such as VoIP services
  • 0500 xxxxxx — Freefone services allocated before 1999.

The 0500 range is used for some freephone services which were originally provided by Mercury Communications Ltd (now Cable & Wireless). These numbers are different from the rest of the 05 range in that they are only 10 digits in length, e.g. 0500 288291 (BBC Radio 2), as they were allocated before the 05 range was assigned to corporate numbering.

0500 xxxxxx[7] "Freephone" (free to call from landline, up to 40p per minute from mobile).

Individual mobile phone companies are allocated different ranges within the 075xx, 07624, 077xx, 078xx and 079xx area codes. Changes to mobile phone numbers were mostly straight replacements, such as Vodafone customers on the 0378 block became 07778.

070 xxxx xxxx Personal Numbering
075xx xxxxxx Mobile phones (new number range in use 2007-May onwards)
076xx xxxxxx Pagers (excluding 07624, used for mobile phones on the Isle of Man)
077xx xxxxxx Mobile phones (former 03xx and 04xx — mostly Vodafone and O2 (formerly Cellnet)
078xx xxxxxx Mobile phones (former 05xx, 06xx and 08xx — mostly Vodafone and O2 (formerly Cellnet)
079xx xxxxxx Mobile phones (former 09xx — mostly Orange and T-Mobile (formerly one2one)
07911 2xxxxx
07911 8xxxxx
WiFi numbers (used by companies such as Tovo and Mobiboo)

Since the advent of Mobile number portability, mobile phone number prefixes can no longer be relied on to determine the current operator of a particular mobile phone – only the original operator.

  • 08xx xxx xxxx — Non-geographic fixed-rate, or special-rate services.

With the exception of 080x freephone numbers, these are charged above geographic rates, with the extra going to the terminating telco. This additional revenue may be shared with the subscriber, but is often used instead to subsidise additional network services, such as fax to email, virtual office applications, call queuing, voicemail and easy number redirection. None of these services are exclusive to 08xx numbers, and could be provided on any number range.

0800 xxxxxx[8]
0800 xxx xxxx
0808 xxx xxxx
"Freephone" (free to call from landline, up to 40p per minute from mobile).
0820 xxx xxxx Internet for Schools
0845 xxx xxxx Up to 5p a minute, varies daytime/evening/weekend
0844 2xx xxxx
0844 9xx xxxx
Up to 5p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 4p/minute or always 5p/minute)
0843 xxx xxxx Up to 5p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 4p/minute or always 5p/minute)
0842 xxx xxxx Up to 5p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 4p/minute or always 5p/minute)
0870 xxx xxxx Up to 8p a minute, varies daytime/evening/weekend
0871 2xx xxxx
0871 9xx xxxx
Up to 10p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 8p/minute or always 10p/minute)
0872 xxx xxxx Up to 10p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 8p/minute or always 10p/minute)
0873 xxx xxxx Up to 10p a minute but fixed (e.g. always 8p/minute or always 10p/minute)

There are also several very short 'special' numbers in these ranges, notably 0800 1111 for Childline and 0845 46 47 for NHS Direct.

  • 09xx xxx xxxx — Premium Rate Content Services

Numbers in the 09xx range are charged at the highest rates of any calls within the United Kingdom, and are controlled by various regulations regarding their use. The regulator is PhonepayPlus, formerly known as ICSTIS. There are a large number of charge bands, some with high pence-per-minute rates, others with a high fixed-price for the entire call.

090x xxx xxxx Premium rate content services
0908 xxx xxxx
0909 xxx xxxx
Sexual entertainment services
091x xxx xxxx Premium rate non-content services
092x xxx xxxx
099x xxx xxxx
Broadband services

Crown dependencies

  • Guernsey, Alderney, Sark
(01481) xxxxxx Fixed line 48 = GU
(01481) 832xxx
(01481) 833xxx
Fixed line (Sark)
07781 xxxxxx Sure mobile phones and pagers
07911 xxxxxx Wave Telecom mobile phones
07839 xxxxxx Airtel Vodafone mobile phones
  • Jersey
(01534) xxxxxx Fixed line 53 = JE
07797 xxxxxx
07937 xxxxxx
Jersey Telecom mobile phones and pagers
07700 xxxxxx Sure mobile network
  • Isle of Man
(01624) xxxxxx Fixed line 62 = MA
07624 xxxxxx Mobile phones and paging services
07924 xxxxxx Mobile phones additional capacity

On the Isle of Man, both fixed and mobile phone numbers can be dialled locally in the six-digit format.

Although calls from UK landlines to landlines in the islands are charged at the same rate as those to other UK landlines (i.e. they are not treated as international calls), calls may be excluded from calling plans offering unlimited UK fixed line calls, and some mobile operators may also charge more. Calls and SMS messages sent to island mobile phone numbers are not charged at the same rate as calls to UK mobile phone numbers.

Fictitious numbers

Ofcom has also reserved certain number ranges for use in television dramas and films, so as to avoid the risk of people having their telephone numbers displayed, and receiving unwanted calls. This is similar to the use of fictitious telephone numbers in the United States and Canada with the digits 555.

In most of the large cities with three-digit area codes a range of numbers is reserved, usually all the numbers starting with the digits 496. For fictitious numbers in other areas the area code 01632 is reserved; this code is not in use, although 0632 was used for Newcastle upon Tyne until the late 1980s (63 = NE). There are also reserved ranges for fictitious mobile, freephone, and premium rate numbers.[9][10]

At around the same time as the other Big Number Change changes, Ofcom revised their recommendations to update the prefixes, add additional areas, and increase the size of the allocation from 10 to 1000 numbers per block. Those changes are listed in the Big Number Change article.

In Coronation Street, the fictional Manchester suburb of Weatherfield uses the unallocated range (0161) 715 xxxx.[11]

Special service numbers

Short codes beginning with 1 are reserved for telecom service providers' own functionality; some of the most well-known are codes for use with Caller Display:

141 Withhold number when normally released
1470 Release number when normally withheld
1471 Call return caller may press 3 to return call on most networks
1475 1471 erasure removes details of last call from 1471 service

The UK has two free emergency numbers — the traditional 999, which is still widely used, and the EU standard 112, which can be used in all member states of the European Union. Both 999 and 112 are used to contact all emergency services: Police, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, Mountain Rescue, Coastguard and Cave Rescue.

Both numbers can be called from mobile phones with the keylock on. If the mobile handset requires a PIN code to switch it on, both 999 and 112 can be called without entering the PIN. Some mobile phones will allow emergency calls to be attempted without a SIM card, although at present the UK networks reject such calls. From November 2009, an emergency call can be made through any UK mobile network as long there is a SIM for any valid network in the handset, no longer just one for the same network. More information about the 112 emergency number can be found at the '112 : The European emergency number' web site.

The chargeable number 101 (10p per call) was introduced for non-urgent crime and community safety calls on a trial basis in 2006. In Wales, the scheme has been taken forward by all four police forces, who adopted the number for non-emergency calls on a permanent basis in early 2009. In England the scheme remains on trial, withdrawn from some original pilot areas but since further trialled in other locations.[12]

The operator is obtained via 100, while directory enquiries, formerly 192, is now provided in the 118xxx range, e.g. 118 212, 118 800, 118 500, 118 118, by different companies. International Operator assistance is reached through "155".

From early 2010, the pan-European 116 number range comes into use for social helplines. The first three numbers likely to be issued are for Missing People who will use 116 000 for a missing children helpline, the NSPCC ChildLine on 116 111, and Samaritans who will use 116 123 for an emotional support helpline.

Fixed line telephone subscribers for BT,[13]Virgin Media[14] and TalkTalk have the opportunity to use an automated messaging service which takes messages when the called number is either engaged ("busy") or not answered within a given time. This can be accessed by calling 1571.

Since the mid 1990s speaking clock services have been available throughout Britain using the number 123. Before this, exchanges in 'Director' areas (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester) dialled 846 (TIM) (later changing to 123) and main exchanges in 'Non-Director' areas originally used "952", later changing to "80" with the introduction of STD and eventually to "8081" as other recorded services were introduced on 80X1 codes. Some mobile operators allocate other services to 123 - such as customer services or voicemail etc.

The Post Office even produced dial centre labels for use in advertisements and film/TV with a mythical exchange called VINcent plus four digits. The numerical equivalent of VIN was 846 and all the caller got was the speaking clock in the big city 'Director' areas.

Two telephone helplines within the regular code space have only eight digits, namely 0800 1111 for ChildLine and 0845 4647 for NHS Direct in England and Wales.


The telephone service in the United Kingdom was originally provided by private companies and local councils. But by 1912–13[15] all except the telephone service of Kingston upon Hull and Guernsey had been bought out by the Post Office. The Post Office also operated telephone services in Jersey until 1923 and the Isle of Man until 1969 when the islands took over responsibility for their own postal and telephone services – although the Isle of Man system remained part of British Telecom until 1987.

Post Office Telecommunications was reorganised in 1980–81[16] as British Telecommunications (British Telecom, or BT), and was the first major nationalised industry to be privatised by the Conservative government. The Hull Telephone Department was itself reconstituted as Kingston Communications, in 1987; it was sold by Hull City Council in the late 1990s and celebrated its centenary in 2004.

Director system

In November 1922 the General Post Office decided to adopt the Strowger system from the various systems it had tried and it was to include 'Directors' in the exchanges in London. Demonstration models of the 'director' exchange were shown by manufacturer ATM of Liverpool as part of the Post Office exhibits at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. However, it was not until 1927 that the first 'Director' telephone exchange was brought into service in Holborn, London and rolled out progressively across Greater London. A 3 digit code, represented by letters, identified the local exchange. Director schemes were gradually introduced in the other major cities of the UK — Birmingham, Edinburgh (although a relatively small city, it obtained seven-figure dialling for political reasons), Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

Introduction of area codes

Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) was introduced in 1958[17] to allow a caller to call another telephone directly instead of via a manual telephone exchange operator. Uniform exchange codes, usually called STD codes, were allocated for every exchange in the country, progressively as STD was rolled out. This process was not completed until 1979.[18]

The original concept was for STD to be a nationwide Director system, and in common with the Director system, the exchange codes were originally assigned based on two letters of the respective place's name and the corresponding numbers on a telephone dial. For example Aylesbury was given the STD code 0AY6, where the letter A can be found on the number 2 and the letter Y on the number 9. The letter O became a zero, such as for Bournemouth: 0BO2 where BO = 20. Originally, where a place's name began with the letter 'O' the code would begin with two zeros, such as Oxford: 0OX2 where OX = 09. These codes starting with '00' were later reallocated, freeing the prefix 00 for use by calls to the Republic of Ireland, to radiophones and to premium rate numbers.

Within a single code group area there would usually be multiple exchange buildings in various locations. The smaller exchanges might have only a few hundred lines with three-digit subscriber numbers, e.g. 200-499. Larger exchanges might have a few thousand lines with four-digit subscriber numbers, e.g. 2000-5999. The main exchange in the group would usually have five-digit subscriber numbers e.g. 20000-49999.

Population growth over the next few decades meant there was a need for more lines. This would see an exchange with existing three-digit numbers open one or more new ranges with four-digit local numbers (e.g. 5000-6999), and exchanges with existing four-digit numbers open one or more new ranges with five-digit local numbers (e.g. 60000-69999).

Since number ranges were being reused in each local exchange within a group, a series of short codes was devised to allow dialling from one local exchange to another without the need to dial the full STD code. These short codes usually began with a 7, 8 or 9. The code was often only two or three digits, but might be up to five digits long.[19]

The last digit of this short code would usually also feature as extra digits on the end of the main STD code in order to differentiate each satellite exchange within a group when dialling from another STD code area. In written form these area codes were split after the third digit to highlight this satellite exchange numbering.[20]

e.g. for 0799, Saffron Walden (SW)

(0799) xxxxx Saffron Walden
(079 982) xxx
and xxxx
(079 983) xxx
and xxxx
Great Chesterford
(079 984) xxx Ashdon
(079 985) xxx
and xxxx
(079 986) xxx Great Sampford
(079 987) xxx Radwinter
(079 988) xxx Rickling

As time wore on and number shortages became more acute, local numbers were gradually converted to five-figure or six-figure numbers, and the STD code standardised to the (0xxx) format. In many cases the initial digits of the new local number would be formed from digits cleaved from the end of the old STD code. The local number would be padded with extra fixed digits (if needed) to make up the new total length. In some cases the initial digits were changed e.g. Radwinter (079 987) 456 became Saffron Walden (0799) 500456, nowadays (01799) 500456. Post 2000, only a dozen places have long STD codes with five-digit local numbers. One area with a long STD code retains four-digit local numbering. Long STD codes are rare. Many people are not familiar with the (0xx xx), nowadays (01xx xx) format; or the now discontinued (0xx xxx) format, and often omit the space in written form.

For the Director areas a 2 or 3 digit code was used for the city. These were:

Area code City Notes
01 London Until 1990 - See 01 for London below
021 Birmingham (2 = B)
031 Edinburgh (3 = E)
041 Glasgow (4 = G)
051 Liverpool (5 = L)
061 Manchester (6 = M)

The codes 071, 081, and 091 were reserved for later expansion, with the former two eventually being temporarily allocated to London (see below).

All figure dialling

The use of names was intended to provide a mnemonic for the exchange in the same way as for the Director system, but as more and more places were given STD codes the mnemonic link became more and more obscure, and this system became unworkable. Also, international direct dialling was being introduced and as other countries (such as the USA) had different assignments of letters to digits the opportunity for confusion existed.

An earlier modification to get round this problem for European dialling was the addition of the letter Q to the digit 0, which previously represented only the letter O. This was because some French exchanges had alphabetic codes including Q, but in the event France moved to all-digit codes before direct dialling from the UK was introduced.

The use of alphabetic exchange (area) codes was abandoned in the UK in 1966 in favour of all figure numbering. As such about 60% of current area codes are still based on the original alphabetic STD.

Around this time the 091 code was also brought into use:

Area code City Notes
091 Tyne and Wear and Durham See article 0191 for migration details.

Calls to the Republic of Ireland

Until the late 1980s, calls to major towns and cities in the Republic of Ireland could also be made using short codes starting with 000:

0001 – Dublin 01 area
0002 – Cork 021 area
0004 – Dundalk 042 area
0005 – Waterford 051 area
0006 – Limerick 061 area
0007 – Letterkenny 074 area
0009 – Galway 091 area

This was discontinued in the late 1980s, so that all calls to the Republic of Ireland from the UK had to be dialled in the normal international format using the international access code (initially 010 until 1995, and then 00) and country code (353).

Calls could also be made using the full international dialling code since the introduction of International Direct Dialling.

While most of the Republic of Ireland could be direct dialled, a small number of rural areas did not have an automated telephone service until the 1980s. As a result, calls from the UK to these areas had to be made through the BT operator who connected the calls to their Irish counterpart for completion. Unlike other international calls, these were handled by the BT national operator, in the same way as UK operator calls. This service was withdrawn at noon on 28 May 1987 when the last manual exchange in Ireland, at Mountshannon, County Clare, was switched over to an Alcatel E10 digital exchange. This completed Telecom Eireann's rural digitalisation project.

Although full international dialling is now used, calls from Northern Ireland landlines to landlines in the Republic are charged at UK national or local rates, and calls from Great Britain to the Republic are charged at a special "Republic of Ireland" rate, higher than inland rates, but lower than those for elsewhere in Western Europe. Additionally, calls to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland can be made without an international access code, but instead replacing the British 028 prefix with an Irish 048 area code which specifically covers Northern Ireland. For example, calling Belfast from London would be 028 90xx xxxx while calling Belfast from Dublin would be 048 90xx xxxx.

See also: Telephone numbers in the Republic of Ireland.

Number shortage

With growth in second phone lines, direct dial-in (DDI) lines, fax machines and multiple telecoms operators during the 1980s the demand for telephone numbers exceeded the available number ranges. A number of changes were to be made to the UK numbering plan. All these stages were planned out in one exercise in the early 1980s, though the exact dates for each stage was decided later.

Splitting 01 for London into 071 and 081

The first major change was in May 1990, when the London 01 area code was replaced with 071 and 081. Local numbers remained seven digits long. Exchanges in central London used the 071 code. The remaining exchanges now used the 081 code and formed a ring around the 071 area.[21] Although this effectively doubled the available numbers from eight to sixteen million, it was not to be the last change for the capital.

Area New numbering Old numbering
Inner London 071-xxx xxxx 01-xxx xxxx
Outer London 081-xxx xxxx 01-xxx xxxx

This change freed up the entire 01 code range for the next step of the plan: converting all geographic area codes to 01. That operation would then free up the whole of the 02 to 09 range for a future re-organisation of some geographic and all mobile and non-geographic numbers. Most areas would see two code changes over the next decade, whilst London would have a total of three. It would be a decade before this inner/outer London split was eventually nullified.

Consumers were already becoming confused as to what they would be charged for any particular call, with for example (0404) xxxxx being a call to Honiton in Devon and (0403) xxxxxx being a much more expensive call to a mobile phone. The situation in the early 1990s was as follows:

Number prefix Example of geographic use Non-geographic services using other prefixes in same 0x range
01 Not used Freephone, local and premium rate services[22]
02 Aberdeen (0224) Not used
03 Dover (0304) Freephone; mobile; local, national and premium rate services
04 Gloucester (0452) Mobile; national rate
05 Kinross (0577) Freephone; mobile; national rate
06 Newbury (0635) Local and premium rate services
07 Romford (0708) Personal numbers
08 Tamworth (0827) Freephone; mobile; local, national and premium rate services
09 York (0904) Freephone; mobile; local, national and premium rate services

The next few changes would fix these problems.


Geographic numbers

On "PhONEday", 16 April 1995, the digit "1" was inserted into all UK geographic area codes. Promotion of this day included special Easter eggs. Under the new changes, for example, Inner London's 071 became 0171; Outer London's 081 became 0181. A small selection of the codes that changed are shown in the table below:

Area New numbering Old numbering
Coventry (01203) xxxxxx (0203) xxxxxx
Birmingham (0121) xxx xxxx 021-xxx xxxx
Cardiff (01222) xxxxxx (0222) xxxxxx
Edinburgh (0131) xxx xxxx 031-xxx xxxx
Derby (01332) xxxxxx (0332) xxxxxx
Dundee (01382) xxxxxx (0382) xxxxxx
Evesham (01386) xxxxxx (0386) xxxxxx
Glasgow (0141) xxx xxxx 041-xxx xxxx
Hull (01482) xxxxxx (0482) xxxxxx
Liverpool (0151) xxx xxxx 051-xxx xxxx
Jersey (01534) xxxxxx (0534) xxxxxx
Luton (01582) xxxxxx (0582) xxxxxx
Manchester (0161) xxx xxxx 061-xxx xxxx
Southampton (01703) xxxxxx (0703) xxxxxx
Inner London (0171) xxx xxxx 071-xxx xxxx
Reading (01734) xxxxxx (0734) xxxxxx
Outer London (0181) xxx xxxx 081-xxx xxxx
Tyne and Wear/County Durham (0191) xxx xxxx 091-xxx xxxx

This was done with a view to reorganising the numbering plan at a later date, so that the first two digits would indicate the type of service called:

Area code prefix Service type
00 International dialling
01 Geographic area codes
02 New geographic area codes
03 Originally reserved for new geographic area codes, but later used
for non-geographic number ranges, charged at geographic rates.
04 Reserved
05 Corporate numbering
06 Formerly reserved for future personal numbering
07 Mobile phones, pagers and personal numbering
08 Freephone and shared cost / special rates
09 Premium rate

The international access code also changed on 'PhONEday', from 010 to 00.

Five new area codes were introduced for cities that were running low on phone numbers — and a digit was prepended to each existing local number.

City New numbering Old numbering Notes
Leeds (0113) 2xx xxxx (0532) xxxxxx 53 = LE
(0113) 3xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 1997.
(0113) 8xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2006.
Sheffield (0114) 2xx xxxx (0742) xxxxxx 74 = SH
(0114) 3xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2004.
Nottingham (0115) 9xx xxxx (0602) xxxxxx 60 = NO
(0115) 8xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 1997.
(0115) 7xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2006.
(0115) 2xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2009.
Leicester (0116) 2xx xxxx (0533) xxxxxx 53 = LE
(0116) 3xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2004.
(0116) 4xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2009.
Bristol (0117) 9xx xxxx (0272) xxxxxx 27 = BR
(0117) 2xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2007.
(0117) 3xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 1997.

Most of the initial local number ranges created by the Big Number Change were exhausted within just a few years. New local numbers then began to be allocated with a different initial digit. For example, in Sheffield (0114) when the 2xx xxxx numbers were exhausted, new numbers (other than old recycled ones) then began to be issued from the 3xx xxxx range. Similarly, newly allocated numbers in Leeds (0113), Leicester (0116) and Bristol (0117) also came from the 3xx xxxx range, but in Nottingham (0115), the new numbers instead came from the 8xx xxxx range.

Less than a decade later, another new range was opened in most of these areas, but this time new Reading and Leicester numbers are in the 4xx xxxx range, new Bristol numbers are in the 2xx xxxx range, new Nottingham numbers are in the 7xx xxxx range and new Leeds numbers are in the 8xx xxxx range.[23]

National dialling only numbers
City New numbering Old numbering Notes
Leeds 0113 0ax xxxx 0532 0xxxxx 53 = LE
0113 1ax xxxx 0532 1xxxxx
Sheffield 0114 0ax xxxx 0742 0xxxxx 74 = SH
0114 1ax xxxx 0742 1xxxxx
Nottingham 0115 0ax xxxx 0602 0xxxxx 60 = NO
0115 1ax xxxx 0602 1xxxxx
Leicester 0116 0ax xxxx 0533 0xxxxx 53 = LE
0116 1ax xxxx 0533 1xxxxx
Bristol 0117 0ax xxxx 0272 0xxxxx 27 = BR
0117 1ax xxxx 0272 1xxxxx

Changes between PhONEday and the Big Number Change

Geographic numbers
Area New numbering Old numbering[24] Notes
Reading (0118) 9xx xxxx (0734) xxxxxx →
(01734) xxxxxx
73 = RE; changed between 1996 and 1998, not on PhONEday[25]
(0118) 3xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 1998.
(0118) 4xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, issued from 2009.

Reading numbers endured two changes in a very short time. PhONEday, on 16 April 1995, changed the area code from 0734 to 01734, and then almost a year later, on 8 April 1996, it changed again to (0118). At that time, local numbers were changed from six to seven digits by inserting a 9 in front of the old local number. Parallel running of the old numbering was withdrawn on 9 January 1998.

Around this time, some new number ranges were already being allocated and used for mobile phone numbers. These new ranges already fitted into the new numbering scheme of 07xxx xxxxxx. The rest of the older mobile phone numbers, those already in use for many years (and at that time, both one-digit shorter, and having codes scattered throughout the 03 to 09 range) would be brought into this 07x numbering scheme a few years later, both by changing the code to the 07x range, and by adding an additional digit.

National dialling only numbers
Area New numbering Old numbering[24] Notes
Reading 0118 0ax xxxx 01734 0xxxxx 73 = RE; changed between 1996 and 1998, not on PhONEday[25]
0118 1ax xxxx 01734 1xxxxx

Big Number Change

Geographic numbers

On 22 April 2000 the second phase of the plan came into operation, dubbed the "Big Number Change". With 02x area codes freed up by the previous reorganisation, they could be re-used. These areas had already had a code change (to insert a '1') five years earlier as a part of PhONEday. The Big Number Change altered the area codes again, as well as making the local number two digits longer (London: one digit longer).

Area New numbering Old numbering[24] Notes
London (020) 7xxx xxxx 0171-xxx xxxx Used for existing inner London numbers and new numbers London-wide.
(020) 8xxx xxxx 0181-xxx xxxx Used for existing outer London numbers and new numbers London-wide.
(020) 3xxx xxxx   New phase of numbers, released London-wide from June 2005.
Southampton (023) 80xx xxxx (01703) xxxxxx 70 = SO
(023) 81xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, released from 2005.
Portsmouth (023) 92xx xxxx (01705) xxxxxx 70 = PO
(023) 93xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, released from 2005.
Coventry (024) 76xx xxxx (01203) xxxxxx 20 = CO
(024) 77xx xxxx   New phase of numbers, released from 2005.
Cardiff (029) 20xx xxxx (01222) xxxxxx 22 = CA
(029) 21xx xxxx   New phase of numbers released from June 2005.
Northern Ireland
Example given is Belfast - see below
(028) 90xx xxxx (01232) xxxxxx 23 = BE
(028) 95xx xxxx   New phase of numbers released from 2005.

Note that although Southampton and Portsmouth are one code from a code structure and local dialling point of view, as of January 2006 calls between them are not local calls and the "codes" (023) 8xxx and (023) 9xxx are treated as separate by the BT site for determining local call area.

It is planned that the new codes will eventually cover a larger area than at present. For example, although (029) currently covers just the Cardiff area, it may in the future cover all of Wales.[26]

The code for Northern Ireland is (028). The transition codes for Northern Ireland are shown below. These can be accessed from the Republic of Ireland using either the domestic code 048, or the international prefix 00 44 28.

The prefixes for existing numbers in Northern Ireland are split up into 7 groups, roughly based upon the county in which the main exchange is based. The initial digit of each phone number is based on the designated county - for example, the first county alphabetically is County Antrim so numbers in this county start 2. The next county is County Armagh so numbers here start 3. One exception to this is the Greater Belfast area, initial digit 9, which is extended to include each adjacent former STD code area, including the towns of Bangor, (County Down) (91), Lisburn (92), Carrickfergus (93), Antrim (94) and Saintfield (97). The encompassed former STD codes at some points extend to over 20 miles from Belfast itself. There is a much more complete list in the Big Number Change article.

Town/city Region New numbering Old numbering[24]
Larne County Antrim (028) 28xx xxxx (01574) xxxxxx
Armagh County Armagh (028) 37xx xxxx (01861) xxxxxx
Newcastle County Down (028) 437x xxxx (013967) xxxxx
Enniskillen County Fermanagh (028) 66xx xxxx (01365) xxxxxx
Limavady County Londonderry (028) 777x xxxx (015047) xxxxx
Omagh County Tyrone (028) 82xx xxxx (01662) xxxxxx
Belfast Greater Belfast (028) 90xx xxxx (01232) xxxxxx
Lisburn Greater Belfast (028) 92xx xxxx (01846) xxxxxx
National dialling only numbers
Area New numbering Old numbering[24] Notes
London 020 01xx xxxx 0171-0xx xxxx A non-trivial relationship maps the old blocks
of numbers to the new number blocks.[27]
020 11xx xxxx 0171-1xx xxxx
020 00xx xxxx 0181-0xx xxxx
020 10xx xxxx 0181-1xx xxxx
Southampton 023 110x xxxx 01703 0xxxxx 70 = SO
023 111x xxxx 01703 1xxxxx
Portsmouth 023 100x xxxx 01705 0xxxxx 70 = PO
023 101x xxxx 01705 1xxxxx
Coventry 024 100x xxxx 01203 0xxxxx 20 = CO
024 101x xxxx 01203 1xxxxx
Cardiff 029 100x xxxx 01222 0xxxxx 22 = CA
029 101x xxxx 01222 1xxxxx
Non-geographic, and mobile and pager numbers

In addition, mobile and pager numbers were all moved into the 07xxx range. Pagers moved into 076xx, while personal numbers moved to 070. Mobile phone numbers moved into the 077xx, 078xx and 079xx ranges (and more recently, 075xx has also been brought into use).

The exception to this was Manx Telecom mobile phone numbers, where the code became 07624 in order to match the 01624 used for landlines.

In addition, lower and higher rate non-geographic numbers (previously called lo-call and national-rate numbers, though these terms are no longer recommended to be used as they can be misleading[citation needed]) migrated to 08xx and premium rate numbers migrated to 09xx.

A summary of the migration path for the existing mobile and pager codes, as they were at the time, is shown below:

Mobile phone numbers Pager numbers
Code before migration Code after migration Code before migration Code after migration
03ABC 077AB 01ABC 076BC
04ABC 077AB 04ABC 076BC
05ABC 078AB 09AB 076AB
08ABC 078AB
09ABC 079AB
020 for London

The number change meant that London returned to a single area code again (as in the old 01 days), with no "inner/outer" split. Existing London numbers acquired the prefixes 7 or 8, but from that point on (020) 7xxx xxxx and (020) 8xxx xxxx numbers were assigned or reused anywhere in the London area covered by the single (city-wide) 020 code.

From June 2005 the regulator, Ofcom, ceased to allocate new number blocks to suppliers in the 7xxx xxxx and 8xxx xxxx ranges. From this date onwards all number allocations were in the 3xxx xxxx range and can be used anywhere in the London 020 area. Although new blocks of 7xxx xxxx and 8xxx xxxx range numbers are no longer being allocated to suppliers, those that have not yet exhausted their existing blocks are able to continue to issue and re-issue them to their customers.

Numbers in the 020 0xxx xxxx and 020 1xxx xxxx number ranges have also been made available. However, these numbers cannot be dialled without the 020 code and are called "national dialling only" numbers. A small number of these blocks are used by numbers migrated from old 0171-0xx xxxx, 0171-1xx xxxx, 0181-0xx xxxx, and 0181-1xx xxxx "national dialling only" numbers. They are mainly used as termination points for non-geographic numbers, and for various alarm and other automated systems where the actual telephone number itself is never called.

It is a common misconception that London still has more than one area code (i.e. "0207" and "0208").[28] This is incorrect in the sense that omitting the "0207" or "0208" (area) code will give a local number that cannot be connected as it is missing the first digit. Therefore, writing a London number as 020x xxx xxxx is incorrect and can lead to confusion when attempting to dial it.[29]


The misconception of area code and number separation is also seen in other areas of the country where the area code length was reduced in the Big Number Change such as Coventry being written as 02476 xxxxxx, whereas the correct number sequence is (024) 76xx xxxx (Coventry now has some (024) 77xx xxxx numbers) and Cardiff being written as 02920 xxxxxx whereas the correct number sequence is (029) 20xx xxxx (Cardiff now has some (029) 21xx xxxx numbers).

This also occurs in some areas of Northern Ireland, that previously had 5-digit and 6-digit local numbers like in Banbridge (previously (018206) xxxxx), where numbers are still erroneously written as 028406 xxxxx instead of (028) 406x xxxx. Locals still misquote the area code as 028406, seven years after the change. The same occurs in formerly six-digit code areas, such as Lisburn (previous (01846) xxxxxx) continues to frequently appear as 02892 xxxxxx instead of the correct form (028) 92xx xxxx.

This is also seen in the earlier PhONEday areas, such as in Sheffield, for (0114) 2xx xxxx numbers, where these are often seen written as 01142 xxxxxx or are missing the leading digit 2 when abbreviated (751234 instead of 275 1234 for example).[30] This is a particular problem now that (0114) 3xx xxxx local numbers are being issued.[31]

It also affects Reading numbers where these are still being written as 01189 xxxxxx, whereas the correct number sequence is (0118) 9xx xxxx. Now that Reading has some (0118) 3xx xxxx numbers mis-dialling also occurs when people prefix 3xx xxxx numbers with 01189 instead of just 0118.[32]

In all of these areas, the result of the confusion is that callers are adding an incorrect area code to numbers allocated within the new local number ranges, and that then results in a mis-dialled call.

2003 area name changes

Ofcom organised the renaming of some areas for consistency in 2003:[33]

Geographic area code Geographic area name in draft plan Geographic area name in plan
01233 Ashford Ashford (Kent)
01248 Bangor Bangor (Gwynedd)
01268 Canvey Island Basildon
01355 Kilbride East Kilbride
01357 East Kilbride Strathaven
01375 Stanford-le-Hope Grays Thurrock
01438 Knebworth Stevenage
01507 Alford (England) (4) Alford (Lincs) (4)
01562 Stourbridge Kidderminster
01684 Hanley Swan Malvern
01821 Kinross Kinrossie
01931 Bampton Shap
01932 Esher Weybridge
01975 Alford (Scotland) (5) Alford (Grampian) (5)
01994 Whitland St Clears
028 Newcastle (43) Newcastle (Co. Down) (43)
028 Bangor (91) Bangor (Co. Down) (91)

'08' Consumer Protection

Under plans, rates charged to people calling an 08 telephone number would be made clearer by linking the cost of the call to the third digit. Numbers starting 080 would be free (except from mobile phones), while 082 would be cheaper than 089.

Reform of 070 personal numbering

Ofcom had considered that personal numbers should migrate to 06, to replace the 070 prefix that is sometimes confused with mobile phone numbers.[citation needed] There is no cap on retail caller charges. Ofcom wanted 070 and 06 numbers to have a price cap, and 07 numbers to be used exclusively for mobile phones. Companies such as Hospedia (formerly Patientline) use 070 personal numbers. After an in-depth study to better understand the market, Ofcom has changed its mind and is now proposing to drop the 060 migration concept and decided that the forced migration to 060 is no longer seen to be objectively justifiable.[34][35]

Number conservation

As the number of lines in use continues to grow some areas are close to full capacity. More area code changes are likely for a small number of areas in future years. In the late-1990s, Ofcom signalled a number of areas of concern, of which only Coventry has been addressed.

By 2005 By 2012
01202 Bournemouth 01204 Bolton
01203 Coventry 01344 Ascot
01223 Cambridge 01582 Markyate
01224 Aberdeen 01604 Northampton
01273 Brighton 01706 Rochdale
01274 Bradford 01733 Peterborough
01332 Derby 01753 Iver
01483 Guildford
01642 Middlesbrough
01772 Preston
01782 Stoke-on-Trent
01865 Oxford
01902 Wolverhampton
01942 Wigan

See also


  1. ^ Ofcom (2003-05-07). "A User's Guide to Telephone Numbering". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  2. ^ There remain a few places with the standard 01xxx area code but which have both six-digit and five-digit local numbers, or have only five-digit local numbers. These area codes include 01204, 01208, 01254, 01276, 01297, 01298, 01363, 01364, 01384, 01386, 01404, 01420, 01460, 01461, 01480, 01488, 01524, 01527, 01562, 01566, 01606, 01629, 01635, 01647, 01659, 01695, 01697, 01726, 01744, 01750, 01768, 01827, 01837, 01884, 01900, 01905, 01935, 01946, 01949, 01963 and 01995.
  3. ^ Ofcom (2007-08-15). "Ofcom General Conditions" (PDF). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  4. ^ Ofcom (2007-02-13). "Ofcom introduces UK-wide 03 numbers". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  5. ^ Ofcom. "Contacting Ofcom". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  6. ^ BT. "BT Price List". British Telecommunications PLC. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  7. ^ Older pre-PhONEday 0500 six-figure numbers were left as six-figure numbers after PhONEday. No new 0500 numbers were released after PhONEday.
  8. ^ Older pre-PhONEday 0800 six-figure numbers were left as six-figure numbers after PhONEday. All new 0800 numbers released after PhONEday have seven figures.
  9. ^ Oftel/Ofcom (1999-06-01). "Oftel/Ofcom Numbering Bulletin 38 - including Numbers Used For Drama. ca. 1999". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  10. ^ Ofcom (2004-10-26). "Ofcom - Numbering Policy - Telephone Numbers for drama purposes (TV, Radio etc). ca. 2004". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  11. ^ Ofcom. "Code and number blocks - 1400 00 to 1799 99" (XLS). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  12. ^ GLA. "101 - a New Number to Report It". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  13. ^ Tim Richardson (2001-06-29). "BT to offer free voicemail from Monday". The Register. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  14. ^ "Other telephone features" (PDF). Telephone price guide. Virgin Media. 2006-10-20. pp. 3. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  15. ^ "Events in Telecommunications History - 1912". BT Group. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  16. ^ "Events in Telecommunications History - 1981". BT Group. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  17. ^ "Events in Telecommunications History - 1958". BT Group. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  18. ^ "Events in Telecommunications History - 1979". BT Group. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  19. ^ Roger W. Haworth (2004-12-16). "An introduction to UK Local Dialling Codes as they were until the late 1970s". Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  20. ^ David Inman, London South Bank University (2003-03-03). "UK STD codes". Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  21. ^ Associated Press (1990-05-06). "London Will Divide Its Telephone Prefix, Fraying Composure". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  22. ^ Includes codes such as 01399, 01426, 01459, 01523, 01893, both before and after PhONEday.
  23. ^ Ofcom. "The National Numbering Scheme : Telephone Numbers administered by Ofcom". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  24. ^ a b c d e These areas had added a '1' to the area code at PhONEday. Previous to that, these codes were 0xxx with six-figure local numbers, except London and parts of NI. London codes were previously 0x1 with seven-figure local numbers. NI codes added a '1' at PhONEday but some areas previously had longer codes than shown, paired with shorter numbers that were often only four or five digits long.
  25. ^ a b Oftel/Ofcom (1997-11-26). "Oftel/Ofcom Numbering Bulletin 34 : Reading Code Change". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2005-05-05. 
  26. ^ Ofcom (2001-03-20). "National Code & Number Change Framework Document. Issue 20 March 2001. 2.14.3 Use of (029) code for other areas in Wales" (DOC). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  27. ^ Ofcom (2001-03-20). "National Code & Number Change Framework Document" (DOC). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  28. ^ Ofcom (2009-08-20). "Telephone numbers – the facts and figures : (Boxout) Is it (020) 7 or 0207?". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  29. ^ Ofcom (2004-12-30). "Q&A: New telephone number range for Greater London (020) area" (PDF). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2006-06-15. 
  30. ^ "The 0114 area code". Sheffield Forums. 2003-06-14. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  31. ^ David Walsh (2009-06-23). "Calling Sheffield (0114) 3". Sheffield Star. Retrieved 2009-07-16.  Sheffield Star article showing people incorrectly dialling area code as 01142 and getting wrong number for new (0114) 3xx xxxx numbers.
  32. ^ Reporter (2007-04-07). "Newbury Today - Dialling mix up on hospital calls". Newbury Today. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  33. ^ Ofcom (2002-07-22). "The National Telephone Numbering Plan : Appendix A : Geographic Area Codes". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  34. ^ Ofcom (2009-02-27). "Review of the 070 personal numbering range: Summary". Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  35. ^ Ofcom (2009-02-27). "Review of the 070 personal numbering range" (PDF). Office of Communications. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 

External links

Simple English

Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom are as follows:



01 and 02 - Geographic Numbers

Numbers beginning 01 or 02 are normal phone numbers for home and business telephone lines. These numbers are always split into two parts:

  • The area code comes first, and is linked to a specific part of the country. For example, the 020 area code is for London and the 0121 code is for Birmingham. When calling between two phones that have the same area code, this part is optional. It is sometimes shown inside brackets to make this clear.
  • The second part, usually separated from the code by a space, is known as the 'local number' or 'subscriber number'. It is normally 6, 7 or 8 digits long but can sometimes be shorter. This is always unique within an area code. For example, only one person in Manchester could have the number 9460018.

Examples: (020) 7946 0018, (01632) 402881, (0117) 504 1102

03 - UK-Wide Numbers

Numbers beginning with 03 are for businesses, government and other organisations that need a number not linked to any single part of the country. The law says they must always cost the same to call as normal 01 and 02 phone numbers.

05 - Businesses and Internet Phones

055 numbers used by big businesses that need a lot of numbers for their own private phone networks. 056 numbers are used for internet phone services and let people call an internet phone from a normal telephone. Internet phones can also use other types of numbers. 0500 numbers are free to call.

07 - Mobile and Personal Numbers

These numbers are for mobile phones and similar mobile services:

  • 070 numbers are 'personal numbers' that people and business use to forward calls as they move around between different phones
  • 076 numbers are for pagers (except for 07624 which is mobile phones)
  • All other numbers beginning 07 are for mobile phones

08 - Special Rate

These are numbers that are charged at a different price to normal phone calls.

  • 0800 and 0808 numbers are free from fixed telephones and sometimes from mobiles
  • Numbers starting with 084 are lower-rate special numbers that cost about 5p per minute from a BT home phone
  • Numbers starting with 087 are higher-rate special numbers that cost about 10p per minute from a BT home phone

Prices can be a lot higher from mobile phones for these numbers.

09 - Premium Rate

These are more expensive numbers costing up to £1.50 per minute. They are used to pay for services, for recorded information, for dating and for voting in competitions.

Specific Numbers

Operator: 100

Current time: 123 (not available from some mobiles)

Emergency services: 999 or 112

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