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0800 NUMBERS: Important News!

UK Calling Changes

Ofcom, the communications regulator, is making changes to the way consumers are charged for calling services beginning 08. Research carried out by Ofcom has shown that people are confused about how much it costs to call these service numbers, and as a result avoid using them. The changes being introduced will make the costs more transparent and easier to understand. 

The key changes being introduced on 1st July 2015 are:

Freephone numbers will become free to call from mobiles as well as landlines – as a result there will be an increased cost of operating an 0800 or 0808 number, but the size of the increase will depend on the balance of calls that are received from callers dialling from a landline or a mobile, there will be a surcharge for all callers dialling from their mobile

The cost to call service numbers (that’s those starting 084, 087, 09 & 118) will be split into two parts;

an access charge, which will be stipulated by the caller’s phone company,

and a service charge, which will be promoted by the organisation offering the service

From the 1st of July, calls to your Freephone number(s) that originate from mobile phones will attract an additional pence per minute levy. The impact on your organisation will depend on the amount of calls that originate from mobile phones. 

You may wish to consider migrating to a UK Wide 03 number which is less costly than 0800 / 0808 numbers and does not attract a levy.  


What you need to do

Review all your promotional materials, website and advertising. When the new system comes into effect, companies and organisations that provide services using 084, 087, 09 or 118 numbers will be required to communicate charges clearly. Wherever you advertise or promote one of these numbers, you must ensure that the relevant service charge is displayed in a prominent position, and in close proximity to the telephone number in all cases.

Check the wording, as an example, a statement along the lines of “Calls will cost 5 pence per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge” is likely to be considered compliant – but we recommend you seek individual advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) at -advertisers and visit the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practise) website for information about the types of marketing materials you need to update.


Your new pricing information must be ready to go in your advertising, promotional material and communications from the point of change, which is expected to be 1st July 2015.

If you wish to review the changes in more detail there is a useful website that can be accessed by going to:

This is a major change within the industry and our carriers have been working closely with Ofcom and other communications providers in determining the new system. We’re confident this will provide a fair and simpler system for consumers.

From your perspective it’s also a good opportunity to review the way your customers contact you and make some changes if necessary. 

Please do share this information with anyone else in your organisation that will need to know; marketing and communications teams, finance, or any other teams in your organisation that actively use service numbers, so they can start preparing themselves for the changes too.


We would be delighted to help you with your review, please call us on 0345 017 8180 for advice or to arrange a meeting.

Dial The Area Code

Dial The Area Code

What change is happening to local phone calls?

From 1 October 2014, people in five areas of the UK will need to include the area code whenever they dial a local number from a landline – in the same way people currently do when calling from mobile phones.

At present the code can be omitted for local calls from landlines , but this means Ofcom is unable to make available new local numbers beginning with a ‘zero’ or a ‘one’. 
The change will free up new telephone numbers to be issued in areas where supplies are running low.

Which areas are affected?

The change will happen in five dialling code areas:

  • Aberdeen (01224): Includes Aberdeen and the area to the west, including towns such as Westhill.
  • Bradford (01274): Includes Bradford and the surrounding areas such as Baildon, Bingley, Cleckheaton and Shipley.
  • Brighton (01273): Includes Brighton and Hove, as well as places such as Lewes, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Southwick.
  • Middlesbrough (01642): Includes Middlesbrough and surrounding places such as Stockton, Redcar, Stokesley and Yarm.
  • Milton Keynes (01908): Includes Milton Keynes, Bletchley, Newport Pagnell and an area to the north as far as Ravenstone.

When will the change happen?

If you live in one of the five areas, you will have to dial the local code from 1 October 2014. However, you can already do this and it is good idea to get into the habit of dialling the code from today.

What if I forget to dial the code?

After 1 October 2014, if you dial a local number but forget to include the code, you will hear a free message asking you to redial including the code.

Will the cost of making a call change?

No. Dialling the code does not affect the price of the call.

Will phone numbers change?

No. The change is only to the way local numbers are dialled from landlines. By this change, we can increase the supply of numbers without changing anybody’s existing phone number. This is important for us, as we know that number changes are costly and inconvenient for consumers and businesses.

Why are the changes necessary in these particular areas?

The number of telecoms companies has increased significantly over the last ten years, leading to more competition and cheaper landline bills for millions of homes and businesses. But it has also led to increased pressure on the supply of new phone numbers and we have forecast shortages in these five areas.

Asking landline callers to use the code when dialling local numbers is intended to safeguard the future supply of new landline numbers and avoid the need for more disruptive measures, such as changing existing phone numbers. The supply of new landline numbers also ensures that consumers and businesses continue to enjoy the widest choice of telecoms providers.

How will the changes increase the supply of phone numbers?

Allowing callers to omit the code makes it impossible to allocate local numbers that begin with zero or one – such as (01224) 077 345 or (01224) 118 456.

This is because, if a person dialled such a local number and omitted the code, the network would interpret the dialled digits as a mobile number (e.g. beginning 07) or directory enquiries number (e.g. beginning 118), rather than a local number. This could lead to the call failing to be connected, or being connected to the wrong number. Around 200,000 more numbers will be made available in each of the five areas as a result of the change to the way local numbers may be dialled.

Has this been tried anywhere else?

Yes. In November 2012, Ofcom implemented the same change in the Bournemouth dialling code area, where the process ran smoothly. (Going into the change, Ofcom research showed that 81% of local residents were aware of it, and 94% said they were not concerned by it.)

How are you going to tell people about this change?

Telecoms companies will help to communicate the change to their customers. Ofcom is also engaging with residents through local media, local councils and business groups. Together, Ofcom and the telecoms companies will ensure callers in the five areas are informed of the change in good time, and the local community is prepared.

Is this change happening in any other areas?

No, not at the moment. Changes in dialling local numbers are only being introduced when areas need an additional supply of numbers. This limits disruption to people in other areas that do not need more numbers.

There is no change on 1 October to the way local numbers can be dialled in surrounding areas with different codes.  

Why don’t you change numbers as you have done in other areas in the past?

Ofcom has changed consumers’ numbers and codes in the past to create more new phone numbers, and this solution ensures a long-term supply. However changes to numbers are costly and inconvenient for consumers and businesses. Ofcom’s consumer research found that local residents and businesses prefer having to dial the code to changing their phone number.

A Quick Guide to the 0845 and 0870 number changes

From June 2014, it will be illegal to provide an 0845, 0870 or similar number for a customer complaints line. Read our handy guide to find out what you need to do.

The law was passed on 13th December 2013 as part of “The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013″ and is coming into force on 13th June 2014. The driving force behind these changes is simple: “Customers should not be made to pay extra for attempting to rectify problems which are not their fault”.


It is important to note that these impending changes only apply to lines dealing with existing customers. Companies will still be able to use 0845 numbers for non-customer advice services such as paid for technical advice, so long as the charges are clearly advertised. Services specifically paid for through the cost of the call (i.e. horoscopes and television voting) and sales lines are also unaffected.

What do you need to do?

If you are currently using 0845 or similar numbers for your customer complaint lines, you will have to switch to either a geographical number (i.e. 01, 02) or, if you still require the technological benefits of an 0845 number, an 03 number. Switching to an 03 number is probably the simplest solution, as all you will have to do is substitute the 8 for a 3. For example, 0845 becomes 0345.

Still a bit unsure about whether your business will be affected? Take a glance at our table below.

What number do you use for your customer service line?



You will be able to keep your 0800 number for customers calling in from landlines. However you will also have to provide a clearly-indicated 03 number alongside it – for customers calling in from a mobile phone. This is because 0800 numbers dialed from a mobile phone still incur premium rate charges.

01 numbers e.g. Swansea 01792

No changes necessary.

02 numbers e.g. London 0203

No changes necessary.

All the below

*0870 (Any 084 or 087)
*Premium numbers beginning with 09

From 13th June 2014, it will be a legal requirement that these numbers are no longer provided for customer helplines. They must be switched to an 01, 02 or 03 number.

Staff & Supplier Day @ Cowes Week


Staff & Supplier Day @ Cowes Week

Memories of Cowes Week!

Following our summer business review, the attached photographs bring back fond memories of our racing at Cowes Week sailing regatta. A massive thanks to SAILING GB for what has unanimously been called "An Amazing Day".

4.99 PENCE PER MIN - MOBILE LANDLINE & 0800 to Mobile


4.99 PENCE PER MIN - MOBILE LANDLINE & 0800 to Mobile

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Have a look at the package in more detail via the link to the left and then call us on 08450 178 179 (Option 1 for sales) to find out more and discuss ordering - this is a genuine offer only available by calling.

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Mobile Landline & 0800 Numbers For Your Mobile

Mobile Landline & 0800 Numbers For Your Mobile

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Geographic Numbers: Important News From Ofcom

Geographic Numbers: Important News From Ofcom

Ofcom have recently released information via consultation on the potential road map for Local Numbers - 01 & 02 Geographic Numbers.

The stocks are rapidly running out. The potential solutions are to scrap local dialing and enforce local numbers to be dialled including the code - just like when calling from mobiles.
This will release approx 20% more local STD numbers in each code by enabling Ofcom to release numbers within the area code beginning with 0 and 1 ie: 01234 0*****.

The other option is to create new codes for those areas already forcasting numbering deficits ie: Oxford 01865 could also have Oxford 02865 - this is a less favored solution for local area numbers though as it could see neighbours with different codes. We'll keep you up to speed.

Read the full consultation.

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Generate, route, handle and manage calls like never before. The Synergy Call Management Platform allows you to access a wealth of the most helpful call solutions available - only from Smart Numbers.

Our Synergy clients have most commonly chosen 0800 numbers or virtual geographic numbers, in particular, our 0207 numbers and 0208 numbers for london have been a great success!

If you want to find out more, give a call and we'll explain the product for you in relation to your own business needs.

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The 03 Numbers product range is a new and innovative way to capture the qualities of Non Geographic numbers whilst giving the cost to call benefits of 01 and 02 Local Geographic Numbers.

Find out more about 0300 and 0333 Numbers

The Best Call Stats In The Industry?


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With the Smart Features built in identifying potential areas for growth, emerging / declining markets and new business opportunities, this really is the most exciting developement in this space for some time.

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Need help? Call us on 08450 178 179 from your landline

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