01 and 02 - Landlines, Geographical Numbers
In the UK, any phone number starting with 01 or 02 are landline or geographical phone numbers typically used for residential or business needs. All the numbers that start with 01 and 02 are arranged geographically, which means that they are linked to a specific locations. Some businesses that are located in these areas will purchase an 01 or 02 area code to give their business a local feel, even if they’re not actually based in that area.
01 area codes
This is the most common format that is used in most areas of the UK. It includes a four-digit area code after the initial zero, followed by a six-digit subscriber number. About 581 areas use this format, with area codes ranging from 01200 to 01998. Almost all 01 area codes have six digit subscriber numbers, though a small portion also have subscriber numbers that are five digits in length.
02 area codes
02 area codes encompass London, Southampton / Portsmouth, Coventry, Northern Ireland, and Cardiff. 02 numbers are the newest geographic number format and were created as part of the big number change in 2000. These numbers consist of a two-digit area code that is much shorter than 01 area codes.
The 020 area code specifically covers the London area, including central London and the majority of the outer London boroughs. There is a misunderstanding that certain numbers like 0207 numbers are for Central London and 0203 numbers are for business lines, but in reality, there’s no difference between these numbers and they can be issued anywhere within London.
History of 01 and 02 area codes
In recent years, a rapid expansion of mobile users meant that the demand for phone numbers outstripped what was available. This prompted the need for a solution. In 1990, the London area code of 01 was replaced with 071 and 081 to free up numbers. This doubled the amount of numbers available to 16 million.
In 1995, the aptly named “phONEday” was when the digit “1” was inserted into all geographic UK area codes. For example, this turned the 071 area code into 0171. This was the advent of the “01” area codes.
In 2000, The Big Number Change vastly increased the available ranges of numbers available in the London area. This was made possible by freeing up the 02 area code and giving London a city-wide area code. This meant that previous numbers like 0181 became 0208. This one-digit increase expanded all the available numbers
Cost of calling 01 and 02 area codes
Because these landlines are traditionally used for local homes and businesses, they are typically charged 16p per minute. Providers will also often charge a connection charge of 23p, but this can vary. The charges can change dependent on the time of day and most providers allow free calls at certain times of the day, dependent on the package you purchase.
When you’re calling from a mobile these costs can vary according to the calling plan you have. Usually, these area codes are included for free in many call packages, but if you call outside inclusive minutes, 01 or 02 area code calls can cost you between 3p and 65p per minute.
There are rare exceptions to these billing rules. For example, if you are dialling 01481, 01534 and 01624, which are for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, your call will be more expensive due to the remote location and distance.