UK Phone Code Guide

There is a wide range of dialing codes in use in the United Kingdom. Every code is connected to a geographic location or a non-geographic location and used for specific purposes and is maintained by Ofcom.

The use of certain codes has changed over the years, as has their cost to call and their accessibility. As new codes come into use to accommodate the expanding population, they are categorized and assigned to areas or needs.

01 and 02 area codes

Area codes starting with 01 or 02 are geographically based phone numbers that are used for residential or business needs. They can be rerouted around the country to different locations or mobiles, or even overseas. However, the cost of calling will remain the same.

There are also businesses that may purchase 01 or 02 area codes to use to make their phone numbers more approachable to local customers—even if the business isn’t located there. 01 area codes are the most common numbering format in use in the United Kingdom, while 02 area codes encompass an area covering London, Southampton / Portsmouth, Coventry, Northern Ireland, and Cardiff.

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03 area code

The 03 area code is not tied to any geographic location. They are used for businesses and organizations and have unique features that appeal to businesses. 03 area codes allow for flexible routing that let calls to the 03 area code be redirected to any destination. This allows businesses and organizations to have one, local phone number for their customers to call into them, even if it’s being answered in a different geographic location.

03 area codes are also ideal for business continuity. Since they can be rerouted with ease, they permit businesses or organizations to continue being accessible during times or crisis or natural disaster.

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05 area code

05 area codes are most often used for VoIP numbering. Voice Over Internet Protocol is used as an alternative to traditional landlines. VoIP calling requires a strong, steady Internet connection and have become more popular as fast Internet service becomes more accessible through the UK.

There are also 055 numbers, which are used for large blocks of corporate numbering to be used internally. These are not exceptionally popular though.

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07 area codes

07 area codes can be used by businesses or individuals. They are not tied to geographic locations and are used for mobile phones. 07 numbers are also referred to me as ‘follow me’ numbers, since they allow a person to travel anywhere in the country without having to change their telephone number. People can also use 07 numbers to conceal their own, personal phone number. They can be purchased for a limited period of time, redirected to their own personal number, and then cancelled when no longer needed. In general, t is not possible to tell the location of an 07 number.

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08 area code

080 area codes are used for freephone or toll-free numbers that are free to call from anywhere in the UK. These numbers are used to contact businesses or organizations for access to things like customer service lines, charity lines, or government helplines.

The only 08 numbers not free to call are those numbers starting with 084 and 087. 084 and 087 lines are used for sales or customer service lines and are not free to call. The cost to call these 08 numbers varies, but they include a service charge and an access charge.

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09 area code

Numbers using the 09 area code are service numbers that are not available for personal or mobile numbers. 09 numbers are typically used for things like competition or prize draws, voting lines for radio or television shows, pay-per-minute horoscopes and fortune tellers, adult dating or chat lines. They are charged at a premium rate and part of this charge is to pay for the services provided on the call. 09 numbers are also used for spam and can be considered nuisance calls.

The Phone-paid Services Authority regulates 09 numbers to make sure consumers aren’t getting misled and getting charged for the content without their explicit consent.

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Numbers starting with 1

Phone codes starting with the number ‘1’ are most often used for public assistance telephone services and emergency services. They range from numbers used for emotional support helplines, to those used for non-emergency and emergency police and fire calls, to calls to the NHS and notifications for power being cut.

Most of these numbers are available over large areas of the UK and are non-geographic. Many are free to call as they are considered a necessary service, but some do have costs associated with them—depending on the service they provide. This area code is not available for personal or mobile use.

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3-digit short codes

3-digit short codes such as 101, 105, and 112 are all examples of short codes used for special services throughout the UK. Their services include access to emergency services, healthcare professionals, and operator assistance or directory inquiry. Some short codes are also used for telephone services and call management and are reserved for use by telecom companies to provide assistance to their customers.

More about 3-digit numbers