About 03 Numbers

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Many people will be familiar with business numbers beginning in 0845, which are non-geographic and charged at a local rate, or alternatively 0870, which indicates that the charge will be made at the national rate, but there may be less of an understanding of numbers which begin with 03. Back in early 2007 industry regulator Ofcom introduced 03 numbers to provide private and public business organisations with an alternative to the 08 numbers so that they could bear the majority of the cost of calling.

03 numbers are charged in the same way as a call made to any landline number beginning in 01 or 02. As such, most customers can call 03 numbers by using their inclusive free minutes provided on their current mobile or home phone tariff. This will be important for mobile phone owners as the cost of an off-tariff call to an 08 number can be in excess of 20p a minute, which is far more expensive than a call to an 03 number. The major difference between 03 and 08 numbers is felt by businesses, as any revenue generated by the cost of the call is collected by the network provider, whereas with 08 numbers it is possible to split the takings with the businesses.


Businesses can use 03 numbers for exactly the same types of advanced call features that are available with 08 numbers, which include intelligent diverting of calls, accumulation of statistics based on the callers location and the ability to queue calls made to a single 03 number. The main benefit is of course that they are presenting themselves to the consumer as offering the cheapest possible calling option available that does not involve setting up a freephone line. Attracting the business of mobile phone owners is essential and 03 numbers can do just that, as there are more mobiles than there are people in the UK and over 40 per cent of all calls are made from mobile phones according to statistics.

03 numbers have been taken up by a wide variety of organisations since they were first made available nearly 4 years ago and the public sector has been particularly keen to create its own 03 numbers to make sure the public can get in touch cheaply. The Metropolitan Police has been using an 03 number since October 2008 which is acting as a way in which people can get in contact when they do not have an immediate emergency to report. Other police forces around the UK quickly followed its lead and now forces in Essex, Staffordshire and Durham also have 03 numbers. available for the public to get in contact with them.


03 numbers are divided into three main categories that people can use to instantly determine the type of organisation that they are calling. Numbers beginning with 030 are reserved for non-profit organisations and publicly owned services, whilst numbers beginning 033 indicate that the number is owned by a private individual or business. The final set of 03 numbers, beginning with 034 or 037, are made available to businesses wishing to migrate their existing 08 number over to the new scheme. 03 numbers offer the same power and flexibility to businesses as 08 numbers, but with a reduced cost to the customer making them more attractive than ever.

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