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Business Telephone Numbers

With so many choices for choosing a telephone number for your business, which one is the right one for you? This page can help you decide just that.
  • 07XX Mobile Numbers
  • Non Geographic Numbers
  • National Non Geographic 03XX Numbers
  • Geographic Numbers Commencing 01, 02

07XX Mobile Numbers

07XX mobile numbers are the easiest numbers to obtain and maintain. There are several providers around that can provide you with a number; you can also get these numbers as a "pay as you go" service, where you only need to spend money when you make outbound calls. Pair this with a modern mobile phone and you can receive your email, surf the web and much more.

The main disadvantage of this is if you are using a mobile phone in your advertisements etc. this can give the impression of a "one man band" as there is only one port of call for your business, you. The number can be expensive from a landline; and your mobile phone will more than likely ring at a very inconvenient time, such as when you are driving or with a client.

Non Geographic Numbers

In the UK non-geographical numbers (NGNs) are available for private sale which, rather than being assigned to a particular telephone line or circuit, provide callers with a contact number which gives no indication as to the geographical location of the line being called. The owner of the number can retarget the NGN to any other telephone number including mobile, international and even other NGNs at any time therefore enabling them to take their calls on the move or at various locations at different times or simultaneously. NGNs which cost more than 50p to call are classed as premium rate numbers and usually begin ‘09’. ¹

O845 and 0844 numbers are often "rent free" and can be pointed to any one landline number free of charge. 0800 numbers incur rental and call costs. 0870/1 provide a (very small) commission on calls.

However, an increasing number of people refuse to phone 08XX numbers from their mobile as the call charges are generally steep and are NOT included in "inclusive minutes". 0845 numbers are increasingly hard to source (most are in use), with most new numbers being 0844 which is confusing for the caller. 08XX numbers are NOT reliable and often very expensive when phoning your business from abroad.

National Non Geographic 03XX Numbers ¹

Callers are charged at national rate from a landline or mobile phone. These numbers are now being used by the BBC and ITV, so public understanding is increasing. They are reliable worldwide, with a wide range of numbers available - most of them quite memorable. Although they have been around for several years now they are not as high profile as 08XX (but now the BBC are using them this will change)

Summary of Non Geographic Charges ²

PrefixCost InfoTypical Usage
03XXGeographic call rate03 numbers must (by law) cost the same as landline calls for all operators (including inclusion in any 'free minutes').

These have been assigned by Ofcom to replace old 084x and 087x services which are not considered appropriate for revenue share. 030 numbers are for use by Government, Councils, public services, non-profit organisations, and charities. 033 numbers are for use by any organisation. 034 and 037 numbers are for organisations wishing to migrate from the equivalent 084 and 087 number ranges.
0500Free from landline/varies from mobile These are older Mercury (now Cable & Wireless) freephone numbers, and are being deprecated in favour of 0800 or 0808 numbers.
055 056The rates of calling these numbers are generally unknown, although they are charged by BT at around 5p/min. These numbers are generally used by companies that use a VoIP telephony service.
070 Varies These are premium rate numbers known as 'follow-me' or 'personal' numbers; they are considered to be controversial as they can be confused for mobile numbers, and therefore the cost of calls to them may not be apparent to callers until they receive their bills. Ofcom is looking at moving this range to the 06x range to avoid such confusion.
076XX Varies

These are pager numbers. They are two types:

1. Fixed call cost pagers (CPP - calling party pays) where the subscriber pays a fixed rate for their service and thus the caller pays a premium fixed rate (some operators charge a fixed rate plus a rate per minute).

2. Subscription pagers which are cheaper to call and charged at 'regional' rates (their landline equivalents no longer exist). These usually cost slightly more than an equivalent landline call.

Varies These are mobile phone numbers. While the exact price to call these from landlines isn't generally known, people understand that they will have to pay a slight premium to call these numbers.
080XFree from landline/varies from mobile These are freephone numbers that are free to call from a landline. However, they may be charged at a premium rate if phoned from a mobile.
0842 0843
0844 0845
0870 0871
0872 0873

Varies – between 0.49p/min (0845) and up to 10p/min (0871) from a BT landline.

Some 0845 and 0870 calls may be inclusive depending on calling plan, so aren't charged to call.
Companies, other entities, government departments
09XXPremium rate (varies) These numbers are premium rate and have many uses - competition lines, chat lines, technical support helplines and order lines.

Geographic numbers commencing 01, 02, e.g. 0117 (Bristol) 0161 (Manchester) 0208 (London) ¹

  • Callers charged national rate from a landline or a mobile phone
  • Callers view as a landline number, although your business does not have to be located in the relevant city
  • Reliable worldwide
  • Only that your business appears to be in the city that the number suggests
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