Knowledge base 03 UK Wide numbers
Ever since PhoneDay changed all the area codes in the UK to start 01, we have had the opportunity of having new numbering blocks. After 01 came 02 for place like London (020) and Northern Ireland (028). Now we finally have numbers starting 03.
03 numbers are not premium rate or expensive to call. In fact OFCOM have made it a rule that all telcos must charge no more than they would for normal 01 or 02 numbers and they must include 03 numbers in the same call packages as they do for 01 and 02 numbers.
03 numbers are not like 0845 or 0870 which were always meant to be local and national, but retained their high prices as normal calls got much cheaper. The rules are clear that they are treated like normal numbers to call.
Whilst 03 numbers work like 01 and 02 numbers there is no geographic area associated with them, they are UK-Wide.
Why? you may ask! Well, for normal geographic area codes starting 01 and 02 a telco needs a block of numbers. We have blocks in over 600 area codes covering the whole of the UK. But there are hundreds of telcos each getting a block of at least 1000 numbers in each area code. This is very wasteful and means we are running out. With 03 each telco gets one block which covers the whole country and only when that is full do they get another. The 03 number space is vast and allows every telco to have as many numbers as they need for many years to come.
Many companies offering services nationally have no real need for a local number and so 03 are ideal. They are cheaper to run than 0800 but not ripping off customers like 0870 or premium numbers.
Even individuals would like to have a number that does not change when they move house, and 03 numbers are ideal for that.