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|gb| United Kingdom +44

Number Format

Area Code:            2-5 digits (see note below)
Subscriber Number:    5-8 digits (see note below)
Trunk Prefix:         0
International Prefix: 00

Area code information

General Numbering Notes

Area Codes formerly 3-6 digits are moving towards 2-4 digits standard. Subscriber Numbers formerly 3-7 digits are moving towards 6-8 digits standard.

UK is making 10-digit national numbers standard; that is, numbers will have 3-digit area codes followed by 7-digit numbers, or 4-digit area codes followed by 6-digit numbers. Some exceptions may remain in the meantime.

April 2008: +44 1987 - new code for Ebbsfleet

Major new residential and commercial developments for Ebbsfleet would generate demand for new telephone numbers. This territory was served by the Dartford +44 1322 and Gravesend +44 1474 codes. However, numbering demand in the area was already high. Dartford in particular was already declared a telephone numbering "conservation area" where measures were imposed due to the limited spare numbering capacity.

Ofcom considered whether to introduce an overlay code for the existing Dartford-Gravesend areas, or to establish a new area code in the Ebbsfleet lands. Its decision on 29 April 2008 was to establish a new +44 1987 territory for Ebbsfleet, rejecting an overlay.

Source: Proposals to accommodate geographic number demand in the Ebbsfleet region (Ofcom, 2008)

(news courtesy Alex Martin)

+44 3 range (03x) - national rate numbers

Ofcom introduced the 03x series of numbers (equivalent to +44 3) within the UK for use as national-rate numbers, similar to the existing 0870 numbers.

The 030 (+44 30) sub-range of numbers is restricted to non-profit uses such as charities and government agencies.

034 (+44 34) and 037 (+44 37) are reserved for migration from the higher-cost 084 (+44 84) and 087 (+44 87) services respectively. For example, a customer with number 0845 1111111 can change to 0345 1111111, keeping the remaining sequence of digits intact.

033 (+44 33) is unrestricted, available to all customers.

Source: Ofcom: What are... 03 numbers?

030 Number Eligibility Guidance

(news courtesy Alex Martin)

1 June 2005: London new subscriber number range

New numbers in the range +44 20 3xxxxxxx were introduced in London on 1 June 2005.

There were no changes to the existing subscriber numbers in +44 20 7xxxxxxx and +44 20 8xxxxxxx ranges. This was not another split of the London calling area. The introduction of the new number range merely makes more use of London's 8-digit capacity without requiring additional disruptive dialling changes.

Source: Ofcom announcement 13 July 2004 (report courtesy Chris Ward)

Other sources on the added +44 20 3xxxxxxx number range:

Research Report, London Telephone Numbers, New Sub-Range for London, (020) 3 (PDF format)

Research Report, Telephone Numbering Programme, The London Project, Qualitative Research Report (PDF format)

Ofcom Press Release, "First London (020) 3 Number Blocks Released From 1 June 2005" (15 November 2004).

(with items courtesy Mark J Cuccia)

September 2004 - geographic number ranges open to VoIP services

Regulator OFCOM announced that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services may use geographic numbering ranges (+44 1, +44 2).

VoIP services may also use the non-geographic +44 56 number range.

(Tip courtesy Ken Westmoreland)

Source: OFCOM bulletin, 6 September 2004

29 December 2003 - OFCOM replaces OFTEL

OFCOM has replaced OFTEL and other communications regulators. OFCOM assumed OFTEL's telecommunications regulation on 29 December 2003, including regulation of telephone numbering.

Previously, OFTEL, the Office of Telecommunications, issued periodic numbering bulletins. There is an OFTEL legacy information archive available through OFCOM.

OFCOM will maintain information on telephone numbering through its website (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/ioi/numbers/).

Previous OFTEL numbering information page is now located on the OFCOM site at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/ind_info/numbering/index.htm.

(some material courtesy Andrew Restall)

December 2003 - Corporate Numbering: BT Broadband Voice

Ken Westmoreland reports that Corporate number format numbers of +44 55 xxxxxxxx are being used for BT's recently-introduced Broadband Voice service, which can be described as "a poor man's Vonage". This is an example of the +44 5 (05) corporate numbering range.

+44 56 range will probably be introduced in February.

Further from Ken Westmoreland:

"Other countries are introducing similar ranges prefixed with '5' for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) numbering, such as Japan, South Korea, Switzerland. +41 58 (formerly used as an area code for Niederurnen) is now used for VPN numbering."

22 April 2000 (Easter) - Various Regional Changes

New area codes officially took effect 22 April 2000 (Easter) in certain areas of the UK. Parallel running of old and new area codes for long distance and international calls is planned until late 2000 (14 October 2000 was mandatory date for London geographic codes; 28 April 2001 for wireless and special service codes).

Local calling in the affected areas will be changed without any permissive or parallel period.

Sources: OFTEL Numbering Bulletin 41 and OFTEL Framework Document of 4 October 2000, updated March 2001.

The Big Number - consumer document.

Consideration is also being given to plans for European-wide telephone numbering (see Europe information).

According to the results of OFTEL's telephone numbering planning during 1996, the following places are to receive new area codes. Each of these new area codes will be followed by 8-digit local subscriber numbers, created by prefixing digits before existing subscriber numbers:

The following table indicates expected conversion from today's numbers to the new area code/local number schemes (subject to implementation details as formalised by OFTEL):

Place             Current Numbers (1997)  Future Numbers (2000)
============      ======================  =====================
Inner London      +44 171 xxx xxxx        +44 20 7xxx xxxx
Outer London      +44 181 xxx xxxx        +44 20 8xxx xxxx
Portsmouth        +44 1705 xxx xxx        +44 23 92xx xxxx
Southampton       +44 1703 xxx xxx        +44 23 80xx xxxx
Coventry          +44 1203 xxx xxx        +44 24 76xx xxxx
Northern Ireland  +44 xxx...              +44 28 xxxx xxxx
Ballygawley       +44 16625 xxxxx         +44 28 850x xxxx
Belfast           +44 1232 xxx xxx        +44 28 90xx xxxx
Cardiff           +44 1222 xxx xxx        +44 29 20xx xxxx

Also on this date, Guernsey (+44 1481, or 01481 domestically) also changed its 5-digit subscriber numbers to 6-digit numbers, by prepending the digit '2' (former subscriber numbers beginning with 3, 4, 5 or 6). Existing Guernsey 6-digit subscriber numbers (beginning with 2, 7 or 8) were unaffected.

Guernsey's GSM Code also changed from +44 4481 (04481 domestically) to +44 7781 (07781 domestically). The old and new codes will be in permissive mode for some time.

Sources, further information:

Office of Utility Regulation (Guernsey) (Guernsey is a British Crown dependency but separate from the UK)

Sure / Cable & Wireless (Guernsey carrier, previously Guernsey Telecom)

Guernsey Telecom notice on numbering change (from Internet Archive)

(with tips courtesy Keith Blackman)

1998-9: Business Numbering Range

Numbers in the +44 5 series are reserved for business services. OFTEL is to publish proposals on numbering in this range by June 1997.

1997-2001 - Wireless (mobile, paging) and Personal Numbering

Numbers in the +44 7 range are to be used to identify mobile, paging and personal numbers. Conversion of existing services to this numbering range is to be completed by 2001.

+44 70 for use by personal number services
+44 71, +44 72 reserved for personal number services
Other +44 7 numbers will be used (or reserved) for mobile and paging

1997-9 - Premium Rate Services Range

Premium-rate services are to be standardised in the +44 9 numbering range, ideally by 1999. New premium-rate special codes will be issued as +44 9 numbers from July 1997.

OFTEL is expected to determine the details of the +44 9 numbering format by July 1997.

1997-?? - Specially-Tariffed Services

Numbers in the +44 8 range are to be used to identify specially-priced and toll-free services. The maximum charge of any service in this number range would be the national rate. As of July 1997, new special-tariff numbers must conform to the following numbering ranges:

+44 80 freephone
+44 84 local rate
+44 87 national rate

OFTEL has not set a date for which conversion to this range must be completed. Rules on migration to the standard +44 8 numbering are expected to be established by July 1997.

1996-8 - Reading code changes to +44 118

The old Reading code of +44 1734 (01734 within UK) was changed to +44 118 (0118 within UK). The digit 9 was prefixed to the old 6-digit numbers to form new 7-digit numbers within +44 118. Permissive dialling of either old or new Reading code was in effect from 8 April 1996 until 9 January 1998.

Additional information on the Reading code change is available in OFTEL Numbering Bulletin 34.

1996-7 - New telecom numbering scheme announced

Following a consultation throughout late 1996, a revised National Numbering Scheme was announced by OFTEL. Several significant area code changes were announcement, and general numbering assignments are established.

The following standard numbering ranges will be:

+44 1 ... geographic (conventional service) area codes
+44 2 ... geographic (conventional service) area codes
+44 3 ... reserved for future geographic area code assignments
+44 4 ... (spare range for future services)
+44 5 ... corporate numbering
+44 6 ... (spare range for future services)
+44 7 ... wireless (paging/mobile) and personal numbers
+44 8 ... specially-tariffed services
+44 9 ... premium-rate services, provision for multi-media

1994-5 - Phoneday telephone numbering overhaul

Area codes throughout the UK were changed in a "Phoneday" conversion programme. The digit 1 was incorporated into most area codes so that London's 071 code became 0171 (domestically), or changed from +44 71 to +44 171 (as dialed from other countries). A select few areas were assigned new codes due to specific telephone numbering requirements.

"Non-geographic" services such as toll-free numbers, premium charge numbers, mobile codes, etc. did not have their codes changed during this conversion, although the UK numbering plan is intended to be structured according to types of services. Some of these codes may change in the future.

The new area codes became operational from August 1994, and became mandatory to use as of 16 April 1995.

A UK Telecom FAQ item deals with reasons for/against this telephone numbering change.

1994 - OFTEL assumes numbering administration

The government-based Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL) assumed responsibility from British Telecom for telecom numbering administration.

1990 - London split of 01 into 071, 081

1990: London's 01 code was split due to exchange growth. New codes 071 (inner London) and 081 (outer area) were established and 01 was eliminated from service. (Internationally, these are dialed +44 71 (inner) and +44 81 (outer).

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