Further changes to UK STD codes in the near future?

Following Ofcoms recent consultation document, 'Availability of Telephone Numbers' issued in April 2008, which outlined proposals for number conservation measures in additional geographic area codes, Ofcom have today (17 June 2008) issued a statement announcing the ratification of the proposals and the launch of the implementation document.

The full statement can be viewed at:


What are the main proposals?

A key element of this document is the decision to give number conservation status to a further 96 Geographic telephone areas of the UK.

Telephone conservation areas are areas where geographic telephone numbers (landline telephone numbers starting 01 or 02) are in short supply and Ofcom believe that there is a realistic expectation of exhaustion within the next five years. The new conservation measures mean that new supply will be restricted; allocation of numbers to service providers will be reduced from blocks of 10,000 to 1,000 numbers as precursor to the longer term change of STD numbering.

The new measures, following the 'Availability of Telephone numbers' document and the updated National Telephone Numbering plan, now means that; of the 609 designated Geographic (01/02) areas: 352 of the geographic areas are classified as "Standard Areas" and Ofcom have now assigned conservation status to 257 geographic areas. Geographic number ranges under conservation restrictions now account for 43% of UK geographic number areas. In summary:

  • An additional 96 geographic area codes now classified as 'Conservation' areas.
  • 43% of UK geographic telephone areas now carry conservations measures.
  • Allocation of new numbers reduced from blocks of 10,000 to blocks of 1,000.

The implementation document is available here.

Ofcoms revised Number Plan, issued on 17th June 2008 can be viewed here.

What are 'standard' and 'conservation' areas?

A 'Standard Area' STD telephone number is a geographic area that Ofcom believes does not have a significant risk of exhaustion within the next five years.

As such, numbers in geographic areas with a Standard Area status are not subject to particular restriction and are allocated to service providers in blocks of 10,000 numbers.

A 'Conservation Area' STD telephone code is a geographic area that Ofcom believes has a realistic expectation of number exhaustion within the next five years. Numbers in geographic areas where a Conservation Area status is indicated will only be allocated in units of 1,000 numbers at a time.

Will this impact on my Business?

Businesses located in one of the designated telephone conservation area face the possibility of future telephone code changes. For example, an 02 prefix could be introduced to allow additional number availability - 01582 123456 could become 0240 123456.

Uncertainty about the future of numbering, together with the costs and time involved in changing advertised numbers can make strategic planning difficult. Many companies are now considering a move to Ofcoms new 03 UK Wide numbers for a long term solution.

Why 03 UK Wide Numbers?

Future proofing

Keeping apace with the demand for new telephone numbers is a constant problem in the UK. Due to the number shortages, the ever expanding population, uneven growth in the UK, and technological advances, geographic STD codes are frequently changed, or ranges expanded to include another digit. Similarly, the management of non geographic number ranges has historically been problematic.

The new 03 UK Wide numbers recently launched by Ofcom have been designed with the future in mind. Ofcom wanted to address both the issues of consumer confidence in UK phone numbers and also that of the potential future shortfall in both geographic and non geographic number ranges.

03 UK Wide numbers meet the strong and growing public demand to have a recognisable phone number, which both identifies the type of company they are calling and offers a clearly priced call. They have already been hailed as the phone numbers of the future

What are 03 UK Wide numbers?

Ofcom has created the 03 UK Wide range as an ideal hybrid of geographic and non geographic numbers. Unlike standard geographic numbers, the 03 UK Wide number range offers a wide selection of network based features and functionality, but calls are charged at the standard rate for UK landlines. Calls to 03 numbers are also included in call minute packages on landlines and mobile phones. In addition, to protect consumers, revenue sharing is not permitted on 03 numbers. To summarise, 03 UK Wide numbers offer:

  • Calls charged at the same rate as 01/02 numbers.
  • A single number can be advertised across the UK.
  • Calls to 03 are included in all call inclusive packages. This applies equally to landlines and mobile phones.
  • A wide range of network based features and functionality are available as standard.
  • No revenue sharing is permitted on 03.
UK Wide numbers - The 03 range explained

It is expected that 03 UK Wide numbers will be used widely across the UK. The range is split into 3 different groups aimed at specific types of organisations, businesses or individuals:

  • 0300 and 0303 numbers are exclusively available to the public sector (including organisations with a .gov.uk or .nhs.uk website) and not-for profit organisations such as registered charities.
  • 0330 and 0333 numbers are available for any organisation or individual that wishes to use them.
  • Migration numbers 0344, 0345, 0370 and 0371 -this sub range of 03 numbers has been made available to those who wish to migrate their existing 0844, 0845, 0870 or 0871 numbers to the new 03 UK-wide numbers range. For example, a company with 0845 500 5000 will be able to migrate to the equivalent 0345 500 5000.
03 - A non geographic number with a difference

UK Wide or 03 numbers are a new, non-geographic range offering all of the features and functionality of non geographic numbers, but with the positive marketing image and customer service benefits of geographic numbers.

03 numbers from ITC offer the following benefits to your company:

  • A National presence - one number can be advertised UK- wide.
  • A positive marketing image - Through using 03 numbers, your company ensures that customers feel encouraged to call you. As calls to 03 numbers can be included in both landline and mobile call packages, the majority of calls will be at no additional charge to your customers. For other callers, the standard national call rate will apply.
  • Call statistics - Various options and formats are available. You have the choice of: access to online call statistics or weekly email reports.
  • Intelligent Routing - We can work with you to set up a plan for call routing. Calls can be routed to different teams, numbers or even offices according to the time of day or day of the week. Divert on busy, or no answer after a preset number of rings and geographic routing are also available.
  • Call Recording - Incoming calls to your business can be recorded using an 03 number and Call Recording+ from ITC. Following our quick and easy set up process, all of your inbound calls are recorded and stored off site - no equipment is required at your premises and no IT resource is needed.
  • Disaster Recovery - For many businesses, their inbound telephony numbers are integral to their disaster recovery plan. A network based plan provides a service that is secure, flexible and controllable. It can be implemented quickly and easily.

Benefits to your customers;

  • Confidence that calls to 03 numbers are included in landline and mobile free call packages, and outside of this, can only be charged at the rate of a national call.
  • A single, memorable number to call.
  • Advertising an 03 number provides reassurance about your companies' customer service ethos.

03 numbers from ITC enable your company to present a highly professional and welcoming interface to your customers; retaining the call handling and management functionality of non geographic numbers with the customer service benefits associated with 03.

Are you in a telephone conservation area?

Click here to see if you are in a telephone 'Conservation' areas as designated by Ofcom.

Act Today - Contact ITC

If you are in a telephone "conservation area", presently advertise an 01/02 telephone number and would like to hear more about how Ofcom's new 03 UK Wide telephone numbers could help your business please contact ITC on 0330 333 02 01 or email consult@it-cts.co.uk

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