03 Numbers – Everything you need to know

1000 500 George Cotter

So you’ve seen businesses advertising 03 numbers but not sure how they work or are you a business looking for more information on how to get one?

You’re in the right place!

As the leading provider of 03 numbers in the UK and the industry experts, the guys at 03NumberShop have put together a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know.

Something we’ve not covered? Leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to cover it!

03 Numbers are free to call from most phones

That’s right, Ofcom have declared that any call to an 03 number should never be charged at more than a call or an 01 or 02 landline, this means that all the calls are inclusive within both landline and mobile monthly bundles.

What does Ofcom say?

“Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and must count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls”

Ofcom introduced 03 numbers to help clear up public confusion in regards to varying call costs to most 08 numbers. The cost of calling 084 and 087 numbers is different depending on your network provider. They add a connection charge to all calls which can vary widely.

03 Numbers are cheap for businesses to operate

In fact, 03 numbers are now the most cost effective customer friendly UK wide phone number for any business to advertise. Companies use non-geographic numbers in order to advertise a national presence, this means even the smallest businesses are not restricted to just advertising a local number in their local area. Plus, business owners can avoid advertising their personal mobile number for business purposes.

You may be aware than in 2015 Ofcom declared that all 0800 numbers should now be completely free to call from all phones. This has of course raised the profile of an 0800, but the inbound call costs for calls originating from a mobile have now been passed onto the business advertising them.

If you’re a business using an 0800 we highly recommend you check your latest bill as many providers are now adding a surcharge of up to 7p per minute for EVERY call you receive from a mobile phone.

None of these extra charges are associated with 03 numbers. They provide all the benefits at a much cheaper cost.

Thousands of memorable 03 numbers available

As 03 numbers are a relatively new number range there are still thousands of the most memorable number available. As other non-geographic numbers have been around for many years most of the very best numbers have been allocated. Those highly memorable 08 numbers which are left will cost a small fortune to acquire.

This is also helped by the fact that there are multiple different ranges for business, such as 0333 and 0330 which operate exactly the same way.

Many numbers of similar memorability as the main contact number we use for 03NumberShop (0330 111 0300) are available.

Accurately Track & Boost Advertising Response Rates

As 03 numbers are virtual or cloud based you can access all inbound call statistics through an online portal.

Due to their cheap call and cheap operating costs 03 numbers are now becoming the phone number of choice to associate with new advertising campaigns.

It could be that your marketing team has chosen to advertise across different mediums, or place a similar advertise in various online or print publications. Using a separate 03 number for each will allow the performance of each advert to be accurately tracked.

03 Numbers offer clear costs, unlike confusing 08 Numbers

In July 2015 the way calls to many 08 numbers (specifically those starting 084 or 087) are charged were altered. Ofcom took this step to make the call costs more transparent, but at the same time also added an access charge.

The access charge can be very different depending on the callers network provider. For example, calling an 0845 number from a EE mobile now carries an access charge of 44p, whereas calling the same number from a Three mobile costs 25p. This access charge is in addition to the per minute cost which should be clearly advertised alongside the number.

The cost to call an 03 number is clear, Ofcom have declared it should never cost any more than a call to an 01 or 02 landline and should always be inclusive in any monthly bundles.

Seemlessly Migrate to 03 from 084 and 087 phone numbers

If your business currently advertises and 084 number (0844, 0845) or 087 number (0871, 0870), then Ofcom have allowed you to seamlessly migrate over to the 03 equivalent. The 0345, 0344, 0371 and 0370 number ranges exist so that you can change your number with limited confusion and you only have to change one digit.

If you wish to migrate over then your current supplier has been instructed to reserve your migration number.

0300 number range reserved for charities, public bodies and non-profits

All 0300 numbers have been set aside exclusively for us by charities, public bodies and non-profit organisations. The call costs are exactly the same so remove any issues that can be caused by confusing call costs to other non-geographic numbers.

Ofcom state the 0300 number range: “increase certainty, trust and confidence in the numbers that consumers use to call public services and voluntary services.”

As this range is reserved many of the most memorable numbers are still available. They are the perfect number range for use as advice and helplines, as well as a way to give any fundraising campaign boost.


George Cotter

George Cotter is the Head of Marketing for Core Telecom and all brands which operate on the network. These include 08Direct, 03NumberShop and 0800NumberShop. You can find him on and Twitter. George has worked in digital marketing for over 10 years providing web strategies and advice for businesses across many highly competitive industries.

All stories by: George Cotter