There are a lot of telephone numbers out there. Some start 01 or 02, some 07, and the occasional 08 and 03, but what is the difference with them all and what does it all mean?

Traditionally, telephone numbers starting with 01 and 02 are called “geographic telephone numbers”, named so as they refer to a specific location in the country. The first part of each number is called the area code and determines where in the country the user of the number is located – for example, 0161 for Manchester, 0121 for Birmingham and 020 for London. Nearly everyone has called an 01 or 02 number, whether this be to phone the local taxi rank, or to call someone at their house only to get their answering machine! There are hundreds of geographic area codes across the UK.

In the last few years 03 numbers have been increasing in popularity. These are known as Non-Geographic Telephone numbers because they do not refer to any specific location in the country. They are designed to give a more “national, across the UK” feel and are great for businesses operating across several regions that do not want to appear restricted to their base area. You may have used one when calling a charity or company, and more often than not, these numbers are tied into telephone systems that route you to a central call centre. Of course this doesn’t always have to be the case, Virtually Local provides many 03 numbers to customers of all sizes!

03 Numbers come with a major advantage – OfCOM require calls to 03 numbers be included in any bundled minute allowance the caller may have. If the caller doesn’t have any free included minutes on their mobile or home phone contract, they cannot be charged at more than the cost of a normal telephone call to an 01 or 02 number. They provide a very handy opportunity for giving your company a national presence, whilst working in exactly the same way as any 01 or 02 number – with the added piece of mind that it costs your callers absolutely nothing more to call.

Numbers starting 08 are older Non-Geographic numbers which are often very expensive for your callers. The use of 08 numbers has been steadily declining in recent years and now would be an excellent time to replace any 0845, 0844, 0870 or 0871 numbers you may have with a virtual 01, 02 or 03 from Virtually Local.

We have a vast array of 03 numbers to choose from, so why not pick yourself one up for as little as £1 and see what difference having a more “national” feel can make!