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03 - Virtual UK-Wide Numbers - 08 alternative

Ofcom, the industry regulator, recently launched and is using 03 numbers. These numbers, known as UK-wide numbers are aimed at organisations wishing to provide their consumers with a nationally based number, but not charge a premium to the consumer as with some / numbers.

The intention is to provide a clear understanding of what callers will pay for calling organisations. The 03 pre-fix will still be non-geographic, but the charging structure will exactly reflect geographic number charges (i.e. 01 & 02).

03 number ranges explained

0300 & 0303 Numbers – Public Bodies and Not for profit organisations (eligibility required) – please call us to discuss this on
0330 & 0333 Numbers – No eligibility required so all companies and organisations can use these numbers.


Following a lengthy consultation process with the public, corporations and selected public sector bodies from 2004 onwards, it was concluded that greater transparency was required on calls masde to Non-Geographic numbers of all types and from all locations. This is why Ofcom announced the use of 03 numbers which could be used from any device including home and office landlines, mobile phones and payphones. An Ofcom spokesman confirmed this: "Consumers will be able to dial 03 numbers with confidence about the cost of their call. We expect public services and many others to view 03 numbers as a real alternative to higher cost 08 numbers." Organisations who have already adopted these numbers in favour of 08 ranges include, but are not limited to: A main advantage of using 03 UK Wide numbers rather than geographic numbers is that enhanced services can be provided such as; call statistics, routing plans, advanced call plans and disaster recovery solutions. 03 numbers can also be given out as the number that identifies your call (CLI) to the number that you have dialled (this product is called 'presentation number' and can be supplied by your outbound call supplier.

No Revenue Sharing on 03 UK Wide numbers Revenue sharing is not permitted on 03 numbers. Many consumers have been unhappy that some organisations who use and numbers receive a share of what the consumer pays to make a call. 03 numbers are therefore likely to be perceived as being more ethical and customer friendly. The new 03 number 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 or 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 , , or numbers to the new 03 UK-wide numbers range. For example, a company with will be entitled to migrate to the equivalent 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. Some Public Bodies are early adaopters of these numbers:-

The London Metropolitan Police Authority

- Advice Line


- Certificate of Professional Competence

Staffordshire Police

Essex Police

- Non Emergency Line

The Passport Office

- Passport Advice Line

- for customer correspondence queries

- for Text Phone

- for passport interview appointments

- for Typetalk


- General Enquiries

- Contacting specific members of staff

- Enquires related to Oxfam shops

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

- General Enquiries


- Switchboard

- Advisory

- Textphone

- Numbering

- Licencing

UK Deedpoll

- Name changes

Scottish Animal Welfare


- 24 Hour Cruelty Line

- Advisory

- Advisory

- Donation Line

Newcastle and Sunderland City Council

- Rubbish Line

Absolute Radio

- Studio

What do existing 08 users do?

03 numbers have been reserved so that communication service providers like intelesis can overlay 03 numbers to existing 08 numbers by simply replacing the '8' digit in the number to a '3'; For further advice, please ensure you email Memorable

Why was the new range introduced by Ofcom?

. Non geographic numbers such as , , and are slowly being replaced as a result of Ofcom findings as follows: public's perception has been that these numbers are higher than standard 01/02 number when called from landlines; Calls to Non geographic numbers are not generally included in call inclusive packages for either landlines or mobile phones; Revenue sharing or rebates are of concern to the public. Calls to / and can be extremely costly when called from cellphones;

What are the Features of 03 numbers?

03 numbers from Intelesis offers tangible benefits to your organisation, including but not limited to:
  • Intelligent Inbound Routing options Intelesis can offer a variety of different routing plans, depending on your organisations specific requirements. Telephone calls can be routed to different locations such as home workers, other offices, outsourced call centers, either inside the UK or overseas.
  • Free Telephone Call Recording When combined with 03 or 08 number ranges this can be used on the same network as the 03 or 080 number and does not require hardware sat on the client premises. This can be stored securely off-site for up to six (6) years.
  • Business Continuity Plans - Many organisations have virtual geographical and non-geographical numbers as part of their plans. Most plc status companies are obliged by the shareholders to ensure that they provide a disaster recovery plan. Organisations, large and small us these numbers in a variety of ways to ensure that their inbound call traffic is not lost when underlying ISDN and SIP trunks fail.
  • Nationwide Presence Single number entry can be offered Nationwide
  • Marketing impact - Through the use of 03 numbers, it is possible to encourage people to call your organisation as opposed to those orgnisations using expensive numbers.
  • Online Call Statistics We can send you pre-scheduled email reports on a variety of parameters.

    What are the Benefits to your customers?

  • One number, anywhere you are in the world
  • Demonstrates that you are customer friendly and do not overcharge for talking to your supplier
  • Total confidence that all calls are included in mobile and landline packages, and where they are not inclusive the charge rate has to be capped at whatever rate your existing national calls are made All 03 numbers come complete with the ability to have all inbound call routing options as you desire and a more welcoming approach to customer service.

    What have Ofcom said on the subject?

    Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards said: "Consumers will be able to dial 03 and will be able to have confidence about the cost of their call. We have seen a huge amount of interest in these numbers. We expect consumers to see the advantages of these new numbers as they start to be used by more and more public service organisations". We are allocating new 03 numbers to increase certainty, trust and confidence in the numbers that consumers use to call public services, voluntary organisations and companies who want a national presence
  • 1.9 The original purpose of those non-geographic numbers starting with 08 (and '09') was as a single point of contact for those businesses and public services which have a national presence and identity. These numbers also allow businesses and public sector bodies that make services available to the public to make charges using a micro-payment mechanism known as 'revenue-share', whereby they take a share of the charges paid by the caller; this capability is widely used.

  • 1.10 However, consumers have a poor level of confidence in many 08 numbers. Many people significantly over-estimate charges for these numbers, so are deterred from calling them. Many are not aware of the nature of revenue-share, and a number of 'scams' have emerged which exploit that system. Negative views on 08 numbers are exacerbated by their use for some services (both public and private) that customers view as essential. Many calls to chargeable 08 numbers also relate to services to which they are 'locked in'.

  • 1.11 As a result of these factors there has been a substantial erosion of consumer trust in 08 numbers. Ofcom has already taken some steps to restore this trust in its Number Translation Services Review ('the NTS Review')

  • 1.12 As well as consumer confidence issues, most of the 08 ranges that are currently in use are projected to run out in the next few years, due to strong growth in underlying demand. There are enough spare 08 numbers for these services, but we want to take this opportunity to make more numbers available in a way that benefits consumers.

  • 1.13 We therefore are creating a new type of number - starting with 03 - for those organisations who require a national presence, but who do not wish to make an additional charge to consumers for contacting them. We expect the new range to become trusted by consumers as covering clearly-understood services and price ranges. The new range will meet the need for consumer certainty and confidence in making calls, mainly due to the charging features of 03 numbers: consumers will have a clear understanding of the price that they are paying for a call, mainly as call tariffs and call discounts will be required to be the same as if the consumer was calling a geographic (01 or 02) number. This will apply to all call minutes, including ones that are part of the customer's inclusive minutes; and the use of revenue-sharing will be forbidden on this new range. Consumers calling these numbers should be confident that they will be paying only for the call, and not for any additional services provided by the organisation being called.

  • 1.14 Ofcom intends that these requirements will apply to calls from all CPs on all lines - whether a BT line, any other fixed line, a mobile or a payphone. We are conducting a short further consultation (see paragraph 1.30 to 1.31) with a view to implementing this requirement. Subject to the outcome of this consultation, we expect the requirement to be in place before customers are able to call 03 numbers.

  • 1.15 The 03 range will thereby address the key customer concerns about many 08 numbers, will align with consumer expectations, and so should increase their willingness to make calls.

  • 1.16 In addition, 03 numbers will retain service provider ('SP') benefits that are available on 08 numbers, such as managing call volumes in a flexible way and collecting useful call data. We expect 03 numbers to be attractive to a variety of SPs, including public services. The Varney Review on the delivery of public services, published as part of the Chancellor's pre-budget report in December 2006, indicated the likely widespread adoption of 03 numbers by public bodies.

  • 1.17 To promote early adoption of 03 numbers, we are making 03 numbers available so that all SPs will have a good choice of different 03 numbers: memorable numbers, such as ones starting with '0300' and '0333'; a specific part of the 03 range - all numbers beginning with '030' - for use only by public bodies and not-for-profit services; and numbers that are reserved for SPs on existing 08 numbers, so that they can move across to 03 numbers by changing only the '8' digit in their number to a '3'.

    For a list of

    memorable 03 numbers

    – please consult your Account Manager or call us on