03 Numbers

Standard landline rate numbers

Numbers starting with 03 are standard landline rate numbers used by businesses, government and other organisations. They are not linked to any specific location and are used as a more flexible alternative to area-specific landline numbers.

What are 03 numbers?

03 numbers are commonly used for customer service and enquiry centres, sales lines and helplines. The following features apply to all numbers starting with 03:

  • Cost the same to call as a normal '01' or '02' landline
  • Included in calling packages on the same terms as normal landlines
  • Cannot generate money for the call recipient
  • Not associated with any particular location
  • Offer businesses advanced facilities for routeing and redirecting calls

In other words, 03 numbers offer companies a more flexible way to handle incoming calls without imposing any extra charges on callers.

Ofcom introduced 03 numbers during 2007, to offer organisations an alternative to the more costly 084 and 087 numbers which have become unpopular with consumers.

Call costs for 03 numbers

All numbers that start with 03 cost the same to call as a normal local or national landline.

If your phone tariff offers inclusive calls to landlines, all numbers starting with 03 will also be included on the exact same basis.

Call costs from landlines

Most home phone tariffs include free calls to these numbers, at least in the evenings and at weekends. If your tariff does not offer inclusive calls to landlines, or you are calling at a time of day when charges apply, typical rates are:

Landline companyWeekday daytime
(if not inclusive)
Evening / weekend
(if not inclusive)
Plus set-up fee
(per call)
BT10p per minute10p per minute17p per call
The Co-operative8p per minute8p per minute13p per call
KC10p per minute10p per minute16p per call
Plusnet10p per minute10p per minute16p per call
Post Office10p per minute1p per minute16p per call
Sky Talk12p per minute12p per minute17p per call
TalkTalk12p per minute12p per minute17p per call
Utility Warehouse8p per minuten/a17p per call
Virgin Media12p per minute6p-12p per minute19p per call

Call costs from mobile phones

If your tariff does not offer any inclusive minutes, or you have used all your inclusive or bundled calling allowances, the following prices apply:

Mobile companyPay monthly
(if not inclusive)
Pay as you go
(if not inclusive)
Asda Mobilen/a8p per minute
BT Mobile35p per minuten/a
The Co-operative20p per minute4p-7p per minute
EE40p per minute30p per minute
Giffgaffn/a15p per minute
O245p per minute30p per minute
TalkTalk40p per minuten/a
Tesco Mobile25p per minute25p per minute
Three35p per minute3p per minute
Virgin Media40p per minute35p per minute
Vodafone45p per minute30p per minute

Prices are for residential customers on current tariffs as of 2 May 2016, rounded to the nearest penny and intended as a guide only. Minimum charges may apply.

It is a legal requirement that calls to 03 numbers are always charged at the same rate as calls to normal landline numbers starting with 01 or 02. If you are overcharged, you should make a complaint to your phone company.

Official definition of 03 numbers and charges

The official National Telephone Numbering Plan issued by regulator Ofcom defines 03 numbers as follows:

“Calls charged at a geographic rate: calls charged at up to the same rate the customer would pay to call a UK geographic number, with calls to 03 numbers counting towards inclusive call minutes if the customer has remaining inclusive minutes to UK geographic numbers, and included in any discount structures that apply to UK geographic numbers.”

Ofcom also bans any sharing of the revenue generated from 03 number call charges:

“Those who adopt or otherwise use non-geographic numbers starting 03 shall not directly or indirectly share with any end-user or any calling party any revenue obtained from providing a service on those numbers.”

03 number types

Numbers starting with 030 are specifically reserved for public sector bodies, charities and other non-profit organisations.

Apart from this, all 03 numbers are charged at the same rate and work in the same way.

Prefixes currently in use:

Number format

As the entire number must always be dialled in full, there is no fixed format for these numbers. The format 03xx xxx xxxx is probably the most common.

Telephone keypad and the digits 0 and 3.