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.

Typical landline call rates »

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:

Telephone keypad and the digits 0 and 3.