07 Numbers

'Find me anywhere' numbers

UK telephone numbers beginning '07' are used for mobile devices and for personal numbering. They are usually more expensive to call than fixed, landline numbers beginning 01, 02 or 03.

070 - personal numbers

These are numbers allocated to an individual or business, who can use them to redirect incoming calls to any phone they wish, as and when they choose.

As an example, an individual could configure their 070 number to forward calls to their work phone in the daytime, but connect to their home phone in the evening. They can also be used to sequentially 'hunt' for an individual by ringing different phones in sequence or simultaneously.

A wide range of charges are in use for these numbers, from zero charge to 50p/minute or more.

» Current personal number prefixes

071 to 079 - mobile devices

Numbers beginning 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 07624, 077, 078 or 079 are for mobile phones. All other numbers beginning with 076 are reserved for pagers.

The first five digits of a number are normally enough to show which company first issued the number. However, as customers can retain their number when moving between phone companies, it is not a reliable indicator of which provider they currently use.

» Current mobile phone and pager numbers

Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Mobile phones in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are included in the 07 numbering range alongside UK mobiles. Operators may charge more for calls to these locations than for calls within the UK.

The main prefixes in use for these areas are:

Guernsey07781, 07839, 07911
Jersey07509, 07700, 07797, 07829, 07937
Isle of Man07624, 07924

History and notes

As mobile phones slowly came into limited mainstream use during the late 1980s and early 1990s, they were issued with ten-digit numbers across a variety of different prefixes. The UK's telephone numbering system had been planned almost exclusively around landline use, requiring mobiles and other new services to be slotted in to whatever spare capacity remained. In practice this meant using a mixture of spare or reclaimed prefixes that were indistinguishable from landline area codes. For example, 0389, 0422 and 0838 were landline area codes for Dumbarton, Halifax and Dalmally, but 0390, 0421 and 0839 were among the 30-plus prefixes in use for mobiles. This was confusing and also put a tight limit on the supply of numbers.

In 1994, the nationwide 'Phoneday' renumbering changed all landline area codes to start with '01' and started a national transition from ten- to eleven-digit phone numbers. There was no immediate change to mobile phone numbers, but millions of spare numbers starting with digits 02 to 09 were created for future use.

From 1997, the first batches of modern-style 11-digit mobile phone numbers starting with 07 began to be issued to all new customers. The 07 range was shared between mobiles, pagers and personal numbering with mobiles specifically concentrated in the batches of numbers starting 077, 078 and 079.

Remaining older mobile numbers not starting with 07 were finally withdrawn in April 2001, after customers were transferred to equivalent new-style numbers. From this point, all standard mobile phones in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man had eleven-digit numbers starting with 07.

In recent years, demand for mobile phones, mobile internet and other devices has led to continuing high demand for mobile phone numbers. Despite allowing a total of 300 million numbers, the original allocation of 077, 078 and 079 numbers was nearly exhausted by late 2006. With the neighbouring 076 range reserved mainly for pagers, regulator Ofcom started issuing a further block of 100 million numbers starting with 075.

With the 075 range almost fully issued to mobile operators within only three years, further new numbers starting with 074 followed in 2009 – this batch of 100 million numbers lasted until late 2014. Recently, numbers starting 073 and 071 have also started to be issued.

Current arrangements can accommodate up to 800 million mobile numbers. So far, around 480 million of these have been issued to mobile phone companies. Although this should provide capacity for several mobile devices per person, ineffeciencies in the issuing of numbers mean that Ofcom is likely to have to either take steps to reduce demand or issue new blocks of numbers in the next few years.

Mobile phone number allocations 1997 to 2014

Above: allocations of mobile numbers to mobile phone networks, 1997 to 2014.

Number formatting

Convention is to display '07' numbers in the format 07xxx xxxxxx, with this format used by all mobile phone operators.