08 Numbers

Special rate numbers

What are 08 numbers?

UK telephone numbers beginning with '08' are used by many businesses, public services and other organisations. They are commonly used for national helplines or customer service and enquiry centres.

The key features of '08' numbers are that:

  • Call charges vary considerably - from free to a significantly higher cost than a normal '01' or '02' number
  • In most cases, they are not included in the inclusive or 'bundled' minutes in phone contracts
  • A proportion of the cost of calling the number may be received by the organisation being called
  • They are not associated with any particular location

Since 2007, companies have also been able to use 03 numbers, which offer similar benefits but usually at a lower cost to the caller.

Freephone numbers: 0800 and 0808

UK numbers beginning '080' are intended to be free to call and generally remain so from landline telephones. However, mobile phone companies usually will charge for calling these numbers.

The 0808 80x xxxx range is dedicated to telephone helplines and usually free to call from landlines and mobile phones alike.

Internet for schools: 082

Rarely used, dedicated range of numbers for schools' dial-up internet.

0843, 0844 and 0845 numbers
special services basic rate

Calls to 0843 numbers, 0844 numbers and 0845 numbers are charged at special rates. Although capped at no more than 5p per minute from a BT line, charges from mobiles and other providers can be considerably more (commonly 35p/min) and often are not included in bundled 'inclusive minutes' or call plans.

0845 numbers were once 'local rate', but this definition is no longer appropriate as many landline users, and almost all mobile users, now pay more to call an '084' number than a local, geographic number.

0870 numbers
general non-geographic number

Originally designated as 'national rate', charges for calling an 0870 number vary by operator. They are intended to be charged in the same way as 03 numbers but many telephone companies continue to charge a premium for calls to 0870 numbers.

0871, 0872 and 0873 numbers
special services higher rate

Similar to premium rate '09' numbers, calls to an 0871 number, 0872 number or 0873 number are charged at a higher rate and are regulated by Phonepayplus.

Although capped at no more than 10p per minute from a BT line, charges from mobiles and other providers can be higher (commonly 40p/min) and are rarely included in inclusive minutes or call plans.