Ofcom review of UK Telephone Numbering Plan

in Phones & TV
7 replies 2.5K views
Thanks to idb & Heinz from Sayno for noticing this information.

Ofcom have announced they will look into the current mess of number allocations and plan on introducing a new 03x non-geographical number that will be charged the same as geographical and could be included in 'inclusive' packages.

See Ofcom's website here.

Discussed as well on Sayno here.

Key proposals:-
  • Create a new country-wide number range - 03 - which would be charged to the consumer at the same rate as calling a geographic number. Organisations requiring a national presence would be able to use this range without charging consumers a premium for contacting them; and calls to 03 numbers could be included in any inclusive or low-cost call packages offered by landline or mobile phone companies
  • Simplify the structure of the 08 range used for chargeable services. Ofcom plans to band new numbers by price and type of service to develop an association in the consumer's mind that the lower the digit that follows 08 the lower the price in that range. For example, calls to a number beginning 082 would be charged at a lower rate than those to a number beginning 089. These proposals complement work already underway to reform the current 084/087 numbering scheme, the conclusion of which will be published next month
  • Simplify the structure of 09 premium rate service numbers in a similar way to 08, by making different groups of 09 numbers represent different prices and services. This will also enable consumers to bar specific types of 09 numbers


  • On the last two bullets, this was exactly what was intended following the year 2000 changes. Unfortunately Oftel then Ofcom f..ked it up in the meantime by introducing new ranges which didn't follow the format put together by the people who devised the plan back then.
    I really must stop loafing and get back to work...
  • I certainly hope the numbering plan goes ahead, if only to get personal numbering moved from 070 to 06, as it is certainly more misleading having a number code the same as a mobile than its 08 and 09 counterparts.
    If saved £2710 and only spent the interest (Based on a return of 5%), you would have enough money to pay your TV Licence every year. Saving you £7452.50 over a period of 55 years, based on you buying a license from the age of 20 until your 75 at a cost of £135.50.
  • I notice that it says calls to the new suggested numbering range starting 03 COULD be included in inclusive call packeages, it doesnt mean to say that it WILL be.
  • bbb_ukbbb_uk Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    I believe that the proposals that ofcom was talking about in their last consultation (ie remove revenue share from 0870 numbers) will be axed.

    I suspect ofcom will then state that there is an 03x range that companies/gov depts can use that would have same benefits as existing non-geographical numbers but without the added cost to us callers.

    This obviously means that no company is ever likely to migrate to this new number range because why should they when they are getting away with it all now? For a company to migrate would mean loss of revenue and migrating costs. In other words there is no incentive to migrate!

    Effectively, this new consultation is ofcoms own response to the last consultation. Yet again one consultation after another!
  • reduxredux Forumite
    22.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Maybe consumers will gradually lever companies to provide these numbers - not great hopes though, as every time you object about the cost of them, their staff appear untrained on the issue (0870 is free, etc)
  • bbb_ukbbb_uk Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    Ofcom have today released their response to this consultation.

    The summary is available here and although I haven't read the whole document, here is a brief outline of what I read from the summary:-
    • 03 - This range will be created and revenue sharing will be forbidden and also Ofcom mentions that that teleco's will be required to include them in any discounts/tariffs, etc they do. Also; 0300 memorable numbers will be reserved for government departments and not-for-profit organisations.

    • 06 - Personal numbers - migrated from 070 - see below

    • 06 - Individual numbers - these will be allocated directly to end users and not to teleco's as personal numbers are. Ofcom have admitted this raises issues which will be looked into further.

    • 070 - These personal numbers, or stealth premium rate as they are used by some scammers, will be capped (no firm commitment given on what the price cap will be) and eventually, in upto 3 years, moved to 06x range. Any teleco charging more than this cap will have to issue free call announcements.

    • 080 - will remain as freephone numbers (well from landlines anyhow)

    • 084/087 - Ofcom plans on introducing greater call transparency on these ranges where many businesses still refer to these ranges as local/national rate. New number allocations will be become clearer on the call charges as they will follow a pattern (ie the higher the digit after the the '4', the higher the cost of the call - still upto 5p/min for numbers beginning 084x). Existing numbers in this range appear to be staying the same as they are so we are still none the wiser as to the cost of these calls.

    • Ofcom hopes(!) to raise consumer transparency by developing tariff descriptions that give information on call costs regardless of the type of line a call is made from. This will likely involve another consultation because costs from mobiles to NGN's currently cost upto 40p/min instead of upto 10p/min from a BT landline.
    This is only a brief outline of what Ofcom intends. The full statement can be downloaded (pdf) here.

    Also discussed on SayNo here.
  • HeinzHeinz Forumite
    11.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    So, we all wasted out time (again) telling them what to do with the 084/087 range and they're going to do what they'd decided to do long before publishing yet another pointless (and duplicated) 'consultation'.

    And their Chief Executive, who has now decided to leave (watch out ITV he's on his way although, allegedly, you don't know it yet) was paid a salary of £440,000 a year! Not bad for a toothless regulator.
    Time has moved on (much quicker than it used to - or so it seems at my age) and my previous advice on residential telephony has been or is now gradually being overtaken by changes in the retail market. Hence, I have now deleted links to my previous 'pearls of wisdom'. I sincerely hope they helped save some of you money.
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