The death of 03 numbers?

Telecoms /

If you weren’t already aware, on 1st July 2015 it became free to call an 0800 number from a mobile. This is fantastic news for customers and abolishes the horrendous changes that mobile operators put in place.

But there is one consequence that people haven’t really talked about – have 03 numbers now become irrelevant?

What are 03 numbers?

Sadly this is a question that still comes up all to often.

03 numbers were introduced in 2007, due to the rise of mobile usage and were a cheaper alternative to 08 numbers. The idea was that they'd be a UK wide range, but cost the same to call as a local number - this meant it could potentially cost you nothing if you have inclusive minutes.

However, unlike 08 numbers, there is very little awareness of them and their benefits. I've spoken to countless customers who never even knew 03 numbers existed - it's difficult to recommend a range that people have never heard of and there's of course the potential that customers will be unsure of the cost to call.

Why would I use an 03 number now?

If you're a national company, there's probably not really any need to have an 03 number, especially when you could provide a more well known 0800 number that you KNOW will be free to call (remember, 03 numbers are only free to call if you have inclusive minutes).

But if you're a charity, public sector or not-for-profit organisation, then you may still want to consider one. 0300 numbers are designed specifically for these types of industries, in the same way that .org domains are. I wouldn't be surprised if people will automatically associate 0300 numbers with charities and similar organisations in the future.

There's no way to know what will happen to 03 numbers over time. Personally, I don't see the need for them anymore, especially when you can now provide a cheaper, more recognisable number range instead.

What do you think will happen? Do you have an 03 number as part of your business? Let us know in the comments below.