What are we going to do about 03 numbers?

Telecoms /

It's been said that next year, Ofcom and the mobile phone companies will have sorted out the charges for calling 08 numbers from your mobile; so, for example, 0800 numbers will truly be Freephone numbers again whether you call from a landline or a mobile.

So where does that leave the 03 number range?

What’s good about them?

They cost the same as a local call when you call them and, if you've got free minutes from your phone provider calls to 03 numbers are included.

They're non-geographic, so you can use them to present your business to a national audience but again, your callers, wherever they are only pay a local charge.

What’s the problem with them?

I wonder whether they over complicated things. 03 numbers were being labelled as a replacement for 08 numbers, when in fact they were just an alternative. You then had specific ranges for specific types of organisations, like the 030 numbers for charities. But then, when you have a range like 0300 and people think they're a replacement for 0800 numbers, you're asking for trouble.

The fundamental issue is, and this is what we encounter from customers when they're enquiring about numbers, no one knows about the range. They've been available for several years now but despite organisations like BBC Radio 1 using one, very few people know about them and the benefits of them.

Is this goodbye...

So will they disappear? Have they really appeared to start with? There's more familiarity with the 08 ranges, so I can only imagine that businesses will continue with the 08 numbers they've got.

The 03 number range was released because of the problem of over the top charges from the mobile providers; so if they solve the problem another way, it pretty much makes it redundant as a range and businesses will continue to buy new 08 numbers.

Only time will tell...

Mark Burcher