Personal numbering

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Personal numbering is the name for the virtual telephone number service in the UK. Typically the national destination code used for this service is (0)70. The service provides a flexible virtual telephone number able to be routed to any other number, including international mobiles. For example, the UK number +44 70 0585 0070 might route to an Inmarsat satellite phone number, allowing the user to have a UK number while roaming globally.

This service has however been reported as having "significant scamming activity" of various sorts.[1][2]

(For the telephone numbering plan context of 070 numbers see Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom).


In the United States, AT&T ran a trial in 1991[3] which led, in 1992, to the AT&T EasyReach 700 service[4][5][6] of follow me numbers, on area code 700.

Early days[edit]

After protracted lobbying of Oftel throughout 1992, FleXtel launched the UK's first Personal Telephone Number Service, using the 09567 number range in December 1993,[7][8]

070 introduction[edit]

In 1995 the UK telecoms regulator, Oftel (now Ofcom), reserved the whole of the 070 range exclusively for personal numbering, imitating the USA area code 700. FleXtel migrated its existing customers across during a two year transition phase.

Fraudulent use[edit]

Call cost scams[edit]

A range of scams revolve around UK residents being tricked into making calls to 070 numbers that attract much larger than normal call costs.[9][10][11][12][13]

False UK number scams[edit]

In its full format (e.g. +44 70 0585 0070) an 070 number will be internationally recognisable as a UK number - even though it might in fact terminate to a mobile number anywhere - this feature is used in a variety of scams.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ofcom (2008-10-15). "Review of the 070 personal numbering range". Office of Communications. Archived from the original on 2008-10-18.
  2. ^ "Consumers warned about 070 missed call scam". ofcom. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  3. ^ Bensley, John (1998-03-01). "700 Personal Numbering Trials in the USA". Papers. TeleScapes. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15.
  4. ^ "Lifetime Telephone Numbers". New York Times. 1992-04-29. Archived from the original on 2009-07-13.
  5. ^ "AT&T announces Easy Reach 700". 1992-05-02. Archived from the original on 1996-12-02.
  6. ^ "The 700 Club". Time. 1992-05-11. Archived from the original on 2008-03-09.
  7. ^ "Small Company Launches Caller Pays Service". Financial Times. 1993-12-02. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19.
  8. ^ "09567 Flextel classic". 1996-05-12. Archived from the original on 1996-12-20.
  9. ^ "Ofcom opens investigation into the cost of 118 calls". BBC. 12 May 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ Oftel (2001-05-01). "Restoring trust in Personal Numbering". Office of Telecommuncations. Archived from the original on 2004-05-08.
  11. ^ Oftel (2004-01-16). "Personal Numbering - Guidance on the acceptable use of 070 Numbers". Office of Telecommunications. Archived from the original on 2004-04-17.
  12. ^ Ofcom (2008-10-15). "Review of the 070 personal numbering range" (PDF). Office of Communications. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-07-20.
  13. ^ FleXtel. "Working with Ofcom for Consumer Empowerment". FleXtel Ltd. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19.
  14. ^ "What to do with (international) phone scams?". Retrieved 27 September 2018.