Talk:Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom/Archive 1

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08xx codes

I've shuffled the 08xx codes section around a bit, but there are still some discrepancies, as listed at Ofcom's Numbering Scheme page. Would it be better to incorporate this information fully, or leave a link to Ofcom's official list? I'll leave it alone for now. Sargant 01:01, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)


The BT Archives and BT Group plc#History of BT both cite Guernsey as being independant phoneswise. -- RHaworth 10:50, 2005 Jan 9 (UTC)

Hull does it different

(Adapted from an email sent to Hull Corporation Telephone Department). I had a good laugh at your National Numbering Groups List. Someone in your company has had great fun thinking up new names for some of the groups, for example Stonehenge instead of Amesbury. I am all in favour of a bit of individuality but I would count the following as errors:

  • 1327 Northamptonshire is too vague - call it Daventry
  • 1381 Cromarty is spelled wrong
  • 1389 Dumbartonshire is too vague - call it Dumbarton (plus, the county name is Dunbartonshire)
  • 1400 Loveden (Lincs) is spelled wrong, was never an exchange name and is not a village name - call it Honington
  • 1451 Cotswold is spelled wrong and also too vague - call it Stow-on-the-Wold
  • 1725 Downton (Wilts) is spelled wrong and needs county name - call it Rockbourne
  • 1889 Rocester is spelled wrong and could be confused with the Medway town - call it Dapple Heath or Rugeley

But by all means keep bonny Udny instead of Old Meldrum and many other similar variations from Ofcom's list of NNG names (on Page 16 of a large PDF) - I hesitate to call it the official list. There is also a very nice Charge Groups Map which uses the original GPO names, eg. 1354 variously called Doddington (GPO list), Chatteris (Ofcom list) or March (Cambs) (Hull list).

RHaworth 03:04, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)

Both the above links are now unavailable Sfgreenwood 13:19, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

1889 is obviously 1UT9 - Uttoxeter. 03:54, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Most common formats

I'm not sure that it's helpful to describe (01xxx) as the "most common" format. It implies that the greatest number of subscriber-numbers have such codes, and that may well not be the case, not least because many of the other code-types cover cities. Also, I believe there are still some five-digit subscriber numbers. -- Pauldanon (talk) 11:27, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I read recently that more numbers are now (02x) xxxx xxxx in the UK than any other format. I can't remember where I read this though but it's hardly suprising given the major population centres covered. There are of course more codes of 01xxx which would give one the false idea that this is the most common number format - combined with the fact mobiles also follow that format. MRSC 14:33, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
And here it is from Ofcom website [1] "Since the code and number changes in the year 2000, most numbers in the UK have a 3-digit code beginning ‘02X' followed by an 8-digit local number eg ‘020' for London, ‘028' for Northern Ireland, etc." MRSC 06:34, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
The number guide has moved to [2] -- (talk) 22:28, 25 November 2012 (UTC)


Is there a role for some rules for geographical numbers and codes? For example:

  • numbers are five, six, seven or eight digits long
  • five- and six-digit numbers have no spaces in them
  • seven-digit numbers are arranged xxx xxxx
  • eight-digit numbers are arranged xxxx xxxx
  • 01 codes are four or five digits long
  • four-digit 01 codes are 01x1 or 011x
  • 02 codes are three digits long
  • numbers with four-digit codes have seven digits
  • numbers with five-digit codes have five or six digits
  • numbers with 02 codes have eight digits.

Is there a role for an illustration of the only acceptable numbers, i.e.:

  • (01xxx) xxxxx
  • (01xxx) xxxxxx
  • (01x1) xxx xxxx
  • (011x) xxx xxxx
  • (02x) xxxx xxxx?

I'd suggest the above simple list clarifies an apparently complex situation and might just help stop the wide range of liberties taken. It's important to get across that the only proper punctuation is parentheses (no hyphens) and that spaces matter.

--Pauldanon 11:43, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You have missed out (01xxxx) xxxxx and (01xxxx) xxxx. Also all-figure numbers (in director areas such as Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester) are allowed to be shown in the traditional all-figure format: 01x1-xxx xxxx. But this doesn't apply to London (since 020 came into effect) and Tyneside, Wearside & Durham (0191 was never an all-figure area). Rapido 16:03, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
The second space is far less important to get right than the first because it says nothing about how the number is dialed. I'm not sure if it actually has a consistant meaning or not regarding how numbers are allocated and where they are portable to though. Plugwash 02:15, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
If there is a second space, it is traditional for it to be placed immediately before the fourth digit from the end of the number. That's probably because numbers are traditionally allocated in blocks of 10 000 (though smaller allocations are now in force in some areas).( (talk) 23:03, 15 August 2009 (UTC))

The above list, corrected:

  • total number length is usually ten but occasionally nine digits long (not including the leading 0 trunk code)
  • subscriber numbers are four, five, six, seven or eight digits long
  • four-, five- and six-digit numbers have no spaces in them
  • seven-digit numbers are arranged xxx xxxx
  • eight-digit numbers are arranged xxxx xxxx
  • 01 codes have three, four or five digits (not including the leading 0 trunk code)
  • three-digit 01 codes are 01x1 or 011x
  • there are only twelve five-digit 01xxxx codes
  • five-digit area codes share their SABC digits with a four-digit area code using the same SABC digits
  • 02 codes are two digits long
  • 01 numbers with three-digit codes have seven-digit numbers
  • 01 numbers with four-digit codes have five- or six-digit numbers
  • 01 numbers with five-digit codes have four- or five-digit numbers
  • 02 numbers with two-digit codes and have eight-digit numbers.

- (talk) 23:35, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Nit on UK number plan descriptions

Strictly, the description of 01xxx as a five digit code is not quite correct. It's a 4 digit code - you ignore the initial STD trunk digit (i.e. the 0) when counting the number of digits. The Ofcom list of administered blocks does this, and so should you.

Thus, in section 2, subtract one from all of the entries, so that five digit area codes become four digit area codes, and so on.

For example, the area code for London is 20 (a two digit code), whilst Romsey has a four digit code (1794).

One final note: The area code for Southampton and for Portsmouth is 23. Calls from a Southampton number (02380 x xxxx) to a Portsmouth number (023 92 x xxxx) are not local calls, even though they're within the same area code.

Lawrence -- (talk) 14:13, 3 March 2005 (UTC)

There are errors in your typing: (02380 x xxxx) should read (023 80xx xxxx) and (023 92 x xxxx) should read (023 92xx xxxx) ( (talk) 23:35, 6 June 2009 (UTC))
First part of that done; as for Southampton vs. Portsmouth, it's not immediately clear to me how best to phrase that,
Of course, you can be bold and edit it yourself, you know ;-)
James F. (talk) 15:08, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You didn't even give yourself a breath before you contradicted yourself:
  • "Southampton number (02380 ....)"
  • "Portsmouth number (023 ....)"
  • "even though they're within the same area code"
But as you probably know, the third of these statements is correct. I think you meant "Southampton number (023 80xx xxxx) to a Portsmouth number (023 92xx xxxx)". And we ought to clarify what is meant exactly by "local calls".... -- Smjg 01:10, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Short codes for mobile SMS

I notice that many SMS services use "short codes"; are these allocated by mobile providers, or some other organization, and are they part of some official numbering scheme? -- (talk) 09:00, 17 March 2005‎(UTC)

The Mobile Data Association ( have a good section on short codes ( Owain 11:32, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Moved from main page

It is likely that the entire country will receive 02x numbers. This is my own theory (numbers spiralling clockwise through England): 020 London and East of England, 021 East Midlands, 022 Southwest England, 023 Southeast England, 024 West Midlands, 025 Yorkshire and the Humber, 026 Northwest England, 027 Northeast England, 028 Northern Ireland, 029 Wales - all phone codes straddling borders will take the number from the region in which the largest settlement stands. Scotland I give 030 (02* and 02# may not work on some mobile phones). Other phone codes will be written in the format (0xx) xxxx xxxx - this works surprisingly well, especially on mobiles, divided into 077, 078 and 079. -- (talk) 20:02, 29 April 2005 (UTC)

I moved this from the main page as it is discussion. It is true that when 01xxx or 01xx area codes run out of numbers they will become an 02x code or be made part of a suitable adjacent 02x area code. This is on the OFCOM website somewhere I beleive. It will take ages to implement as they are not allowed to change numbers just so it fits in to a nice pattern, rather they have to wait until there is a genuine number shortage. If I find the source I will put something in the article regarding this. MRSC 20:14, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Sounds like speculation to me. And my hypothesis is that 021 is being left deliberately vacant until Birmingham runs out of numbers. 00:36, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Ofcom's site also confirms that 03x will be used for national geographic numbers charged at normal landline rates - this is also pointed out in the main article. Dmccormac 20:33, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

4 and 5 figure numbers

I see no mention of subscriber numbers with fewer than 6 figures. They are also acceptable in the current numbering system:

(01xxx) xxxxx - 4 figure code, 5 figure subscriber number
(01xxxx) xxxxx - 5 figure code, 5 figure subscriber number
(01xxxx) xxxx - 5 figure code, 4 figure subscriber number -- (talk) 16:19, 10 May 2005‎(UTC)

just theoretially acceptable or actually used anywhere? Plugwash 02:18, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
They are used, especially around the Lake District. If you don't believe me, then try them!
See: - Bolton (01204) 62335
and: - Sedburgh (015396) 23261
and finally: - Brampton (016977) 2551
Rapido 15:53, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
As of October 2012, Brampton is the only remaining place with 4-digit local numbers, in the 2xxx & 3xxx ranges (although it has 5-digit 7xxxx numbers as well). There are still numerous other places with 5-digit numbers, sometimes with 6-digit numbers on the same exchange. (talk) 21:17, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
The Brampton 016977 area code also has 5-digit local numbers at 4xxxx, 5xxxx, 6xxxx and 9xxxx in addition to those at 7xxxx you mention. The latter three 5+5 number ranges are incorrectly recorded as 4+6 by Ofcom. There's two types of area code with 5-digit local numbers. There are 40 area codes of the form 01xxx where only some of the numbers are 5-digit, but most are 6-digit. There are 11 area codes of the form 01xxxx where all of the numbers are 5-digit. There's also the 1 area code of the form 01xxxx with part 5-digit and part 4-digit numbering; this is the Brampton 016977 area code. In fact, Brampton has two area codes. The 01697 area code has only 6-digit numbers and they can begin only 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9. - (talk) 21:07, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

020 for London

Someone messed up all the formatting for London numbers (again). There is only ONE code for London, and it is 020. Not 0207, not 0208, not 0203. See the Ofcom FAQ at . Formatting as , e.g. 0207 xxx xxxx is confusing because it implies that you can dial the local number xxx xxxx within London, which you can't, because London phone numbers are 8 digits long. -- (talk) 15:40, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

(If it is of any interest the relevant edit was made from a University of Northumbria at Newcastle IP address) -- (talk) 14:49, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

In fact, OFCOM have expressed concerns about automatic exchanges being incorrectly coded as 0207/0208, in that they may then not treat 020 3xxx xxxx numbers as London numbers causing various complications. -- (talk) 11:06, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

This also happens to ranges of VOIP numbers that start 05*. Many switchboards are coded to only allow 01* and 02* etc. MRSC 11:12, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
so how *are* people supposed to configure thier switchboard so they don't get nasty surprises on the phone bill other than by whitelisting prefixes they know thier carrier will charge them a reasonable rate for? Plugwash 02:20, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Switchboards are just computers and they can be programmed to permit or restrict access to any number the service manager wishes. For example, at my office the only DQ service that is permitted is 118425 as it happens to be owned by the service provider! Dmccormac 20:36, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The call return service on some networks still has bugs in reading out such numbers. Talk Talk's is even weirder: I recently caught it giving "02072" before the first pause. -- Smjg (talk) 14:27, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

dates in number shortage section

this sections gives one date for each change, at least for "phone day" and presumablly for the others i belive thier should be two dates. One where the new started working and one where the old stopped working! Plugwash 01:57, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. What were the dates though? ( (talk) 15:44, 6 June 2009 (UTC))
For the "PhONEday" change, the period of permissive dialing (i.e. where you could dial using either the existing code or the new code with the "1" inserted) started in August 1994. The 16 April 1995 date is when the old codes were withdrawn, making use of the new 01... codes mandatory. Although that was the assigned "official" day (it was an Easter Sunday), it reality it's possible that the old codes did continue to be usuable in some places for little longer. (talk) 21:34, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

were uk national phone numbers always fixed length

and if not when were they made fixed length? Plugwash 01:58, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

No. Back in the 1970s I had a 4-digit dialling code (5 with the leading 0) and 3-digit local number. -- Arwel (talk) 02:04, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
Fixed length? What are you talking about? UK numbers have never been of fixed length. Rapido 13:14, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry but I beg to differ! After the introduction of STD they did approximate to a fixed length (n, or n+1), but I can't remember how many digits n was - what I do remember was the exchange waiting a moment after dialling n and before connecting, just to make sure that you didn't dial that extra digit. Zir 10:56, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Hi - I went out with a girl who lived in a small village on the Somerset / Wiltshire border and the STD code was 0985*** (can't remember the last three numbers, but the code was based on the Warminster code). Her number was therefore just *** within the village. That was 1989. -- (talk) 19:23, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Are you sure it wasn't an STD code of 098 5x followed by a 3 figure number? 098 53 Maiden Bradley, 098 54 Sutton Veny, 098 55 Codford St Mary and 098 56 Wylye (all those exchanges used 3 figure numbers, I believe). An STD code of seven figures (six digits after the 0) was impossible unless someone can prove me wrong! Rapido 14:00, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
In the strict technical sense, an STD code was THREE digits. The original STD equipment (named GRACE - Group Routing And Charging Equipment) was designed to translate those three digits into whatever was necessary to reach the destination group over the trunk network, then to repeat the remaining digits verbatim to that distant exchange. The register for those digits which were just stored and repeated was limited to a maximum of six digits. However, what the GPO (and later PO/BT) published and called STD codes for the average user was slightly different, since it included LOCAL routing codes at the destination, the same local routing codes which callers in that area used.
For example, in Cornwall the Redruth group was 0209 (0CO9), and a published listing for a Redruth number would be something like Redruth (0209) 23456. Calling from another part of the country, the zero accessed the STD equipment, 209 was translated by GRACE into whatever was necessary to reach Redruth from that originating exchange, then the 23456 was just repeated into Redruth to reach the required local number.
The nearby village of St. Day had 3-digit local numbers, and was reached from Redruth with the local dialing code 82. So Redruth subscribers calling St. Day dialed just 82 plus the 3-digit number. The published number, including STD code, for a St. Day number would have been something like St. Day (020 982) 234. However, as far as the STD equipment at the originating end of that call was concerned, it was still just translating the 209 into whatever was necessary to reach Redruth, then repeating the remaining digits - 82234 - into Redruth. It neither "knew" nor "cared" whether the 82234 part was a local Redruth number or a combination of a routing code and local number to get to somewhere else from Redruth - All it had to "know" was to translate 209 into the digits necessary to reach Redruth, then send the rest of the number (six digits maximum) to Redruth.
The 6-digit limitation meant that where a local dialing code was included after 3-digits of the actual STD code which would be translated, the total length of that dialing code plus the local number could not exceed six digits. Thus published STD codes (which in reality included local dialing codes on the end of many) could be at most 0xxx plus a 6-digit local number following, 0xx xx with a 5-digit number following, 0xx xxx plus a 4-digit number, etc.
The fact that STD always translated the first three digits (after the zero access code) meant that there were in fact multiple translations for those published STD codes which were shorter than 0xxx, i.e. the codes for the director areas of London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, etc. Calling 031-234 5678 in Edinburgh, for example, resulted in GRACE "seeing" the 312 part and translating it, then repeating the rest of the number - 345678 (the maximum six digits). Thus the translation of 312 had to contain the digits necessary to reach Edinburgh AND select the initial 2 of the Edinburgh number. For a call to London, e.g. 01-765 4321, the STD equipment translated 176 then just repeated the remaining five digits, 54321. Thus the translation of 176 had to reach London and include the necessary digits to indicate a call to a 76x xxxx number.
The fact that the STD equipment was translating part of the local number for calls to director areas was one of the reasons for the sectorization plan of the late 1960's, which for London involved reassigning exchange codes so that the first two digits indicated the sector (e.g. all 44x and 36x numbers, among others, were in the North sector). For the other areas, sectorization was simpler with just the initial digit being used, e.g. in Birmingham codes were reassigned so that all numbers beginning with 3 were in the north, all beginning with 7 in the east, and so on. (talk) 12:28, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

I would say that in the past phone numbers in the UK followed general patterns rather than anything fixed. In the 1980s, numbers were 9 or 10 digits long (including the initial 0) and it wasn't really until PhOneDay that 11 digits became the general standard. There are very few exceptions to this. Dmccormac 20:40, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Is there a list of all of the exceptions some place? (everything other than 01x1 xxx xxxx and 011x xxx xxxx and 02x xxxx xxxx and 01xxx xxxxxx that is). (15:46, 6 June 2009 (UTC)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
10 digits (not including the 0) is the "standard". 9 digit numbers are used in 41 geographic area codes. Those areas always have a mix of both 9 and 10 digit numbers. There are 40 area codes with (01xxx) xxxxx format numbers (look for "4+5" entries in file) and one area code with (016977) 2xxx and (016977) 3xxx format numbers (look for "5+4"). Additionally, all 0500 numbers and some 0800 numbers use 0xxx xxxxxx format (see for details). There are no other 9-digit numbers in the UK. Finally, there are two 7-digit numbers: 0845 46 47 (being replaced by "111" next year) and 0800 1111 still in use. -- (talk) 21:13, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
There's also 12 area codes with 10-digit numbers using 01xxxx xxxxx format (known as "5+5"). -- (talk) 21:18, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

utilisation of current area codes

does anyone know where this info can be found? Plugwash 20:46, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

All info at -- Bryn-y-Baal 18:48, 24 February 2006‎ (UTC)

It now moved to and but beware there are some long-standing errors in the data. -- (talk) 17:50, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

does 911 really work on uk mobile phones

and if so is it an officially supported feature or just something done by some networks to help roaming americans? Plugwash 01:26, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

No it doesn't. The supported emergency numbers are 999 and 112. -- Arwel (talk) 02:03, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Some GSM phones (i.e. those specified for North America) will attempt a GSM emergency call if 911 is dialed. This is supported by the handset, the network does not support 911 or recognise the number. A GSM emergency call does not actually dial a number. It's a specific protocol. The phone can be programmed for any emergency number. However the UK network only supports 112 or 999.

Solair09 (talk) 02:30, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


i seem to remember hearing from an ISP that a freephone number (i think it was an 0500 one) was going to cost national rate to call from then on (and giving a new freephone number). anyone else heared anything similar? Plugwash 20:29, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

News to me. Ofcom's site (sorry don't have the link now) says that 0500 xxx xxx is free to the caller, but no new numbers would be issued after PhOneDay and they will eventually be phased out. Dmccormac 20:42, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Caps/space in "PhONE Day"

Does anybody else write it as "PhONE Day"? The logo was in all caps, and with the "ONE" bit on a coloured background and at an angle to make it stand out. Most webpages write it as "PhONEday", and in my piece I have it as "phONEday" as this effectively matches the pattern of the logo. -- Smjg 14:27, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Northern Ireland numbering by county

The article includes

The prefixes for existing numbers in Northern Ireland are split up into 7 groups,
roughly based upon the county in which the main exchange is based. The initial digit
of each phone number is based on the designated county - for example, the first county
alphabetically is County Antrim so numbers in this county start 2.

That may be true for the examples given but it's not true in general. Antrim town itself mostly has numbers starting 94 and many Newry numbers start 30. If there is any logic behind the allocation of numbers, it would be good to include it but otherwise we should just delete this bit. --Cavrdg 06:47, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

See the table on Big Number Change. The "Greater Belfast" area numbers all begin wih 9x. Other than that the pattern seems to fit pretty well. Owain (talk) 18:21, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Local Exchange Codes

For completeness, the article really ought to include some mention of local exchange codes which further divided the 'subscriber code' number. Although they are now largely obsolete to the user, they are still often distinguished by a space or pause when quotating a number, e.g. 01xx xxx xxxx. Many of these codes also carry historical alphabetic meaning and until a certain date (any ideas, early '90s?) could be omitted for dialing within that exchange area in smaller areas. Mobile phone numbers also do something similar, with four-digit sub-codes originally allocated to operators. --Fursday 15:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm a bit lost here, could you elaborate or give an example? Rapido 14:02, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Like 021-373 == ERDington. Owain (talk) 18:18, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
BTW, if User:RHaworth hasn't already pointed it out, there is his list at Owain (talk) 18:28, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
This looks like the most appropriate place for my complaint: Numbers of the form 01xxx xxxxxx also come in the form 01xxx yyy zzz, where yyy is the number for the local exchange. Where I used to live, yyy zzz is enough for any number in the area code, which is identified, though not clearly, in this article. More than that, where I live, any number that shares the same local exchange can be reached with only zzz. e.g. My number is 01234 551 678 (I made that up, it's not really), a number 6 miles away is 01234 512 411, another 20 miles (by road) is 01234 535 239, each of these can be reached by dialing the last 6 digits. A number within 1 mile however might be 01234 551 827. I can reach this by dialing the last 3 digits. Which, I see now must place some restrictions on numbers ending with '999' or '112' among others... Does anyone else live in a place like this? It's in the Highlands of Scotland by the way, accounting for the nice geographical division of numbers. (talk) 16:18, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
It was the six director areas - London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester - which had 7-digit numbers in which the first 3 digits indicated the exchange within the area and were represented with letters (e.g. ABBey, WHItehall, HOLborn, or EDMonton within London). In cases where demand at a particular exchange exceeded 10,000 lines, a second code was assigned to serve a second unit within the same building, e.g. VIRginia was also located within the FINchley exchange (a few exchanges in London had three such codes where more than 20,000 lines were served). But once this director system was in place, it was never possible to dial calls within one's own exchange as only the last four (numeric) digits; calls had to be dialed as the full 7 digits (e.g. WHI 1212 for WHItehall 1212, even if calling from another WHItehall number). -- (talk) 20:32, 5 October 2012‎ (UTC)
The letters were phased out during the conversion to AFN (All-Figure Numbering) in the 1966-1969 time frame. The opportunity to implement sectorization was taken during this conversion, where for London the first two digits of the code then indicated the sector in which the exchange was located, e.g. all numbers beginning 36 were in the North sector. Only about one-third of the total number of named exchanges within London retained codes which were just the equivalent numerical version, e.g. ENTerprise in New Southgate remained as 368. The remaining codes were changed to something completely different in order to fit the sectorization scheme, thus the link between the old name and the new all-figure number was lost. A similar process took place in the other director areas, but in those it was only the first digit of the number which determined the sector. (talk) 20:32, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

VOIP Issued National Dialling

left of main page: source? the national numbering plan explicitly forbids use of national dialing only ranges in any situation where a human will be dialing it!

but for some strange reason some VOIP companies have issued them, like vonage [3] —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

To put it simply...

Can you please generalise the phone number format for the UK?

1. 11 digits including an initial 0 for access to the STD network.
2. Area codes of 3 to 6 digits including the initial 0 (e.g. 020, 0121, 01727).
3. Local subscriber numbers of 5 to 8 digits.
Dmccormac 20:46, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
While area codes may have 3 to 6 digits including the leading zero (i.e. 2 to 5 digits without it), local subscriber numbers may have 4 to 8 digits. (talk) 00:28, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

This covers most of the options:

(01x1) xxx xxxx
(011x) xxx xxxx
(02x) xxxx xxxx
(01xxx) xxxxxx

There are a very few older ones like:

(01xxx) xxxxx
(01xx xx) xxxxx
(01xx xx) xxxx -- (talk) 00:10, 23 August 2007‎(UTC)

Is there a list of exceptions to the formats listed in the first block?

I have found these longer codes and assume most have five-digit numbers...

013873 Langholm
015242 Hornby
015394 Hawkshead
015395 Grange-over-Sands
015396 Sedbergh
016973 Wigton
016974 Raughton Head
017683 Appleby
017684 Pooley Bridge
017687 Keswick
019467 Gosforth

What others are there still in use now? -- (talk) 2009-06-06 00:06 (UTC))

016977 Brampton - with four-digit local numbers. (talk) 12:39, 22 October 2009 (UTC))
Brampton has a mix of 4-digit (2xxx, 3xxx) and 5-digit (4xxxx, 5xxxx, 6xxxx, 7xxxx, 8xxxx, 9xxxx) local numbers using the 016977 area code. Brampton also has some 6-digit local numbers (2xxxxx, 5xxxxx, 6xxxxx, 8xxxxx, 9xxxxx) using the 01697 area code. Area codes 016973 and 016974 have only 5-digit local numbers and are used in Wigton and Raughton Head. These are "mixed" areas, and Ofcom has numerous typos here, especially in their data for 16977 numbers. - (talk) 21:19, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Missing Codes

""I'm sure that people will realise those ranges are in use if they aren't present"" using TW. JGXenite 2007-11-08 09:13 (UTC)

Why would they assume that? Would they not think that codes such as 01125 or 01197 or 01113 might exist as those longer codes? Anon 2007-11-11 19:40 (UTC)
Ranges such as 0111 are no doubt deliberately kept out to stop confusion (is that 01113 or 0113?) In my opinion, there is no need to include ranges that are not in used - I think it causes clutter and confusion to the casual reader. ~~ [Jam][talk] 20:05, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Short codes to a neighbouring exchange


I'm sure I recall dialling a two digit short code to connect to a neighbouring exchange followed by the four digit telephone number in the early 80s, i.e. from Hertford to Ware I think 92xxxx would connect you to phone number xxxx on the Ware exchange.

Is there a list of these anywhere or is it just a figment of my imagination?

Ta C2r 14:47, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

No I remember those too! For example, the old dialling code for Enniskillen was 0365; for Ballinamallard it was 036586. But to dial a Ballinamallard number from Enniskillen, you just dialled 86xxx and in the other direction you dialled 9xx xxx. No idea where there might be a list though, unless BT might have one in an archive somewhere. Dmccormac 20:49, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I can certainly remember seeing the short codes published in the phone book in the pre-BT days. There might have even been a different charging rate for them. In Doncaster in the 1970s, Rotherham and Thorne had short codes (85 and 74 I think) despite having their own area codes and the local dialling area extended as far north as Selby and as far east as Goole and Brigg. There's an example, for Bishop's Stortford, and an explanation of how they worked here: [4]. Sfgreenwood 13:31, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

From Stevenage 91 got you to Hitchin, and vice versa. So to dial the speaking clock (which was on the Hitchin exchange but not the Stevenage one) was 91 8081. Supposedly you could hop quite long distances by chaining them together, thus avoiding the cost of a long-distance call. SimonTrew (talk) 14:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I remember these too. From Hindhead (apparently a branch exchange) 9 got you to Haslemere which was the main exchange. One of my friends discovered accidentally that in Haslemere 99 connected you to the emergency services. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:49, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

To attempt to compile a list of ALL local dialing codes would be a mammoth task, since by their local nature they were used all over the country for different routings, and were subject to many changes over the years as direct trunk groups were added, as exchanges in an area went onto a linked numbering scheme, and so on. To generalize, from a typical town exchange there would typically be various 2-digit or 3-digit codes to reach the outlying dependent exchanges serving small villages nearby (often UAX's). 7x and 8x were very common assignments, but 6x wasn't unusual, 5x was found in quite a few places, and some other more unusual assignments. The small UAX village exchanges dialed 9 to reach their parent exchange, which also acted as a local tandem for calls between one of those UAX's and another. Hence the common pattern repeated all around the country was for subscribers in the town to dial 81, 82, 83, etc. (or 71, 72, 73, etc.) to reach the various small outlying villages, and for subscribers in those villages to dial 9 plus the number to call the town. Calls from one outlying village to another, where both exchanges had the town as their parent, were then dialed as 981, 982, 983, etc., the routing being fairly obvious.
After the introduction of STD and the new charging scheme, calls not only within one's own charge group (generally, but not always, the area covered by one specific 0xxx STD code) but in most cases to adjacent charge groups were classed as local, and dialed with these local codes instead of the STD code. 9x codes were normally used to route calls from the main exchange in one group to the main exchange in those adjoining groups. For example, in Cornwall Truro had STD code 0872, while the adjoining Redruth group was 0209. But when calling from Truro to Redruth, it was local, and a Truro subscriber reached a Redruth subscriber by dialing 92 plus the number.
The 9x codes to reach an adjoining group could then have the other codes added on to reach one of the dependent exchanges within that group. To continue with the same example, St. Day was reached from Redruth with 82. So to call St. Day from Truro, one dialed 9282 to route the call via Redruth. A subscriber on one of the small UAX's which had Truro as its parent dialed 9 plus the number to call Truro, and thus dialed 992 plus the number for Redruth, and 99282 plus the number for St. Day.
This sort of pattern was repeated all over the country, hundreds of times. Dialing code booklets were printed for each local group of exchanges to indicate which codes should be dialed from any particular exchange in the area to reach another. Every time something within that area was changed, a revised book had to be issued. (talk) 20:50, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

RoI 000x codes

Interesting how 0003 and 0008 were left unused - the obvious conclusion to jump to is that these were provision for Belfast and Londonderry/Derry in case of Northern Ireland being ceded to the RoI. Is there any evidence for this, or is it just a coincidence? 00:32, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Personally I doubt that. The list given in the article is incomplete and inaccurate - for example, the short code for Sligo was actually 0015. Dmccormac 20:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

0003 was not used because (03) in the Republic of Ireland was used as a short code for direct dialing Britain. Calls were made by dialing 03+UK number e.g. 03 021 999 9999 for a Birmingham number. Some strange codes also existed e.g. to call UK director areas, one could dial : 031 for London, 032 for Birmingham, 035 for Manchester and so on. These were phased out of use in the 80s. 0300 was used for premium rate numbers briefly in the late 1980s and early 90s. The 03 range is now reserved for future changes in the Republic's numbering scheme.

0008 was not used because (08) was used for access to Northern Ireland. Again, the entire UK area code was prefixed e.g. Belfast 0232 999 999 became 08 0232 999 999. This was dropped when Northern Ireland was converted to 028 xxxx xxxx and replaced with the 048 + local NI number short code, or alternatively +44 28 xxxx xxxx (both are charged at national rates, or local rates if close to the border). 08 codes are also used for mobile phone service and paging. 088 was assigned to the original Eircell TACS network in 1983. 08X xxx xxxx numbers continue to be used for mobile phone networks.

I'm afraid, it was nothing more political than that! Conspiracy averted :D Solair09 (talk) 02:48, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


Bit of confusion here - at one point it says 023 is a two digit code as the 0 is just a marker for long distances, then about 3 lines further down it says 0161 is a four digit code, and 01482 is a 5 digit code. Anyone with slightly more knowledge than me (not hard...) want to clarify/change things? Petsco (talk) 10:11, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Ah, the joy of the UK telephone numbering system. 023, 0161 and 01482 are all "area codes" within the UK. All numbers within the UK start with a 0 (which is dropped if dialling from abroad), then either a three, four, five or six digit area code, followed by a eight, seven, six or five digit subscriber number (respective to the area code). It really depends on how big an area the code is covering (London obviously has more subscribers than Hull - hence London uses 020 and Hull uses 01482). Does that explain it better? ~~ [Jam][talk] 10:20, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
No, I realise that (i'm english after all). All i'm saying is the fact that 023 is down in the article as a 2 digit code (despite having three digits) whereas 0161 is down as a 4 digit code, and 01482 is down as a 5 digit code... there's just an inconsistency in the article. Petsco (talk) 09:27, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, sorry! I misread your comment. I'll have a look and change it - it's probably a silly mistake that someone has entered by accident. ~~ [Jam][talk] 09:55, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I've removed the "general format" section as it was unsourced and didn't make sense to me. ~~ [Jam][talk] 09:59, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
"No, I realise that (i'm english after all). All i'm saying is the fact that 023 is down in the article as a 2 digit code (despite having three digits) whereas 0161 is down as a 4 digit code, and 01482 is down as a 5 digit code" <-- it's easy to get confused, technically 23 is a two digit code, 161 is a three digit code. While the zero is usually written with the area code it is not actually part of it. Unfortunately it seems someone has been through the whole article "correcting" it to the assumuption that the zero is part of the area code. This could do with fixing but I'm not in the mood at the moment. -- Plugwash (talk) 03:50, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
From what I can tell, the "2 digit" area code mistake has been corrected. I think it just needs clarifying that, from inside the UK, you need the 0, whereas this is replaced with 00/+ 44 when dialling from outside the UK. ~~ [ジャム][talk] 08:35, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
It's no mistake, 020 *is* a two-digit area code. It is the others that were wrong. 0121 is a three-digit area code. ( (talk) 14:12, 3 June 2009 (UTC))


Whoever the author is, thanks for putting Brampton in there! :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:59, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

01* non-geographic before PD?

What are these "Freephone, Local Rate, Premium Rate Services" that had codes beginning 01 in the 1990s?

Between London relinquishing the code and PhONEday, the only thing AFAIK to begin with 01 is the international dialling prefix, 010 before 00 replaced it. Which I guess counts as geographic ISFA the digits following it identify the country, although the particular number within the target country's numbering system may be geographic or non-geographic.

Just checking before correcting the info here.... -- Smjg (talk) 20:34, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

"temporarily" added 071 and 081 for London

It says in sec "Introduction of area codes" that these were "temporarily" added for London. In one sense this is of course correct (in the sense that most of the numbers are temporary!) but they were around for quite a while. Would another word, e.g. "much later", "eventually", be better, or just "allocated to London until subsequent changes" or something like that? SimonTrew (talk) 06:49, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

BT fixed their area code list. Or did they?

I'd like to say that BT recently fixed their area code list, but in reality they just messed it up again... ( (talk) 02:24, 18 November 2009 (UTC))


Just wanted to say that these formats are absurdly confusing, but the Wikipedia article was clear enough for a dumb 'murrican like me to get a mobile number formatted correctly on the first try. Great job, guys! -- Avocado (talk) 18:08, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

The case for presenting a proper list of formats.

The UK has a large number of formats, and they apply to very specific prefixes. As noted by one satisfied customer above, it's complicated. I put it to you that almost no-one would go through the entire article trying to compile a full list of formats, but would take great joy in seeing the simple table at the head of the article laying out the main points. Are you aware how much software out there was incorrectly programmed when the old list, several years ago, just listed a few formats. People in a hurry assumed the simple list was all of the formats and read no further, such as here: and here: and very many other places. The full list is still only a summary of the formats, and makes no mention of the purpose and usage for which the full article has to be read. (talk) 15:50, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the best thing to do is remove it from the infobox and put it in the body of the article. It can also be formatted a little better. The infobox should only show summary information. "Typical format" should be ythat, and not an exhaustive list. MRSC (talk) 16:12, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
The iPhone formats telephone numbers on screen as they are dialled. Looking at iOS 6 it is clear that the list here at wikipedia was used to program this function. Earlier versions of iOS omitted several of the formats that were not listed here at that time, a time when the list here was incomplete. (talk) 16:19, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
There is no problem with this information being in the article and it should. However, it deserves space to be formatted and explained properly. MRSC (talk) 16:34, 23 September 2012 (UTC)