First London (020) 3 number blocks released from 1 June 2005

Ofcom has announced that it will release the first blocks of London (020) 3 numbers to telecoms providers from 1 June 2005. Providers will then start to issue these numbers to residential and business customers in London from autumn 2005.

Section 63 of the Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to seek the best use of appropriate telephone numbers and to encourage efficiency and innovation. Ofcom announced (020) 3 as an additional number range for London in July 2004 to meet the growing demand for new numbers in the capital. Ofcom currently allocates nearly 400,000 new London numbers every year.

There is no change to existing London (020) numbers beginning (020) 7 and (020) 8. Residential and business customers do not need to change any of their existing numbers, and new (020) 7 and (020) 8 numbers will continue to be issued by telecoms providers to customers throughout 2005 and beyond.

Between now and June 2005 Ofcom will be closely monitoring consumer awareness of (020) 3 as an additional number range for London, as part of a communications strategy which will be coordinated with the telecoms industry.

Ofcom research shows that nearly two thirds of those who ever call London are aware that the dialling code for the capital starts with (020). The research also shows that by August 2004, one month after the additional (020) 3 range was announced, 12% of those who ever call London were already aware of the introduction of the additional range.