New “Customer Friendly” Telephone Numbers

In the autumn Ofcom, the UK telecommunications regulator will introduce 03 numbers. These numbers will be known formally as “UK-wide” numbers and will be used by public service organisations, charities and companies that want a national presence, but who do not wish to make an additional charge to consumers for contacting them.

Windsor Telecom, the second largest provider of memorable phones numbers in the UK, has already been allocated a large selection of highly memorable 03 numbers in preparation for the launch. Chief executive, Neil Sherring says: “03 numbers will be the ‘angel’ of numbers. Their introduction will enable public bodies and private companies to restore public confidence in calling them and create a clear understanding of call charges. As there will be no revenue sharing on 03 numbers they are therefore likely to be perceived as being more ethical and customer friendly.”

With the recent poor press around 0870 numbers and the growing mistrust and confusion amongst the general public on call charges, the new 03 numbers are being introduced as an alternative to 08 numbers such as 0870 and 0871 numbers. The cost of calling 03 numbers will be the same as calls to normal landline (geographic) numbers starting 01 and 02 – making costs clearer and more transparent.

In a recent Ofcom survey it was found that although 64% of consumers recognised that 0800 numbers were free to call, they found it difficult to distinguish between prices for calls to 0870 and 0871 numbers. Residential consumers also said they were less likely to dial numbers that they perceived to be more expensive or unfamiliar to them.

Neil Sherring says: “03 numbers provide a great opportunity, if organisations get in early, to have a pick of the best easy to remember numbers that could aid business. Organisations can take the number with them when they relocate because it is non-geographic – it is a number for life. In addition, a huge advantage for business of 03 numbers over geographic numbers is that enhanced services can be provided, such as call statistics, advanced call plans and disaster recovery solutions.”