A numbers game
Date Added: 07 Aug 2012
Added By: Kevin Cooper
I am often asked by my customers about the different types of telephone numbers advertised in the UK. I have to admit that the answer is often not as straightforward as I would like it to be; especially when asked how much it costs to call these numbers. In this blog, I can’t explain every single group of numbers but hopefully I can go some way to describe some of the most common number ranges, why you would use one and how much you or your customers should be paying to call them.
So first of all, what is the difference between a Geographic number and a Non Geographic number? Well, Geographic means that you can tell what area the number relates to by the code used; i.e. a 01603 numbers relates to the Norwich area and a 01473 relates to the Ipswich area. Traditionally it would have also meant that the number terminated in that area also; i.e. a 01603 number would be installed in a premise in the Norwich. However, now with hosting and VoIP services you can have Geographic numbers delivered wherever you like. They are still considered Geographic as the number still represents a location and the cost to call it is the same. So what is a Non Geographic number? Simply, everything else!
The type of number is identified by the first 2 or 3 digits. Here is a list of some of the most common;
01 and 02 – These are Geographic numbers so relate to a particular area. If you call them then your Service Provider will charge you at their standard UK Local or National Rate. I wouldn’t expect to be paying more than 1 pence per minute from a land line. If you call from your mobile then this would come out of your inclusive minutes.
03 – These are considered to be UK-wide numbers however charged at geographic rates; i.e. the same as 01 and 02 numbers. Again, you can call these numbers using your mobile inclusive minutes. If you advertise a new 03 number then it will start 033.
07 – Mainly to UK mobiles; however 070 are Personal Number Services and 076 are for Radio-paging Services. With calls to UK mobile you can’t tell which network you are calling; however your Service Provider will usually charge them at the same rate which will vary depending on your tariff; however I would not expect to pay more than 7 pence per minute.
080 – Generally referred to as “Free Phone” numbers; i.e. there is no charge to call them. If there is a charge then you will receive a message at the beginning of the call giving you the option to end the call; i.e. if you are calling from your Mobile. If you are advertising the number then usually you will be charged a set tariff for the duration of the call.
0843 and 0844 – These are Special Service basic rate. The cost to call is set between the Service Provider and the customer advertising the number. Often a service revenue can be achieved by the Company advertising the number. The cost for you to call can therefore vary; however will be approximately 4 pence per minute as a guide.
0845 - Generally referred to as Non Geographic Local numbers. The cost to call is usually the same as a 01 or 02 number; however different Service Providers may vary however would not expect to exceed 4 pence per minute.
0870 – Generally referred to as Non Geographic National numbers. The cost to call is usually the same as a 01 or 02 number; however different Service Providers may vary however would not expect to exceed 7 pence per minute.
0871, 0872 and 0873 – These are Special Services higher rate. The cost to call is set between the Service Provider and the customer advertising the number. Often a service revenue can be achieved by the Company advertising the number. The cost for you to call can therefore vary; however will be approximately 8.5 pence per minute as a guide.
090 and 091 - These are Special Services charged at premium rates. Calls will either be charged as a fixed cost or charged by the minute. This rate can vary considerably from approx. 8 pence to over £1. 098 are similar however associated with Adult entertainment services.
116 – Free to call and specific for help lines such as Child helplines and Crime victim support.
118 – Used for Directory Enquiry services. Cost to call can vary considerably.
So what number is best for you? Well, it does really depend on what you are going to use it for. For example, if it is for a technical help line for customers without a support contract then you may want to consider a 0871 to generate service revenue. However, if it is to generate new business then you want to make it as attractive to the caller as possible; i.e. a Free Phone 0800.
033 numbers in particular are becoming very popular. Your customer will only be paying a standard Local or National call rate and there is no fear factor if they call from their Mobile as it will be covered by their inclusive minutes. Many Service Providers also offer enhanced network features so that you can have your calls routed to different sites depending on several different factors. For example, you may want a caller in Norfolk to be answered in your Norwich office and a caller from Ipswich to be answered in Suffolk. Or, you may want calls at busy times to be distributed between different sites or at different times of the day. One of the biggest benefits is the Management Information. The cost to implement a 033 number is low so you can use different numbers for different campaigns and can really start to see how effective your marketing is. Did that sales lead come from your website, your flyer or the newspaper? And finally, they are Non Geographic so if you move so does your number.
The opportunities with numbers these days is endless so for more detailed advice speak to your Business Telecom Account Manager today!
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