Phone bill

A lot has changed in the telecoms industry recently and will no doubt continue to change so please be aware that the figures and costs quoted below are correct as of July 2017*, they may not still be accurate if you are reading this whilst whizzing about on your hover board in 2037.

Which telephone numbers will cost a lot and which ones won’t cost you a penny?

With so many types of telephone prefixes floating about these days it can be hard to keep track of which ones are “premium rate”, which ones are free and which ones cost the same as calling your Auntie Anne at the bottom of the street.

I’ve decided in this guide to break it down into number types rather than individual prefixes although in many sections I have given plenty of prefix examples both in the title and in the description. If there is a specific prefix you are looking for then please press “Ctrl +F” on your keyboard to search the page, there is a huge list of UK area codes at the very bottom of the page and also some quick links to the right of here.

I’ve also added a little £££ sign to highlight the real stingers out there.

Geographic 01 and 02 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’m starting with these as they are still the most recognisable in the UK, basically if the number you are dialling starts with 01 or 02 then it is classed as a geographic number and you will only ever be charged as such by your telecoms provider, there’s no sneaky way of getting additional charges pushed back onto the caller with these type of calls.

Most providers (landline and mobile) offer packages that have inclusive geographic numbers but if you’re not on such a package then expect to pay up to 13p per minute from a landline and between 3p and 55p from a mobile. It is worth noting that inclusive allowances usually omit calls to landline numbers in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. You might also be charged a call set-up fee so check the terms and conditions with your telecoms provider if in doubt.

Click here to view a full list of area codes for 01 and 02 numbers

Non-geographic UK-wide 03 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
These numbers are aimed mainly at UK businesses and organisations that wish to have one number that anyone from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth to Ashford can call and be charged no more than a call to a 01 or 02 geographic number. So the Connect telephone number 0330 3333 777 will cost you the same to dial as call to Edinburgh (0131), Manchester (0161), London (020) or any other 01 or 02 number.

As with geographic 01 and 02 numbers, the 03 prefix is frequently included in packages and bundles with x-amount of monthly inclusive minutes.

Numbers starting 03 are all charged at the same rate but are broken into four usage categories:

  • 030 – reserved for public services, charities and healthcare organisations (see next section)
  • 033 – can be used by any organisation
  • 034 – reserved for migration from the exactly matching 084 number
  • 037 – reserved for migration from the exactly matching 087 number.

Not-for-profit 030 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
As with the above 03 numbers, these are for UK not-for-profit charities and public bodies that wish to have one number nationally. Again, costs should be the same to dial as a 01 or 02 number and they are usually included in packages and bundles with x-amount of inclusive monthly minutes.

Freephone 0800 and 0808 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
Does pretty much what it says on the tin, 0800 and 0808 numbers are free for the caller as the business or organisation you are calling picks up the tab. 0500 numbers also used to be free to call but this range was withdrawn in June 2017.

Mobile numbers 071 to 075 and 077 to 079

£ £ £ £ £
The reason I have not simply put “07” in the description above is that I want to draw your eye to the fact I am not talking about “070” numbers (see the next section titled “Personal numbers”).

Calls to 071 to 075 and 077 to 079 (mobile numbers) vary hugely depending on whether you are calling from a landline or mobile and who your provider is. Again, certainly with mobile packages, you will find that many providers offer inclusive minutes but in general calls can cost anywhere from 10p to 20p from a landline and from 3p all the way up to 55p from a mobile. Most landline providers now offer inclusive calls to UK mobile numbers, at the time of writing, BT is the only large provider to not offer this. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if in doubt ask your provider.

What about 076 numbers?

076 prefix numbers are not mobile numbers, 076 is used for pagers (does anyone aside from doctors still use pagers?) with one oddity being 07624 which is one of the Isle of Man mobile number ranges. Whilst we are on that geographic subject, please note that where inclusive allowances cover mobile numbers they usually omit mobile numbers in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Personal numbers beginning 070

£ £ £ £ £
OK, this is when we start to see some sneaky charging going on. At first glance a telephone number that starts 070 probably looks like a normal mobile number but wait…..

It’s a premium rate number, if you call a 070 number from a landline it can cost you up to £3.40 per minute! From a mobile the cost can be up to £2.50 per minute. So be warned, 070 numbers are not mobile numbers and personally I’m amazed that OFCOM allow them to exist.

084 and 087 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’m sure someone at OFCOM will disagree with me vehemently here but I’m grouping 084 and 087 numbers together as basically you could spend half a day working out how much you will be charged to use them. Calls to 0843, 0844, 0845 and 087 numbers are made up of 2 legs/charges:

  1. leg/charge: is called an access charge which is set by your telecoms provider and can be 2p to 13p per minute from landlines or 3p to 55p per minute from mobiles.
  2. leg/charge: is the service charge which is set by the business or organisation you are calling. This part can be up to 7p per call or per minute for 084 numbers or up to 13p per call or per minute for 087 numbers.

Back to the first part of the leg, the access charge, I can’t tell you how much this will be as it’s set by each individual provider differently. So BT, 02, SKY, TalkTalk, Virgin Media etc set this part of the leg, as a guide BT currently charge 12p per minute for their access charge so add that to whatever the business you are calling is charging and you might get your final figure- good luck.

087 numbers with a Service Charge of more than 7p per call or per minute are defined as Controlled Premium Rate Services (CPRS) and subject to additional regulation by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

I see frequent examples of this still happening but usage of 084 and 087 numbers is now banned for post-sales helplines for retailers, traders and passenger transport companies. They are also not allowed for financial services or public services.

All remaining users of 084 and 087 numbers (and 09 and 118 numbers for that matter) are required to state the call charges immediately alongside the number, wherever the number is advertised or promoted.

My preferred option when calling an 084 or 087 number is not to, I go to the website www.saynoto0870.com which has a huge database of alternate numbers some of which are even freephone to get through to the same place.

Premium rate 09 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
Similar to the way that 084 and 087 numbers are broken down into two parts, 09 numbers charging also consist of the access charge and service charge, however, we are now into the land of some serious money-making by the owner(s) of the number you are calling and the charges are far, far higher than that of 084 numbers.

As the cost of calling these numbers is again broken up into 2 parts it’s very hard to tell you what you will be paying but basically, without putting to fine a point on it, lots. The access charge is from your phone company so you could be talking anything from 2p to 13p per minute from landlines or 3p to 55p per minute from mobiles, the real cost is from the service charge though. This can range from anywhere from 1p (I don’t believe anyone has ever charged this low but clearly I’m very cynical!) to £3.60 per minute and you could also be charged a set-up fee of up to £6.00 for each call.

Unlike 084 and 087 numbers, 09 premium rate numbers are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA).

Services of social value 116 numbers

£ £ £ £ £
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this prefix before I started researching for this post but the long and short of it is that they are free from anywhere in the European Union.

Click here to read more about them but they are very much social welfare lines such as 116000 which is for missing children and this number can be called for free regardless of where you are in the EU. Other 116 numbers in service in UK are:

  • 116111 – Childline (runs in parallel with their 0800 1111 number)
  • 116123 – Samaritans

While 116 numbers are available throughout the EU, calling one of these numbers connects to the service that runs in the country you are calling from.

Directory enquiry numbers 118

£ £ £ £ £
Here we come to the real big money and also the reason how I came about writing this post.

A couple of days ago I was walking back from the school-run with my friend when he pulled out this fun fact about the cost of calling a 118118 number:

How much do you think a 3 minute call to 118118 where you are transferred through to the business costs?” he asked,

£9.99” I said, deliberately pitching it high,

not even close, £18.32” he said quite smugly.

I didn’t believe him, no way could a 3 minute call to directory enquiries cost that much so I did some research and yes, yes he was right – £18.32!

I could go deep into how these numbers are charged but Ben Salisbury wrote an excellent piece for MoneySavingExpert.com which you can read by clicking here. 118 numbers usually have a connection charge which can be up to around £7 and then a charge per minute of around £3.60 but these are not the maximum charges. 118 numbers are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority and so long as the charges are clearly advertised then anything goes.

All 01 and 02 area code prefixes

Click here to view a full list of area codes for 01 and 02 numbers
PrefixArea covered
0113Leeds
0114Sheffield
0115Nottingham
0116Leicester
0117Bristol
0118Reading
01200Clitheroe
01202Bournemouth
01204Bolton
01205Boston
01206Colchester
01207Consett
01208Bodmin
01209Redruth
0121Birmingham
01223Cambridge
01224Aberdeen
01225Bath
01226Barnsley
01227Canterbury
01228Carlisle
01229Barrow-in Furness / Millom
01233Ashford (Kent)
01234Bedford
01235Abingdon
01236Coatbridge
01237Bideford
01239Cardigan
01241Arbroath
01242Cheltenham
01243Chichester
01244Chester
01245Chelmsford
01246Chesterfield
01248Bangor (Gwynedd)
01249Chippenham
01250Blairgowrie
01252Aldershot
01253Blackpool
01254Blackburn
01255Clacton-on-Sea
01256Basingstoke
01257Coppull
01258Blandford
01259Alloa
01260Congleton
01261Banff
01262Bridlington
01263Cromer
01264Andover
01267Carmarthen
01268Basildon
01269Ammanford
01270Crewe
01271Barnstaple
01273Brighton
01274Bradford
01275Clevedon
01276Camberley
01277Brentwood
01278Bridgwater
01279Bishops Stortford
01280Buckingham
01282Burnley
01283Burton-on-Trent
01284Bury-St-Edmunds
01285Cirencester
01286Caernarfon
01287Guisborough
01288Bude
01289Berwick-on-Tweed
01290Cumnock
01291Chepstow
01292Ayr
01293Crawley
01294Ardrossan
01295Banbury
01296Aylesbury
01297Axminster
01298Buxton
01299Bewdley
01300Cerne Abbas
01301Arrochar
01302Doncaster
01303Folkestone
01304Dover
01305Dorchester
01306Dorking
01307Forfar
01308Bridport
01309Forres
0131Edinburgh
01320Fort Augustus
01322Dartford
01323Eastbourne
01324Falkirk
01325Darlington
01326Falmouth
01327Daventry
01328Fakenham
01329Fareham
01330Banchory
01332Derby
01333Peat Inn
01334St Andrews
01335Ashbourne
01337Ladybank
01339Aboyne / Ballater
01340Craigellachie
01341Barmouth
01342East Grinstead
01343Elgin
01344Bracknell
01346Fraserburgh
01347Easingwold
01348Fishguard
01349Dingwall
01350Dunkeld
01352Mold
01353Ely
01354Chatteris
01355East Kilbride
01356Brechin
01357Strathaven
01358Ellon
01359Pakenham
01360Killearn
01361Duns
01362Dereham
01363Crediton
01364Ashburton
01366Downham Market
01367Faringdon
01368Dunbar
01369Dunoon
01371Great Dunmow
01372Esher
01373Frome
01375Grays Thurrock
01376Braintree
01377Driffield
01379Diss
01380Devizes
01381Fortrose
01382Dundee
01383Dunfermline
01384Dudley
01386Evesham
01387Dumfries
013873Langholm
01388Bishop Auckland / Stanhope
01389Dumbarton
01392Exeter
01394Felixstowe
01395Budleigh Salterton
01397Fort William
01398Dulverton
01400Honington
01403Horsham
01404Honiton
01405Goole
01406Holbeach
01407Holyhead
01408Golspie
01409Holsworthy
0141Glasgow
01420Alton
01422Halifax
01423Boroughbridge / Harrogate
01424Hastings
01425Ringwood
01427Gainsborough
01428Haslemere
01429Hartlepool
01430Market Weighton / North Cave
01431Helmsdale
01432Hereford
01433Hathersage
01434Bellingham / Haltwhistle / Hexham
01435Heathfield
01436Helensburgh
01437Clynderwen / Haverfordwest
01438Stevenage
01439Helmsley
01440Haverhill
01442Hemel Hempstead
01443Pontypridd
01444Haywards Heath
01445Gairloch
01446Barry
01449Stowmarket
01450Hawick
01451Stow-on-the-Wold
01452Gloucester
01453Dursley
01454Chipping Sodbury
01455Hinckley
01456Glenurquhart
01457Glossop
01458Glastonbury
01460Chard
01461Gretna
01462Hitchin
01463Inverness
01464Insch
01465Girvan
01466Huntly
01467Inverurie
01469Killingholme
01470Isle of Skye – Edinbane
01471Isle of Skye – Broadford
01472Grimsby
01473Ipswich
01474Gravesend
01475Greenock
01476Grantham
01477Holmes Chapel
01478Isle of Skye – Portree
01479Grantown-on-Spey
01480Huntingdon
01481Guernsey
01482Hull
01483Guildford
01484Huddersfield
01485Hunstanton
01487Warboys
01488Hungerford
01489Bishops Waltham
01490Corwen
01491Henley-on-Thames
01492Colwyn Bay
01493Great Yarmouth
01494High Wycombe
01495Pontypool
01496Port Ellen
01497Hay-on-Wye
01499Inveraray
01501Harthill
01502Lowestoft
01503Looe
01505Johnstone
01506Bathgate
01507Alford (Lincs) / Louth / Spilsby
01508Brooke
01509Loughborough
0151Liverpool
01520Lochcarron
01522Lincoln
01524Lancaster
015242Hornby
01525Leighton Buzzard
01526Martin
01527Redditch
01528Laggan
01529Sleaford
01530Coalville
01531Ledbury
01534Jersey
01535Keighley
01536Kettering
01538Ipstones
01539Kendal
015394Hawkshead
015395Grange-Over-Sands
015396Sedbergh
01540Kingussie
01542Keith
01543Cannock
01544Kington
01545Llanarth
01546Lochgilphead
01547Knighton
01548Kingsbridge
01549Lairg
01550Llandovery
01553Kings Lynn
01554Llanelli
01555Lanark
01556Castle Douglas
01557Kirkcudbright
01558Llandeilo
01559Llandysul
01560Moscow
01561Laurencekirk
01562Kidderminster
01563Kilmarnock
01564Lapworth
01565Knutsford
01566Launceston
01567Killin
01568Leominster
01569Stonehaven
01570Lampeter
01571Lochinver
01572Oakham
01573Kelso
01575Kirriemuir
01576Lockerbie
01577Kinross
01578Lauder
01579Liskeard
01580Cranbrook
01581New Luce
01582Luton
01583Carradale
01584Ludlow
01586Campbeltown
01588Bishops Castle
01590Lymington
01591Llanwrtyd Wells
01592Kirkcaldy
01593Lybster
01594Lydney
01595Lerwick / Foula / Fair Isle
01597Llandrindod Wells
01598Lynton
01599Kyle
01600Monmouth
01603Norwich
01604Northampton
01606Northwich
01608Chipping Norton
01609Northallerton
0161Manchester
01620North Berwick
01621Maldon
01622Maidstone
01623Mansfield
01624Isle of Man
01625Macclesfield
01626Newton Abbot
01628Maidenhead
01629Matlock
01630Market Drayton
01631Oban
01633Newport
01634Medway
01635Newbury
01636Newark
01637Newquay
01638Newmarket
01639Neath
01641Strathy
01642Middlesbrough
01643Minehead
01644New Galloway
01646Milford Haven
01647Moretonhampstead
01650Cemmaes Road
01651Oldmeldrum
01652Brigg
01653Malton
01654Machynlleth
01655Maybole
01656Bridgend
01659Sanquhar
01661Prudhoe
01663New Mills
01664Melton Mowbray
01665Alnwick
01666Malmesbury
01667Nairn
01668Bamburgh
01669Rothbury
01670Morpeth
01671Newton Stewart
01672Marlborough
01673Market Rasen
01674Montrose
01675Coleshill
01676Meriden
01677Bedale
01678Bala
01680Isle of Mull – Craignure
01681Isle of Mull – Fionnphort
01683Moffat
01684Malvern
01685Merthyr Tydfil
01686Llanidloes / Newtown
01687Mallaig
01688Isle of Mull – Tobermory
01689Orpington
01690Betws-y-Coed
01691Oswestry
01692North Walsham
01694Church Stretton
01695Skelmersdale
01697Brampton
016973Wigton
016974Raughton Head
016977Brampton
01698Motherwell
01700Rothesay
01702Southend-on-Sea
01704Southport
01706Rochdale
01707Welwyn Garden City
01708Romford
01709Rotherham
01720Isles of Scilly
01721Peebles
01722Salisbury
01723Scarborough
01724Scunthorpe
01725Rockbourne
01726St Austell
01727St Albans
01728Saxmundham
01729Settle
01730Petersfield
01732Sevenoaks
01733Peterborough
01736Penzance
01737Redhill
01738Perth
01740Sedgefield
01743Shrewsbury
01744St Helens
01745Rhyl
01746Bridgnorth
01747Shaftesbury
01748Richmond
01749Shepton Mallet
01750Selkirk
01751Pickering
01752Plymouth
01753Slough
01754Skegness
01756Skipton
01757Selby
01758Pwllheli
01759Pocklington
01760Swaffham
01761Temple Cloud
01763Royston
01764Crieff
01765Ripon
01766Porthmadog
01767Sandy
01768Penrith
017683Appleby
017684Pooley Bridge
017687Keswick
01769South Molton
01770Isle of Arran
01771Maud
01772Preston
01773Ripley
01775Spalding
01776Stranraer
01777Retford
01778Bourne
01779Peterhead
01780Stamford
01782Stoke-on-Trent
01784Staines
01785Stafford
01786Stirling
01787Sudbury
01788Rugby
01789Stratford-upon-Avon
01790Spilsby
01792Swansea
01793Swindon
01794Romsey
01795Sittingbourne
01796Pitlochry
01797Rye
01798Pulborough
01799Saffron Walden
01803Torquay
01805Torrington
01806Shetland
01807Ballindalloch
01808Tomatin
01809Tomdoun
01821Kinrossie
01822Tavistock
01823Taunton
01824Ruthin
01825Uckfield
01827Tamworth
01828Coupar Angus
01829Tarporley
01830Kirkwhelpington
01832Clopton
01833Barnard Castle
01834Narberth
01835St Boswells
01837Okehampton
01838Dalmally
01840Camelford
01841Newquay
01842Thetford
01843Thanet
01844Thame
01845Thirsk
01847Thurso / Tongue
01848Thornhill
01851Great Bernera / Stornoway
01852Kilmelford
01854Ullapool
01855Ballachulish
01856Orkney
01857Sanday
01858Market Harborough
01859Harris
01862Tain
01863Ardgay
01864Abington
01865Oxford
01866Kilchrenan
01869Bicester
01870Isle of Benbecula
01871Castlebay
01872Truro
01873Abergavenny
01874Brecon
01875Tranent
01876Lochmaddy
01877Callander
01878Lochboisdale
01879Scarinish
01880Tarbert
01882Kinloch Rannoch
01883Caterham
01884Tiverton
01885Pencombe
01886Bromyard
01887Aberfeldy
01888Turriff
01889Rugeley
01890Ayton / Coldstream
01892Tunbridge Wells
01895Uxbridge
01896Galashiels
01899Biggar
01900Workington
01902Wolverhampton
01903Worthing
01904York
01905Worcester
01908Milton Keynes
01909Worksop
0191Tyneside / Durham / Sunderland
01920Ware
01922Walsall
01923Watford
01924Wakefield
01925Warrington
01926Warwick
01928Runcorn
01929Wareham
01931Shap
01932Weybridge
01933Wellingborough
01934Weston-Super-Mare
01935Yeovil
01937Wetherby
01938Welshpool
01939Wem
01942Wigan
01943Guiseley
01944West Heslerton
01945Wisbech
01946Whitehaven
019467Gosforth
01947Whitby
01948Whitchurch
01949Whatton
01950Sandwick
01951Colonsay
01952Telford
01953Wymondham
01954Madingley
01955Wick
01957Mid Yell
01959Westerham
01962Winchester
01963Wincanton
01964Hornsea / Patrington
01967Strontian
01968Penicuik
01969Leyburn
01970Aberystwyth
01971Scourie
01972Glenborrodale
01974Llanon
01975Alford (Aberdeen) / Strathdon
01977Pontefract
01978Wrexham
01980Amesbury
01981Wormbridge
01982Builth Wells
01983Isle of Wight
01984Watchet
01985Warminster
01986Bungay
01987Ebbsfleet
01988Wigtown
01989Ross-on-Wye
01992Lea Valley
01993Witney
01994St Clears
01995Garstang
01997Strathpeffer
020London
023Southampton / Portsmouth
024Coventry
028Northern Ireland
029Cardiff

*Disclaimer Alert ! – The material and information contained on this post is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the above figures as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions. The author makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services or related graphics contained for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such material is therefore strictly at your own risk.

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