The fairest number range - why do we need 03 numbers?
The birth of 03 numbers is a long story. The cost to call non-geographic telephone numbers in the United Kingdom has always been a very confusing subject. Ever since 0800 was introduced to the UK in 1985, these numbers have been referred to as 'freephone'. However when the use of a mobile phone surged in popularity in the early 2000s, callers that dialled an 0800 number from their mobile either had their calls barred or were charged up to 25 pence per minute. Very confusing for a number advertised as 'free to call!'.
The story was the same for 084 and 087 numbers. There were many types of non-geographic 08 numbers set up by businesses trying to make it cheaper for their customers to call them. One of these was the popular 0845 number.
At the time, an 0845 number was designated as 'lo-call' by Ofcom. This meant that it cost between 2p and 5p per minute to call from a BT landline. This was cheaper than calls to 01, 02 numbers and 07 mobiles. These could cost up to 30p per minute from a landline on an unbundled tarriff.
Even more expensive were the controversial 0844 and 0871 numbers. These numbers would cost upwards of 15 pence per minute from a BT landline. However, this is still cheaper than BT's unbundled pricing for local rate calls. Even better was the fact that businesses operating the 084 and 087 numbers received a small share of this revenue when their customers called them. You can see why businesses thought these 08 non-geographic numbers were a great idea.
As telephone providers evolved to offer inclusive minute allowances on their call packages, 084 and 087 numbers quickly stood out like a sore thumb. Especially when every other 01, 02 or 07 number cost the consumer nothing extra to call on top of their monthly line rental.
As the number of inclusive minute packages increased on both landline and mobile contracts, the cost of 084 and 087 numbers increased. Some mobile providers now charge as much as 75p per minute to call these revenue numbers, with only a tiny fraction going to the number operator.
Ofcom introduced 03 numbers as a clear and transparent alternative for organisations looking to look like a national, more established company, but not wanting to charge their customers a fortune. 03 numbers cost exactly the same to call as any other local 01 or 02 telephone number. Your inclusive minute package includes calls to 03 numbers. Finally, a clear and fair option!
Eventually, consumer law changed to outlaw the use of 084 and 087 numbers for some business sectors, meaning that an 03 number was the best replacement available.
What are 03 numbers?
Businesses of all sizes can use 03 numbers as a contact number for their customers as they are virtual non-geographic telephone numbers. 03 numbers are non-geographic so you can choose whether calls divert to your office landline or a mobile, hiding your location and making you look like an established national business. Customers of Flower Telecom can change where the number diverts through to at any time using our self-service portal. This is perfect if you're moving offices as you can always take the same number with you.
03 numbers are fast becoming the most popular numbers for any business to use. Aside from being cheap to call, they are also inexpensive to operate. This means that you can look forward to receiving more customer enquiries and increasing your business sales and revenue.
The introduction of 03 numbers
03 numbers were first introduced by Ofcom in 2007 to offer a single point of contact for business across the UK. They were offered with the provision that 03 numbers are always included in monthly minute allowances. It was also made clear that no revenue made from the call was passed on to the company that uses the number. This was an important step to put the trust back in to 03 numbers. One of the reasons people lost faith in other non-geographic numbers like 0870 and 0845 was the high cost to call which would directly benefit the company you are calling.
How much do 03 numbers cost to call?
03 numbers have a very clear and transparent charging model. It is very simple to understand for both consumers and businesses. If you dial any number that starts 03, then you will pay the standard local rate for that call. This is exactly the same as if you were calling any other 01 or 02 geographic local number.
Inclusive minute packages include minutes to 01 or 02 numbers. These are also known as 'bundled minutes' or a 'monthly allowance'. Callers that dial 03 numbers have these minutes deducted from their inclusive minutes each month along with 01 or 02 numbers.
This is the same regardless of what type of 03 number you are calling. As long as it starts '03', you won't ever pay more than calling a standard 01 or 02 local number.
For reference, if you don't have a call plan or monthly allowance included on your landline, BT's most popular call package charges 11p per minute to call an 01, 02 or 03 number, plus a 19p call connection charge. Charges from mobile networks may vary. Vodafone, for example, charges 30p per minute to call an 01, 02 or 03 number on Pay As You Go. It's 55p per minute if you've exceeded your inclusive allowance on Pay Monthly.
What are the different types of 03 numbers?
There are many different types of 03 numbers, however any number that starts '03' costs exactly the same to call. The different prefixes refers to the type of number that you are calling.
0333 business numbers - The 0333 business number is the most popular type of business telephone number. It was the first range introduced by Ofcom in 2007. This is the type of number that Flower Telecom offers to our business customers as the 0333 prefix is the most memorable and most well-recognised. An 0333 telephone number can be used by businesses or organisations of all shapes and sizes that want to look national. There is no eligibility criteria to meet before using one.
0370/0371 numbers - 0370 and 0371 numbers are less popular, but are available to any business that uses either 0870 or 0871 numbers. The registered user of an 087 number is eligible for the 037 alternative, as with 0345 and 0344.
0345/0344 numbers - The second most popular type of numbers used in the UK are the 0345 and 0344 numbers. These numbers are specially reserved to act as a replacement for businesses that have an 0845 or 0844 number. Ofcom's Non-Geographic Call Services review in 2015 is forcing some business to change away from these numbers. Only the registered owner of any 084 number is eligible to buy the 034 equivalent. This means that if your company originally purchased 0845 1234567, you are the only company that can use 0345 1234567. You can get this from your original provider. If they refuse, call Flower Telecom on 0333 7000 444 and we can get it for you.
0300 not-for-profit and charity numbers – Alongside the implementation of 0333 numbers, Ofcom also introduced 0300 numbers as an exclusive option for all registered public bodies, charities and not-for-profit organisations. There is strict eligibility criteria around whether you can use an 0300 number. As such, these numbers are perfect for displaying your position as an officially registered not-for-profit organisation.
Enquire about an 03 number
How much does it cost to receive a call on my 03 number?
If you're a Flower Telecom customer, your package includes a monthly allowance of minutes. We charge customers who exceed their monthly allowance just 2 pence per minute on our landline packages. On one of our Anywhere packages, we charge just 5 pence per minute when exceeding your bundle. We charge per second, rather than per minute, to make sure that you get the best value for money.
If you're not already a Flower Telecom customer, or if you have an 03 number with another provider, give us a call on 0333 7000 444 to discuss how we can transfer your number to us with no downtime.
What are the benefits of using an 03 number?
There are many benefits to having an 03 number for your business. The first and most obvious is that you hide your location from potential customers and callers. This means that you will look like a national company with customers all across the UK. It will be harder to gain customers in the North of England if you're using an 01736 number from Penzance!
You may also use an 03 number if you want to use a single contact number for your company. Rather than publishing the local numbers of each of your different offices, use one number across the entire UK. This is perfect to increase the identity of your brand. If you add on Flower Telecom's Zone Plan feature, then you will be able to choose which office to divert the calls to based on the geographical location of the caller. Perfect!
Flower Telecom's numbers are virtual, which means that you can change where you receive calls. You can change this whenever you like, using our free online management portal. If you're moving offices into another area, simply change the office number that your 03 number points to. You will start receiving calls at your new place of business instantly. Alternatively, if the lines go down in your office, or an emergency forces you to leave, you can set up all calls to go through to your mobile so you never miss a business call.
If you're using an 03 number with Flower Telecom, you'll also benefit from our range of call management features. Voicemail to Email and Missed Call Alerts are available for free to our customers. You can also add on premium advanced inbound features such as Call Queues, Interactive Menus and custom audios!
How much does it cost to receive a call on my 03 number?
The most obvious negative of using an 03 number for your business is also one of the biggest benefits! You will obviously lose the impression of being a 'local company'. This is useful if you're trying to attract customers from a specific area or region. However the beauty of using virtual numbers from Flower Telecom is the amount of numbers you can have! For example, you might choose to use an 0333 number for your business across the UK, but advertise using one of our virtual 0207 numbers in London. You can really have your cake and eat it too.
How do I get an 03 number for my business?
You can set an 03 number up for your organisation at the Flower Telecom website. You will then be able to search through thousands of available 03 numbers until you find the perfect one for your business. This could be a number that ends in your date of birth or your company's year of establishment. You can even match it to the last four digits of your mobile number. The possibilities are endless.
Once you've found the perfect number, follow the checkout process. Your number will be live in a matter of moments. Perfect for kicking off that advertising campaign.
If you need any help finding the 03 number that is right for you, or if you need help understanding what sort of number you can use, give the team a call on 0333 7000 444.
How do I use an 03 number?
Once you've purchased your 03 number, you need to set it up to divert calls through to either your landline number or your mobile. This depends on the package that you have selected. You can do this by logging into the Flower Telecom management portal and clicking your new number. Confirming your changes will set the number up instantly. You can even give it a test call to try it out!
For any help using the Flower Telecom portal, contact a member of the team.