New 03 phone numbers hit the UK


A new telephone code is being introduced this week in a bid to stop consumers' confusion over which numbers will cost them money.

Telecommunications regulator Ofcom said that it will convert existing paid-for 08 telephone numbers, such as 0845 and 0870, to numbers beginning with 03. These numbers will only be used by public bodies and will not be assigned to any profit-making companies.

The new 03 telephone numbers will cost the same amount as UK numbers beginning with 01 and 02. They will be included as part of any inclusive call minutes or discount schemes from customers' landlines or mobile phones in the same way as geographical calls are.

"Consumers will be able to dial 03 numbers with confidence about the cost of their call. We expect public services and many others to view 03 numbers as a real alternative to higher cost 08 numbers," said Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards.

Ofcom also added that it would scrap 070 'personal numbers' after consumers said they were often confusing them with mobile numbers. Ofcom said the removal of 070 numbers, which will begin at the end of the year, would prevent mobile phone scams.