0500 Numbers Will Soon Die!

If you have a 0500 number as a contact number for your business then you had better take note!

Consultation is currently under way for the withdrawal of the 0500 free phone number range. The 0500 number range is a legacy batch of numbers that were initially allocated to Mercury Communications in the early 1980’s (recently was Cable & Wireless and is now Vodafone). 0500 numbers are classed as free phone numbers and work in the same way as a 0800 or 0808 number.

The number of 0500 numbers in use over the past few years has been declining and it would make it easier for the consumer to recognise 080 as a free phone range rather than 080 and 050, but it does cause problems. Imagine all of the vans, letterheads, directories and stationery with 0500 numbers on and the work this is going to cause companies to change!

OK – this isn’t going to happen overnight as it is muted that the phase out will take 2 years to complete but we are recommending that if you have a 0500 number you must consider your position now. DON’T LEAVE IT TO THE LAST MINUTE!

Your best option is to select a new 0800 number and run it in parallel with your existing 0500 number. Here is what to do over the next 2 years when running in parallel:-

  • When your letter heads or other stationery items run out print a new batch with the new 0800 number on.
  • When renewing with online directories ensure that you do not use the 0500 number.
  • If your van or car lease expires get the livery completed with the new 0800 number on.
  • Towards the end of the 2 years put a message on the 0500 number stating that “we have changed our number to free phone 0800 xxx xxxx”

If you follow these simple steps to change and start the change now it will be far less painful for you than if you leave it until the last minute.

Here are some 0500 numbers that are still in use that you may recognise (hopefully these companies are already considering their options):-

  • BBC Radio 5 Live – 0500 909 693 (this number reflects their old frequencies)
  • NS&I – 0500 007 007 – we like this number but it would have been better suited for MI6
  • Screwfix – 0500 41 41 41 – they will be screwed if this number is not replaced!
  • Sainsbury’s Bank – 0500 40 50 60

If you are a business that has a 0500 number and would like to talk to us about your options please feel free to call us or drop us an email.

About Craig Busst

Craig Busst is a telecommunications professional with over 15 years of experience. There is nothing he can't do with a number!
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  • Geriann Jones

    well its 2 years & 4 months since this article & 0500 numbers are still being used.
    for instance Airwick (the UK air freshner company) just gave me a 0500 number to contact them.

    • citynumbers

      Thanks for your comments on our article about 0500 numbers and that they will die. You are quite right about our article being 2 years and 4 months old. We are a little ahead of the curve here at City Numbers, and are always planning way ahead in regards to our customers numbers.

      Ofcom did release a statement last year, on the 3rd June 2014 stating that they have decided to withdraw 0500 phone numbers. The date set out in Ofcom’s statement shows that the withdrawal with take place on 3rd June 2017. There is still time to use the 0500 numbers that are in existence, but we are advising any of our customers who own one, to act early, and make the move to an 0800 number.

      We have included a link to the Ofcom site if you fancy some bedtime reading:

      stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/re-consultation-0500-freephone/statement

      Hope this helps and all the best for the future.