0800 Numbers have been in existence for years and have been mainly used by large, corporate organisations. This has changed over the last decade with more smaller companies using 0800 numbers to attract customers. The issue with this fast growth is that there is a limited stock of 0800 numbers available. Back in the 1990’s Mercury Communications (now Cable & Wireless) were allocated 0500 numbers which were in direct competition to BT’s 0800 numbers. Both of these number ranges were only 6 digits long i.e. 0800 xxxxxx. Oftel (the regulator at the time – now Ofcom) had to increase the number of digits available in a number to 7 which increased the amount of 0800 numbers in stock. 0500 numbers are still free to call and are popular with the BBC (Watchdog has 0500 600 700 and Radio 5 Live has 0500 909 693). There was a rumor that 0500 numbers would be phased out but this has subsided.
So what is the reason for this 0800 numbers blog then?
We just wanted to highlight the fact to you all that 0800 numbers will eventually run out.
What does this mean for you I hear you say?
Don’t worry the UK regulator Ofcom have issued a new number range for when we eventually run out of 0800 numbers. In fact this new number range (0808 numbers) has been around for a few years. Not many people are aware that 0808 numbers are free to call and this blog is to highlight the fact that 0808 numbers are free to call from all UK landlines. 0808 numbers will not replace 0800 or 0500 numbers, all the number ranges will work together as free to call numbers.