How to Buy a Toll-Free Number in the UK

Toll-free numbers, otherwise known as freephone numbers, are common among businesses in the United Kingdom. A landline number that enables customers to call your business free of charge, it is a powerful tool when it comes to encouraging direct communication with your brand. 

Already, this sounds like an opportunity your business probably wants to take advantage of. But how do you buy a toll-free number, and should you? Discover everything you need to know about acquiring toll-free numbers in the UK.


What Number Prefixes Are Toll-Free? 

In the UK, there is only one type of toll-free number prefix available for large-scale business operations: 0800. 

Ever since it was introduced in the 1980s, this freephone number prefix has seen ever-increasing use among businesses. Most notably, the commercial sector saw a massive surge in popularity for 0800 numbers in the early 00s, owed in part to their decreasing cost of entry and widening availability from suppliers. 

As accessibility went up, businesses were keen to offer this freephone prefix. The result of the 0800 popularity boom was that it killed off competitor prefixes, such as 0500 numbers.


Are Toll-Free Numbers Actually Free? 

In the UK, there used to be a lack of clarity around how freephone numbers worked. 

Freephone 0800 numbers were designed to be exactly that, free-of-charge at the point of use. Premium rate lines, however, such as 0844 numbers, would cost callers to use. 

This seemed to be clear cut in terms of fees, but it wasn’t. Up until 2015, a premium charge was often applied to 0800 calls from mobile devices. It was only when Ofcom moved to simplify British telecommunications that the numbers became universally free.

Why did this happen? Because 0800 prefix numbers were originally only freephone for landline calls when established decades ago — before mobiles were so commonplace — provider policy initially failed to catch up with changing consumer demand. The result was people didn’t understand if 0800 were actually freephone or not.

This is no longer the case. If you obtain an 0800 number for your business, you ensure that all customer calls to your company will be free of charge. 


How to Buy a Toll-Free Number

CityNumbers provides innovative solutions that support your business needs. All you have to do is go to our 0800 numbers page and select your package. Follow the simple setup, complete your number registration and that’s it, you’ve acquired a freephone number for your business.

At CityNumbers, we’re experts in providing businesses with phone number solutions. We make sure setup is easy, effective and, most importantly, reliable. When you buy a toll-free number from us, you’ll experience no downtime in communication. We’ll also provide call forwarding solutions and number porting. Your business will remain easy to contact and new number changes won’t result in any confusion or an inability for customers to access your call services through your old number. 


How Much Does a Toll-Free Number Cost to Operate?

Businesses, not customers, will instead pay for the fees incurred by a freephone number. 

The costs involved in providing such a service are negligible, especially when you opt for the right service provider and bespoke solution.Toll-free numbers are now very much affordable, even for the smallest of UK companies. 

CityNumbers offers packages for 0800 numbers starting at only £5 per month, with customer calls charged at as little as 3p per minute from a landline. For small companies, this can be enough to provide the service with minimal expense. 

If, however, you operate a larger company and need more call time, cost-effective solutions that scale to your needs can also be acquired. For example, the Enterprise package offered by CityNumbers costs £39 per month, complete with 2,100 free minutes and a lower rate of 2.5p per minute once the initial free minutes’ coverage has been reached. 


What Are The Benefits of Toll-Free Numbers?

The average call duration for a sales call in the UK is roughly six minutes. The result is that your business can receive 350 calls a month without incurring any extra cost when opting for the £39 package. 

That’s just 10p per sales call. 

The question you now have to pose is: Is a toll-free number worth the cost? 


  • Remain Competitive and Meet Customer Expectations: Most major UK businesses operate toll-free numbers, leading to expectations from customers that their phone calls to your company will be free of charge. This is an element of business strategy many of your competitors will have become aware of as well. If you aren’t providing free phone calls, you may find you fail to meet consumer demands, which can lead to lost business opportunities. 
  • Encourage Calls and Provide Excellent Customer Service: On the subject of lost opportunities, a freephone number has the potential to support better sales and a rise in direct communication from customers. Your consumers are more likely to pick up the phone and call you if they know it will come at no cost to them. Conversely, if they have to pay to call, they may opt to email or just not contact your company instead. Phone calls remain an important tool for increasing business profitability through sales and consumer retention. The more people you can get on the phone, the higher your chance of increasing revenue. 
  • Become a More Trusted and Professional Brand: 0800 toll-free numbers are associated with large-scale and professional businesses. For small businesses, in particular, this can be a great way of building a trustworthy and authoritative perception among customers. The use of private landlines or mobile numbers for contact does not inspire the same level of experience as a professional standard business prefix, such as 0800. This is a simple and low-cost way to boost your brand’s clout. 
  • Reach National Customers: Even national businesses have a regional headquarters. This means you’ll have a local landline. But by having a local number, you can limit your national appeal. An 08000 number removes all perceptions of locality from your company. It enables you to easily offer your nationwide services without ever being identified as a regional business. 

When you consider the value a freephone number can provide your business, it’s not hard to see why spending 10p per call is definitely worth the investment.  

Go toll-free and access a new range of profit-boosting potential today. Transform your business presence when you buy a phone number from CityNumbers.

About audreyoh

She currently drives web CRO for j2 Global's Cloud Connect services, focusing on eCommerce, SaaS, and developing UX optimized content for both B2B and B2C users on all channels. She is a published freelance writer, independent filmmaker, and artist.
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