Where Have All The Numbers Gone?

Some things, you just don’t see that often these days. Mullets, working phone boxes, an English Cricket team with a spine, babies called Gary (I’m not even making that up)…all endangered species, going the way of the dinosaurs.

But there’s something else you probably hadn’t even thought of that’s becoming rarer and rarer, and that’s a readily available supply of 0207 and 0208 numbers for the London area. Because they’ve nearly run out. Why is this happening? Shear weight of numbers; the population of Greater London will reach an all-time high this year, exceeding the pre-Second World War peak of just over 8.615m.

Ofcom began introducing 0203 numbers to meet demand in June 2005, but since then, 0207 and 0208 numbers have remained firm favourites, particularly among businesses who recognise that these are readily associated with the Greater London area; more so than they might all numbers beginning with 020. This is a bit odd, because there’s actually just one dialling code for Greater London, and that’s 020.

It is technically incorrect to place the pause after the seven or eight, because if a London number is dialled on a landline from within London, it will not be connected because it is missing the first digit (of eight digits).

Now it’s been a while since 020 numbers replaced 0171 and 0181 numbers – 22nd April 2000 – so it’s fair to say that most have gotten the hang of this by now. But to avoid any confusion, always remember to write your London number – for example – 020 7760 7600, rather than 0207 760 7600 on all your marketing collateral, email signatures etc.


Inevitably, when 0207 and 0208 numbers have completely run dry and people are forced to take up 0203 numbers, OFCOM will probably release new 020 number ranges, and 0203 numbers will become more desirable. But for now, because of the ingrained association 0207 and 0208 numbers have in our minds that these are the only numbers worth having if you are a London business (or want it to look like you are a London business), you will need to move quickly.

The good news is, we’ve got some. Not a lot, but there aren’t many places still stocking them so you’ll want to get in quick as once they’re gone, they’re gone.

So to get your virtual London number sorted, head over to the 0207 and 0208 numbers respectively pages on our website, where we can get you set up in a jiffy.

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