Number Change

- Number Change

UK - United Kingdom Telephones (+44)
United Kingdom - UK
U.K. Telephones codes and numbering plan index

Big Number Change

The Big Number Change was an update of telephone dialling codes in the UK in response to the rapid late-1990s growth of telecommunications and impending exhaustion of numbers. The change greatly expanded the pool of available numbers while helping to retain 'local dialling' (the ability to dial local numbers directly, without needing to dial an area code first). The change affected the dialling codes assigned to Cardiff, Coventry, London, Northern Ireland, Portsmouth and Southampton, culminating in a large switch on 22 April 2000. In addition to new area/city codes for many parts of the UK, the switch was also coupled with a move to eight-digit local numbers, the adjustment of all mobile phone numbers in the UK to the 07 prefix and the alteration of many non-geographic codes to the new 08 range.

Contents
1 Geographic number changes
1.1 Great Britain
1.2 Northern Ireland
1.3 National dialling only ranges
2 Non-geographic number changes
  • 2.1 Special services and premium rate
  • 2.2 Mobile numbers
  • 2.3 Pager numbers
  • 2.4 Numbers for drama
  • 3 Misunderstandings
    4 References
  • 5 See also
  • 6 External links
  • Geographic number changes

    Great Britain

    Area - Before BNC - After BNC
    Inner London - (0171) xxx xxxx - (020) 7xxx xxxx
    Outer London - (0181) xxx xxxx - (020) 8xxx xxxx
    Portsmouth - (01705) xxxxxx - (023) 92xx xxxx
    Southampton - (01703) xxxxxx - (023) 80xx xxxx
    Coventry - (01203) xxxxxx - (024) 76xx xxxx
    Cardiff - (01222) xxxxxx - (029) 20xx xxxx
    Note Under the change the two London areas were reunified under the single (020) code. New numbers beginning with 7, 8 or (later) 3 were allocated regardless of location.

    All of the above areas now have an eight-digit local number, in place of their previous six or seven-digit local number. For a short while you could use either number for local dialling, but local access to the old, shorter, numbers was switched off after a few months of parallel running.

    In London, new 70xx xxxx, 71xx xxxx, 80xx xxxx, and 81xx xxxx numbers became available for general use. These began to be allocated anywhere in London, with no regard for the 1990-2000 inner/outer London geographical split.

    In all of the other areas, new ff0x xxxx and ff1x xxxx numbers became available for general use at the same time (where ff is '76' in Coventry, '20' in Cardiff, etc).

    Northern Ireland

    Area - Before BNC - After BNC - Actual county (if different)

    County Antrim

    Ballycastle - (012657) xxxxx - (028) 207x xxxx
    Martinstown - (012667) xxxxx - (028) 217x xxxx
    Ballymena (5-digit) - (01266) xxxxx - (028) 256x xxxx
    Ballymena (6-digit) - (01266) xxxxxx - (028) 25xx xxxx
    Ballymoney - (012656) xxxxx - (028) 276x xxxx
    Larne - (01574) xxxxxx - (028) 28xx xxxx
    Kilrea - (012665) xxxxx - (028) 295x xxxx - Londonderry

    County Armagh

    Newry (5-digit) - (01693) xxxxx - (028) 302x xxxx - Down
    Newry (6-digit) - (01693) xxxxxx - (028) 30xx xxxx - Down
    Armagh - (01861) xxxxxx - (028) 37xx xxxx
    Portadown - (01762) xxxxxx - (028) 38xx xxxx - Partially in Down

    County Down

    Banbridge - (018206) xxxxx - (028) 406x xxxx
    Rostrevor - (016937) xxxxx - (028) 417x xxxx
    Kircubbin - (012477) xxxxx - (028) 427x xxxx
    Newcastle - (013967) xxxxx - (028) 437x xxxx
    Downpatrick - (01396) xxxxxx - (028) 44xx xxxx

    County Fermanagh

    Enniskillen - (01365) xxxxxx - (028) 66xx xxxx
    Lisnaskea - (013657) xxxxx - (028) 677x xxxx
    Kesh - (013656) xxxxx - (028) 686x xxxx

    County Londonderry

    Coleraine (6 digit) - (01265) xxxxxx - (028) 70xx xxxx
    Coleraine (5 digit) - (01265) xxxxx - (028) 703x xxxx
    Derry - (01504) xxxxxx - (028) 71xx xxxx
    Limavady - (015047) xxxxx - (028) 777x xxxx
    Magherafelt (6 digit) - (01648) xxxxxx - (028) 79xx xxxx
    Magherafelt (5 digit) - (01648) xxxxx - (028) 796x xxxx

    County Tyrone

    Carrickmore - (016627) xxxxx - (028) 807x xxxx
    Newtownstewart - (016626) xxxxx - (028) 816x xxxx
    Omagh - (01662) xxxxxx - (028) 82xx xxxx
    Ballygawley - (016625) xxxxx - (028) 855x xxxx
    Cookstown - (016487) xxxxx - (028) 867x xxxx
    Dungannon - (01868) xxxxxx - (028) 87xx xxxx
    Fivemiletown - (013655) xxxxx - (028) 895x xxxx

    Belfast area

    Belfast - (01232) xxxxxx - (028) 90xx xxxx - Antrim and Down
    Bangor - (01247) xxxxxx - (028) 91xx xxxx - Down
    Lisburn - (01846) xxxxxx - (028) 92xx xxxx - Antrim and Down
    Ballyclare - (01960) xxxxxx - (028) 93xx xxxx - Antrim
    Antrim - (01849) xxxxxx - (028) 94xx xxxx - Antrim
    Saintfield - (01238) xxxxxx - (028) 97xx xxxx - Down
    In Northern Ireland, the situation was more complicated. While the primary reason for the changes was the lack of numbering capacity in Belfast (01232), this was not the only reason. When STD codes were introduced in the 1960s, Northern Ireland was allocated only 14 area codes for 34 charging groups. Normal practice on Great Britain was to allocate one area code per charging group, but as calls to Northern Ireland were national rate from anywhere in GB, it was not seen to be necessary to differentiate between all of them. So, area codes covering multiple charge groups were created; in practice this meant that some areas had longer area codes. For example, while Enniskillen was allocated the area code 0365 (0EK5), Kesh was allocated 03656 and Lisnaskea 03657. As a result, numbers in Enniskillen could not begin with 6 or 7, as this would conflict with those of Kesh or Lisnaskea.

    All this meant that while Enniskillen's numbers could be six digits long, Kesh's and Lisnaskea's (and those of other dependent exchanges) could only be five digits, due to the limit of the length of a phone number. This severely restricted capacity in these areas. As a result, at the Big Number Change, all these dependent exchanges were migrated to different numbers than their parent exchanges; in this instance while Enniskillen's 01365 (the 1 coming from PhONEday) was migrated to 028 66, Kesh went from 013656 to 028 686 and Lisnaskea from 013657 to 028 677. This meant that Kesh could expand into the rest of the 028 68xx range.

    Note that the new numbering scheme groups numbers together such that the first digit identifies the county in alphabetical order. The exception is the Greater Belfast area where all numbers begin with 9, regardless of the county. The full list of changes for Northern Ireland[ 2 is as in the table above.

    National dialling only ranges

    In London, old National Dialling Only 0xx xxxx and 1xx xxxx numbers were migrated to new 0axx xxxx and 1axx xxxx numbers (where 'a' is mostly 0 or 1, so far).

    In all of the other areas, old National Dialling Only 0xxxxx and 1xxxxx numbers were migrated to new 0aax xxxx and 1aax xxxx numbers.

    These migration from old to new numbers was as follows:[ 2

    Area - Old Range[ 3 - New Range
    Coventry - 01203 0xxxxx - 024 100x xxxx
    01203 1xxxxx - 024 101x xxxx
    Cardiff - 01222 0xxxxx - 029 100x xxxx
    01222 1xxxxx - 029 101x xxxx
    Belfast - 01232 0xxxxx - 028 100x xxxx
    01232 1xxxxx - 028 101x xxxx
    Southampton - 01703 0xxxxx - 023 110x xxxx
    01703 1xxxxx - 023 111x xxxx
    Portsmouth - 01705 0xxxxx - 023 100x xxxx
    01705 1xxxxx - 023 101x xxxx
    London - 0171-0xx xxxx - 020 01xx xxxx
    0171-1xx xxxx - 020 11xx xxxx
    0181-0xx xxxx - 020 00xx xxxx
    0181-1xx xxxx - 020 10xx xxxx
    Non-geographic number changes

    Special services and premium rate

    The following changes were made to non-geographic numbering ranges to bring them in the 08xx special services and 09xx premium rate ranges.

    Code - Charging rate - Before BNC - After BNC
    0345 - Local rate - 0345 xxxxxx - 0845 7xx xxxx
    0645 - Local rate - 0645 xxxxxx - 0845 9xx xxxx
    03745 - National rate - 03745 xxxxxx - 0870 4xx xxxx
    0541 - National rate - 0541 xxxxxx - 0870 1xx xxxx
    0990 - National rate - 0990 xxxxxx - 0870 5xx xxxx
    0321 - Vodafone Freephone - 0321 xxxxxx - 0808 0xx xxxx
    0331 - VoData premium rate - 0331 - Unknown
    0336 - VoData premium rate - 0336 - Unknown
    0338 - Mercury premium rate - 0338 - Unknown
    0345 - BT Lo-Call - 0345 xxxxxx - 0845 7xx xxxx
    0374 5 - National rate - 03745 xxxxxx - 0870 4xx xxxx
    0541 - Mercury AreaCall - 0541 xxxxxx - 0870 1xx xxxx
    0632 - Premium rate - 0632 - 09xx
    0640 - Mercury premium rate - 0640 - 09xx
    0645 - Mercury LocalCall - 0645 xxxxxx - 0845 9xx xxxx
    0660 - Mercury premium rate - 0660 - 09xx
    0696 - Premium rate - 0696 - 09xx
    0696 - Premium rate - 0696 - 09xx
    0696 6 - Jersey Telecoms premium rate - 0696 6 - 09xx
    0696 8 - Manx Telecoms premium rate - 0696 8 - 09xx
    0696 9 - Guernsey Telecoms premium rate - 0696 9 - 09xx
    0839 - Mercury premium rate? - 0839 xxxxxx - Unknown
    0853 - Premium rate - 0853 - 09xx
    0881 - Mercury premium rate - 0881 - 09xx
    0890 - Premium rate - 0890 - 09xx
    0891 - BT ValueCall - 0891 xxxxxx - 0906 5xx xxxx
    0894 - BT premium rate - 0894 - 09xx
    0896 - Premium rate - 0896 - 09xx
    0897 - BT premium rate - 0897 - 09xx
    0898 - BT premium rate - 0898 - 09xx
    0930 - Premium rate - 0930 - 09xx
    0941 - Premium rate (Pagers?) - 0941 xxxxxx - 07641 xxxxxx
    09567 - FleXtel Personal Numbering - 0956 7xxxxx - 070 107x xxxx
    0990 - BT NationalCall - 0990 xxxxxx - 0870 5xx xxxx
    0991 - Mercury premium rate - 0991 - 09xx
    The 0500 (Mercury FreeCall) code has remained, but no new numbers have been allocated in it since 28 April 2001.

    Mobile numbers

    The following changes were made to mobile phone numbering ranges to bring them in the 07xxx mobile numbers range.

    Code - Operator - Before BNC - After BNC
    0370 - Vodafone - 0370 xxxxxx - 07770 xxxxxx
    0374 - Vodafone - 0374 xxxxxx - 07774 xxxxxx
    0378 - Vodafone - 0378 xxxxxx - 07778 xxxxxx
    0385 - Vodafone - 0385 xxxxxx - 07785 xxxxxx
    0390 - Orange - 0390 xxxxxx - 07790 xxxxxx
    0401 - BT Cellnet - 0401 xxxxxx - 07701 xxxxxx
    0402 - BT Cellnet - 0402 xxxxxx - 07702 xxxxxx
    0403 - BT Cellnet - 0403 xxxxxx - 07703 xxxxxx
    0410 - BT Cellnet - 0410 xxxxxx - 07710 xxxxxx
    0411 - BT Cellnet - 0411 xxxxxx - 07711 xxxxxx
    0421 - Vodafone - 0421 xxxxxx - 07721 xxxxxx
    0441 - Vodafone - 0441 xxxxxx - 07741 xxxxxx
    04481 - 04481 xxxxxx - 07781 xxxxxx
    0456 0 - Orange - 0456 0xxxxx - Unknown
    0456 1 - Orange - 0456 1xxxxx - Unknown
    04624 - 04624 xxxxxx - 07624 xxxxxx
    0467 - Vodafone - 0467 xxxxxx - 07767 xxxxxx
    0468 - Vodafone - 0468 xxxxxx - 07768 xxxxxx
    0498 - Vodafone - 0498 xxxxxx - 07798 xxxxxx
    0585 - BT Cellnet - 0585 xxxxxx - 07885 xxxxxx
    0589 - BT Cellnet
    Vodafone? - 0589 xxxxxx - 07889 xxxxxx
    0802 - BT Cellnet - 0802 xxxxxx - 07802 xxxxxx
    0831 - Vodafone - 0831 xxxxxx - 07831 xxxxxx
    0836 - Vodafone - 0836 xxxxxx - 07836 xxxxxx
    0839 - Vodafone - 0839 xxxxxx - 07839 xxxxxx
    0850 - BT Cellnet - 0850 xxxxxx - 07850 xxxxxx
    0860 - BT Cellnet - 0860 xxxxxx - 07860 xxxxxx
    09307 - One-to-One - 0930 7xxxxx - 07930 7xxxxx
    0956 - One-to-One - 0956 xxxxxx - 07956 xxxxxx
    0958 - One-to-One - 0958 xxxxxx - 07958 xxxxxx
    0961 - One-to-One - 0961 xxxxxx - 07961 xxxxxx
    0966 - Orange - 0966 xxxxxx - 07966 xxxxxx
    0973 - Orange - 0973 xxxxxx - 07973 xxxxxx
    0976 - Orange - 0976 xxxxxx - 07976 xxxxxx
    0979 7 - Jersey Telecom - 0979 7xxxxx - 07797 7xxxxx

    Pager numbers

    The following codes for pager numbers were also changed, so that all are in the 076xx range:

    Code - Operator - Before BNC - After BNC
    0399 →
    01399 - VodaPage - 0399 xxxxxx →
    01399 xxxxxx - 076 99xx xxxx
    0399 0 →
    01399 0 - VodaPage - 0399 0xxxxx →
    01399 0xxxxx - Discontinued
    by 2001-04-28
    0426 →
    01426 - BT Paging - 0426 xxxxxx →
    01426 xxxxxx - 076 26xx xxxx
    0459 →
    01459 - VodaPage/PageOne - 0459 xxxxxx →
    01459 xxxxxx - 076 59xx xxxx
    01523 - PageOne - 01523 xxxxxx - 076 23xx xxxx
    01893 - BT Paging - 01893 xxxxxx - 076 93xx xxxx
    0336 7 - Vodafone - 0336 7xxxxx - 076 637x xxxx
    0385 4 - Vodata? - 0385 4xxxxx - Unknown
    0385 6 - Vodata - 0385 6xxxxx - Unknown
    04325 - BT Paging - 04325 xxxxxx - 076 25xx xxxx
    04624 - Isle of Man? - 04624 xxxxxx - 076 24xx xxxx
    0660 - PageOne - 0660 xxxxxx - 076 61xx xxxx
    0839 - PageOne - 0839 xxxxxx - 076 61xx xxxx
    0881 - PageOne - 0881 xxxxxx - 076 81xx xxxx
    0941 - Orange (HPL) - 0941 xxxxxx - 076 41xx xxxx
    0941 1 - Orange (HPL) - 0941 1xxxxx - 076 411x xxxx
    Some of these codes, as indicated by the arrow "→", had already been changed during PhONEday to add a "1" after the initial zero, and now they have been changed again.

    Numbers for drama

    These fictional numbers are made available by Oftel for dramatic purposes, for example for quoting in TV, radio and film. Oftel explains: "Telephone Numbers recommended for drama purposes cannot be allocated to Communications Providers for their customers because of the potential influx of calls that customers may receive should their Telephone Numbers be shown in a drama."[ 4

    Number range type Code area - Before PhONEday - Before BNC - After BNC
    Code - Number range - Code - Number range - Code - Number range
    Geographic - Leeds - 0113 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0113 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Sheffield - 0114 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0114 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Nottingham - 0115 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0115 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Leicester - 0116 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0116 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Bristol - 0117 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0117 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Reading - 0118 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0118 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Birmingham - 021 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0121 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0121 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Edinburgh - 031 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0131 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0131 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Glasgow - 041 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0141 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0141 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Liverpool - 051 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0151 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0151 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Manchester - 061 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0161 - 496 0000 to 496 0009 - 0161 - 496 0000 to 496 0999
    Geographic - Tyneside/Durham/Wearside - 091 - 498 0000 to 498 0009 - 0191 - 498 0000 to 498 0009 - 0191 - 498 0000 to 498 0999
    Geographic - London - 01 - 946 0000 to 946 0009 - 0171 - 946 0000 to 946 0009 - 020 - 7946 0000 to 7946 0999
    Geographic - Northern Ireland - 028 - 9018 0000 to 9018 0999
    Geographic - Cardiff - 029 - 2018 0000 to 2018 0999
    Geographic - No area - 0632 - 960000 to 960009 - 01632 - 960000 to 960009 - 01632 - 960000 to 960999
    Mobile - n/a - 07700 - 900000 to 900009 - 07700 - 900000 to 900999
    UK-wide - n/a - 0306 - 999 0000 to 999 0999
    Freephone - n/a - 0808 - 157 0980 to 157 0989 - 0808 - 157 0000 to 157 0999
    Premium rate services - n/a - 0909 - 879 0980 to 879 0989 - 0909 - 879 0000 to 879 0999
    Although not directly connected with the official BigNumber changes, notice that these number allocations were updated with the new prefixes and with additional areas, as well as changing from 10 to 1000 numbers allocated per block, around the same time as the other BigNumber changes occurred.[ 4 [ 5
    Misunderstandings UK telephone code misconceptions

    Some widespread misunderstandings about area codes came about with the Big Number Change, most notably with London area codes. There is a widespread but erroneous assumption that London has two area codes 0207 and 0208, whereas in fact it has just one: 020. Similar misunderstandings came about with a few other area codes.

    References
  • Ofcom (2009-08-20). "Telephone numbers – the facts and figures : (Boxout) Is it (020) 7 or 0207?". Office of Communications . ofcom.org.uk/consumer/2009/08/phone-numbers/#video
  • ^ a b Ofcom (2001-03-20). "National Code & Number Change Framework Document" (DOC). Office of Communications . ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/ind_info/numbering/framewrk.doc
  • ^ a b Ofcom (2004-10-26). "Numbering Policy - Telephone Numbers for drama purposes (TV, Radio etc). ca. 2004". Office of Communications . ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/ioi/numbers/num_drama
  • Oftel/Ofcom (1999-06-01). "Oftel/Ofcom Numbering Bulletin 38 - including Numbers Used For Drama. ca. 1999". Office of Communications . ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/publications/1995_98/numbering/nb38.htm
  • Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom
    List of United Kingdom dialling codes
    List of Wales dialling codes
    UK telephone code misconceptions — includes the common "0207" and "0208" misconceptions
    External links
    ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/oftel/publications/1999/consumer/qanum999.htm
    telegraph.co.uk/technology/advice/3304080/Bootcamp-116-the-big-number.html
    area-codes.org.uk/bt_changes.pdf
    References from: Big_Number_Change from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
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