Later this year, London will gain 10 million more landline phone numbers, as Ofcom introduces a new ‘(020) 4’ range to keep the capital connected.
The capital, which has the 020 dialling code, currently has 30 million phone numbers allocated across the existing (020) 3, 7 and 8 ranges. Due to the increase in new homes and offices in London, there is a growing demand for new phone numbers.
Ofcom allocates numbers for phone companies to provide services to their customers, distributing 30,000 London numbers each week.
People in the UK still spend 44 billion minutes making landline calls every year. And while usage is declining, most home broadband connections rely on a landline which needs a number. So, Ofcom is introducing a new number range for London to meet demand.
New London numbers
The rollout will begin with blocks of ‘(020) 4’ numbers to telecoms providers. They will then be able to start issuing these to customers by the end of the year.
London’s area code has changed several times over the years.
In 1958 the city was allocated the single code 01, which remained until 1990 when it was replaced by two codes – 071 for inner London numbers, and 081 for outer London. Five years later, all UK area codes gained a ‘1’ after the ‘0’ to make it clear it was a landline number, and the capital’s codes changed to 0171 and 0181.
In 2000, the UK’s phone numbers were reorganised through the ‘Big Number Change’. London was given a single area code once again – 020 – and the inner and outer London divider was removed.
Five years later, Ofcom research uncovered a widespread misconception among Londoners that the city still had two area codes – 0207 and 0208. Only 13% of people, without prompting, correctly identified 020 as being London’s single area code.
“We’re seeing a growing need for 020 numbers, as London expands and new homes and offices are built. These 10 million new numbers will allow us to meet demand and help keep the capital connected,” Liz Greenberg, Head of Numbering at Ofcom.
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