Oftel Rings the Changes - Again! BACK

It was just 1995 when the telephone codes last changed across the board. But despite these changes the demand for telecommunications has increased so rapidly that availability of numbers is simply running out. Prompted by this need, Oftel have devised changes that will provide an extra nine billion numbers and also make the first two digits of numbers indicative of the type of call you are making.

The full changeover is set for 22nd April 2000 but a parallel service is already up and running for national calls. Companies should be aware of the consequences the new numbers will have on their organisation and take the appropriate steps in good time for the full changeover.

What's Happening

A re-organisation of the UK's telephone numbering system. The first two digits of the new numbering system will be indicative of the type of call being made. The changes will also create hundreds nine billion new numbers for future use.

The new prefixes will be:

00 International codes
01 Existing Area codes
02 New Area codes
03 Reserved for future area codes
04 Reserved for future use
05 Reserved for future use
06 Reserved for future use
07 Mobile, pagers and personal
08 Freephone and special rate services
09 Premium rate services

Who is Affected ?

If you are in one of the six geographical areas, have a mobile or pager you will be affected by these changes. And naturally you will also be affected if you are dialling into one of the changed numbers.

  1. Geographical Changes
    Six geographical areas of the UK are to get new 02 codes and numbers. All six areas will have a three digit code followed by an eight digit number. The areas are and how the numbers will change are:


Existing Number

New Number


(0171) XXX XXXX

(020) 7XXX XXXX

(0181) XXX XXXX

(020) 8XXX XXXX


(01705) XXX XXX

(023) 92XX XXXX


(01703) XXX XXX

(023) 80XX XXXX


(01203) XXX XXX

(024) 76XX XXXX


(01222) XXX XXX

(029) 20XX XXXX

Northern Ireland

(01232) XXX XXX

(028) 90XX XXXX

2.       When will this Happen ?

A parallel system is already in place but this is only effective if you are making a national not local call. At present local calls using the new numbers will result in a misdirected call. The dates below indicate the key dates for the changes.


Local Numbers

National Numbers

1st June 1999

Existing Numbers Only

Existing & New Numbers in Parallel

21st June 2000

Existing Numbers Only

Existing & New Numbers in Parallel

22nd April 2000

New Numbers Only

Existing & New Numbers in Parallel

Autumn 2000*

New Numbers Only

New Numbers Only

*The actual change over dates for National numbers are staggered between 5th August 2000 and 14th October 2000, dependent on the region.

  • Mobiles, Pagers and Personal
    The change in the first two digits of the new numbering system will also affect mobile phone, pagers and 'follow-me' numbers. All existing numbers and newly issued will be allocated four-digit codes beginning 07. The chart below outlines several examples:

Existing Prefix

New Prefix


077 70


077 02


078 85


078 02



079 73


3.       When will this Happen ?

The new system will begin on 30th September 1999. However, existing numbers will still be accessible up to April 2001.

4.   Further information regarding these and other changes is available from BT either on their web site, www.numberchange.bt.com or by contacting the BT Helpdesk on 0800 731 0202.