In the UK, telephone numbers beginning 08 are known as non-geographic or special services numbers. The ‘non-geographic’ part refers to them being available for use anywhere in the UK and not restricted by area code. The phone numbers for ‘special services’ usually have a set price to be charged to the caller.
If a phone number begins with 080 then it is commonly referred to as a Freephone number. This means that it can be rung with no charge whatsoever to the caller; the owner of the number will either pay per call or a monthly fee. The Freephone numbers include 0800 and 0808 numbers regardless of the remaining digits, although the more common ones begin 0800 and 0808.
Please be aware that this means that not all numbers beginning 08xx xxx xxxx are free, and some of them could be premium rate. Make sure the number you require begins 080x xxx xxxx if you do not wish your customers to be charged.
Calling 0808 – is it an area code?
An 0808 number will usually have 7 digits after the initial code, 0808 xxx xxxx, although this can vary in special circumstances.
0808 numbers are not regarded as area codes. This is due to the fact they are non-geographic numbers. this means that they are not linked to any one area or location. This makes them especially popular with SME business in the UK, who purchase 0808 numbers for a range of different reasons. There are some specific ranges after the 0808 that are allocated to certain types of businesses. For example, those in the range 0808 9xx xxxx are in use by freephone internet services.
Before recent regulation certain charities were always free to call, but they didn’t have a dedicated number or prefix that would make that obvious. Now, all charities and not-for-profit helplines are allowed to use the 0808 80x xxxx prefix to enable greater clarity. This also helps to make it more obvious to users which the free ones are. All of these 0808 80x xxxx numbers are overseen by the Helplines Partnership, the membership body for such services.