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United Kingdom (UK) - Telephone

The United Kingdom uses the National Telephone Numbering Plan to determine area codes and telephone numbers for UK residents. The system works throughout the entire UK and its crown dependencies. The system currently in place was implemented in 2001 to ensure that all geographic and most non-geographic numbers would be 11 digits long.

The trunk code is a prefix to dial before a telephone call can be initiated. For example, a caller in the United Kingdom would dial 0061 if they are trying to dial someone in Australia. The 00 and 61 are needed before the telephone number can be used. To dial another UK number from within the country, a 0 is dialed at the beginning of the call.

To make this clearer there are nine prefixes assigned to the UK, from 01 through to 09. 01 and 02 are geographic area codes, with 03 as a non-geographic area code. 04 is reserved and 05 is for VoIP and commercial services. Personal numbering systems use 06. Mobile telephone numbers begin with 07. Freephone or toll free numbers are on 08. 09 are the premium rate services.

Some common prefixes include:

London - 020

Cardiff - 029

Leeds - 0113

Leicester - 0116

Edinburgh - 0131

Liverpool - 0151

Bolton - 01204

Plymouth - 01752

In the first two cases, the prefix is followed by two sets of four numbers, whereas in Leeds-Liverpool the numbers are a set of three and then a set of four after the prefix. Bolton and Plymouth, as these are longer initial prefixes, have a set of six numbers after them.

The country code for the United Kingdom is +44.

There are several telephone services in the United Kingdom, many of which also offer package deals for phone, TV, and Internet. To arrange for a service you simply have to determine which providers are in your area and the package you would like, then set up the plan by contacting the company by phone, online, or in store.

The company will send out a technician if necessary to set up a phone service. Depending on whether your home has had service before, it may be as simple as activating the phone line for use on the provider’s end.

Direct debit, bank transfers, online payments, phone payments and in-person payments are allowed by most major service providers. Some companies will also allow for payment by text or mail. This is something you will need to check with your telephone service provider.

Mobile Phone Services

For those who wish to switch their mobile phone to a local provider, there are a number of options available. Mobile telephone companies are currently working on upgrading the entire United Kingdom to the 4G network. The work has been slower than the US in terms of rolling out 4G coverage. Greater UK, especially Scotland and Northern Ireland, tend to have fewer options available in terms of 4G coverage.

As of 12th November 2012, Ofcom held a 4G auction to allow mobile phone providers to work on upgrading to 4G. By January 2014, Greater London was supposed to see a full rollout of 4G, with the entire United Kingdom gaining 4G even in rural areas by 2015. Although this has not yet been attained, in London there is definitely wider coverage than in the previous two years.

For those without mobile phones there are payphones available, such as BT kiosks which accept coins, credit/debit cards, calling cards, and other phone cards.

Major Service Providers for Home and Mobile Phones


+44(0) 800 036 0170


Post Office

DirectSave Telecom

+44(0) 845 272 0072


+44(0) 345 304 0030

Talk Talk

+44(0) 800 049 7834


+44(0) 808 168 9140


+44(0) 808 168 7119


+44(0) 877 678 8383


+44(0) 800 956 6000




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