Telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced the introduction of 10 million new 0204 landline numbers for London in a move to keep up with a growing demand fuelled by Broadband connections.
There are only 500,000 of the 30 million (020)3, (020)7 and (020)8 numbers left to be handed out and Ofcom says that these remaining numbers are being allocated at a rate of 30,000 each week!
In addition to the fact that numbers from the existing groups will be used up within the year, the new numbers have been created to help feed demand for fixed-line broadband.
For example, an ISPreview survey from last year showed that only 14.5% of respondents still used a landline phone service for making most of their calls and 67.2% said they’d get rid of it if the service if it wasn’t still needed by ISPs for home broadband.
It is still very difficult in the UK to avoid paying for line rental as part of a broadband service. This is because most broadband connections are ADSL which requires the use of Openreach phone lines to transmit data.
Full fibre broadband, however, does not require a phone line but it is not widely available, and some providers will still ask you to take a landline as part of the package.
Landlines have been used more in recent times for data. For example, Ofcom figures show that in 2018, the average household used 240GB of data through fixed broadband, compared to 23GB in 2012.
Landline Calls In Decline
Even though landline calls are in decline, Ofcom says that UK customers still spend 44 billion minutes making landline calls every year.
Allocating new numbers for London is not new. For example, the 01 code for London, which lasted from 1958 to 1990 was replaced by 071 (inner London) and 081 (outer), which then became 0171 and 0181 five years later. In 2000 the inner and outer codes for London were replaced by the number 020 for both.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
London is the commercial centre, as well as the capital of the UK and its continuous growth coupled with the advance of communications technology, has necessitated the addition of several different codes over the years. With the current speed of allocation of the existing number business and households need news codes soon, and the first blocks of ‘(020) 4’ numbers will be allocated to telecoms providers in the autumn, after which the new numbers will be issued to other customers by the end of next year.