'0800' and '0808'
What are freephone numbers?
UK telephone numbers starting with 0800 or 0808 are freephone numbers, which are free to call from UK landlines and mobile phones. Freephone numbers allow callers to ring a business or organisation at no charge, with the cost of the call being paid for by the business/organisation receiving the call. Common uses for '0800' and '0808' freephone numbers include:
- Customer service helplines and order lines
- Numbers for charity and government helplines
- Access to prepaid calling cards
Are '0800' and '0808' numbers free from mobiles?
Since July 2015, '0800' and '0808' numbers have been free to call from all personal mobile phones and from landlines. Prior to July 2015, many mobile networks charged for calls to '0800' and '0808' freephone numbers.
Calling '0800' and '0808' freephone numbers from payphones
Not all '0800' and '0808' freephonefreephone numbers are accessible from BT payphones. Organisations have to pay significant additional per-minute fees when they accept incoming calls to their '0800' and '0808' freephone numbers from BT payphones. Therefore, some organisations choose to block such calls instead of paying these additional fees.
More information about '0800' and '0808' numbers
All numbers starting '080' are free to call and have the same technical features, regardless of how the number is displayed or what the following digits are.
Numbers starting '0808 80' are reserved exclusively for charity helplines and advice lines. These numbers are overseen by the Helplines Partnership.
Prior to the late 1980s, freephone calls were made by calling the operator and asking for a company by name. This changed when dedicated direct dial freephone prefixes came into use: '0800' was used by BT, while the prefixes '0500', '0321' and '0958' were amongst those used by other phone companies. All of the numbers starting other than '080' were withdrawn starting in April 2001 with the '0321' and '0958', with the more common '0500' numbers finally being withdrawn in June 2017.