'09' Premium rate service numbers

What are '09' numbers?

UK telephone numbers that start with '09' are premium rate service numbers. These phone numbers are charged at a considerably higher rate than normal numbers, with much of the call cost used to pay for the service being provided. Common uses for '09' premium rate service numbers include:

  • competitions and prize draws;
  • voting lines for TV and radio shows;
  • horoscopes, tarot and fortune-telling;
  • chargeable information and support lines;
  • telephone dating and chat lines; and
  • adult entertainment.

'09' number call costs

The cost of calling an '09' number includes a service charge, which can be up to £3.60 per minute and/or £6.00 per call which is used to fund the service provided, and a standard access charge made by the caller's phone company. A wide range of charges is in operation and many numbers operate much lower charges than the maximums quoted above. By law, whenever an '09' premium rate service number is advertised, the service charge that applies must be clearly shown.

'09' number ranges

'09' numbers are split into ranges for usage providing regular premium rate service or services with adult/sexual content. Currently, the current ranges are in use:

  • Regular premium rate services - '0900', '0901', '0902', '0903', '0904', '0905', '0906', '0907', '0911', '0912', '0913'.
  • Services with adult/sexual content - '0908', '0909', '0982', '0983', '0984', '0989'.

Adult content numbers in the ranges '0908' and '0909' are no longer being issued, but existing services can retain them.

History of '09' numbers

Premium rate numbers beginning with '09' were introduced in 1998 and eventually replaced a variety of older premium rate prefixes such as '0331', '0660', '0891', '0898' and '0991'. The first prefixes issued in 1998 were '0900', '0901', '0906', '0907' and '0909'. Adult services with sexual content were originally confined to the '0909' prefix and later expanded into '0908'. However, since 2005, all new services of this type use numbers beginning with '098', to aid recognition.

Regulation and advice

The Phone-paid Services Authority regulates '09' numbers that have a service charge of more than 7p per minute or 7p per call, as well as all '09' numbers used for chatlines, adult services and internet diallers. Their website can identify premium rate numbers and advise further on costs.