London to get 10 million new phone numbers

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London is to get 10 million more landline phone numbers this year to meet rising demand fuelled by new homes and offices.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has recently announced the introduction of a new (020)4 number range for the capital.

The current dialling code is 020, presently has 30 million phone numbers allocated across the existing (020)3, 7 and 8 ranges.

However new homes and offices constructed across London are generating demand for landline phone numbers, with fewer than a million within the old ranges left to be distributed to phone companies, it added.

The regulator said these would be used up within a year as it distributes 30,000 London numbers each week.

It will start accepting applications for (020)4 numbers from telecoms companies from October and expects the new numbers to commence allocation to customers from December.

Ofcom also revealed that UK customers still spend 44 billion minutes making landline calls every year.

Although usage is declining, most home broadband connections rely on a landline, which requires a number.

According to Ofcom’s timeline, in 1958, London was allocated the code 01, which remained until 1990, when it was replaced by two codes – 071 for inner London numbers, and 081 for outer London,

Five years later, all UK area codes gained a “1” after the “0” to make it clear it was a landline number, and the capital’s codes changed to 0171 and 0181, it added.

In 2000, the UK’s phone numbers were reorganised through the “Big Number Change” when London was given a single area code of 020 and the inner and outer London divide was removed.

Liz Greenberg, head of numbering at Ofcom, said: “These 10 million new numbers will allow us to meet demand and help keep the capital connected.”

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