Information guide for 0207 Number, 0844, 0845, 0800, 0871 & Call Handling

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Inbound 0207, 0870, 0845, 0871, 0800/0808 call handling



  1. Introduction
  2. Frequently asked questions
  3. Advanced Network Based Services


  1. Handling Your Calls
  2. Buyers Guide
  3. Summary

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This guide was last updated on November 2009(update still in progress)to include 0207 Numbers / 0330/0300 Numbers / UK Local Numbers and will be updated on a regular basis. The information contained herein is used at the readers own discretion and New Prospect Business Solutions cannot be held liable for any decisions based on it.



What do you want to do next?


1. Introduction


Research has shown the type of business number you have and the way you handle incoming calls directly impacts your business so it's important to be both professional and efficient.


This guide will help you understand 0207 & 08XX numbers in a little more detail and explain why large and small companies alike use them. We unravel some common terms such as "Non Geographic" and give some insight into how the numbers work. By reading through this guide you'll see that any 01/02 dialling code can now be obtained as a "Virtual Number" - we explain how virtual numbers work too.


We also give you unbiased tips on what to look out for when choosing a solution or service in our buyers guide. Services may look similar at the outset but be very different in terms of use, flexibility and support.


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2. Frequently asked questions

This section relays fundamental information on non geographic numbers

what are 0207 & non geographic or virtual numbers?


0844, 0845, 0871, 0800, 0808 & 07XX numbers are termed "Non Geographic" because they are not fixed to one particular location and their dialling prefixes do not represent a particular geographical area.


However, nowdays it is possible to rent a number with any 01/02 UK prefix - such as 0207, 01628, 0118, etc. A number with any of these dialling codes can be setup to route to any other land line or mobile phone in the world. Many companies still prefer an 08XX number as they they don't offer any hint of geographical location.


Many different 0XXX number ranges exist including 0870, 0871, 0845, 0808, 0800, 0802, 0844 (non exhaustive). The most common used for general business purposes and marketing campaigns are 0870, 0500, 0845 and 0800/0808.


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How do 0870 and other non geographic numbers work?


When non geographic numbers are dialled they are intercepted and redirected to a land line number of your choice. This means that when business locations change, the non geographic numbers remain the same.


As we initially intercept the calls we can offer advanced features such as hunt group routing, virtual call centres, voicemail to email and time of day based routing.



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Who uses non geographic numbers and why?


Corporate, large, small and medium sized business all use non geographic numbers for their many benefits explained through out this guide and here.


They are particularly useful for attracting certain types of leads, managing marketing campaigns and promotions. See our 0870, 0845, 0800 & 0871 benefits. page for more details.


Premium rate numbers are used to collect payment for high value services such as information or help lines.


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Who owns 0870 & other non geographic numbers?


These numbers are hosted by a telecommunications operator in a similar way that normal home and business numbers are owned.


When you agree to use an 0870 or 08XX number you need to observe the terms and conditions from your provider.


As the telecommunications industry is well regulated, you are allowed to port numbers to a different provider.



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What is the difference between 0870, 0845, 0871, 09XX, 0800, 0808 & 07XX numbers?


The main difference is the way in which calls to the numbers are charged. Industry Regulations set price bands chargeable by callers for each number range.


Please note Ofcom (industry regulator) are currently reviewing charges for 0870 numbers due to public concern. It is our belief these concerns have been triggered in part by long waiting times when dialling corporate 0870 numbers which result in high call costs.


The table below shows maximum charges for each prefix.



Number prefix

Upper charging bands in pence per minute (excl vat)



up to 6.73

national rate


up to 8.51



up to 3.57

local rate

0800 / 0808

* free phone



up to 504

premium rate


up to 42.55

personal numbers


    * party hosting number pays for incoming calls.


Other differences include:-


  • different regulations on usage such as maximum call times on premium rate numbers
  • 09XX, 0845, 0871 and some 0870 numbers cannot be dialled from abroad
  • see Ofcom for more details.
  • charging for incoming calls on 0845 numbers. Initially most providers charged a fee and some still do. Nowadays many providers only charge a set up and/or rental fee and some don't charge at all.


It is also possible purchase 0207 numbers which give a London appearance while being located elsewhere.



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  Who pays call charges to 0870 & other non geographic numbers?


Generally the caller pays for calls to 0870/0845/0871/070X/09XX numbers. However, calls to free phone numbers such as 0800 and 0808 are charged to the recipient of the calls.


Some suppliers charge the recipient for calls to 0845 numbers and this is becoming more common.


Recipient is also likely to be charged for diverted calls to mobiles, other non geographic numbers and premium rate services.




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  What are non geographic 0207 numbers?


It is possible to utilise 0207 number codes in exactly the same way  as 0870/0845/0871/070X/09XX numbers. However, they are less common among providers as commission payments are not automatic when these numbers are called - providers have to charge for incoming calls.


Non geographic 0207 numbers can be routed to any location as with 08XX and other non geographic numbers. Charges are almost certainly to apply for such call diversions.


You may have to hunt around for providers - include us in your search.



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3. Advanced Network Based Services


As calls to 0870 & NGN's are intercepted at the network level operators can add additional services when forwarding the call to a land line number. Such services are typically available on PBX's or high end business offerings.


0870/08XX numbers can be used in conjunction with PBX or key system services.


We briefly describe some of the common services below.

Hunt group routing


Enables automatic call routing to pre selected fixed line or mobile numbers. For example :-

  1. caller dials 0870 number which rings main office for 4 rings
  2. if call isn't answered, call is presented to home office for 4 rings
  3. if call isn't answered call is presented to mobile
  4. finally if call still isn't answered call is either routed to mobile voice mail or network voicemail


This feature:-

  • helps ensure your customers are connected at all times
  • enables staff to maximise productivity by working at flexible locations
  • spreads load equally across several receptionists



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International call routing


Enables staff to receive calls to 0870/08XX numbers abroad. Depending on the country and the 08XX prefix, some operators offer free forwarding. For example:-

  1. you go abroad
  2. caller dials 0870 number
  3. call is forwarded to your mobile or your phone location abroad



  • ensures you are connected to clients at all times
  • minimises call costs when forwarding to fixed locations abroad
  • clients don't have to redial mobile numbers or leave a message



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Auto attendant and interactive voice response systems


Enables an interactive system to built with customised company greetings. Also enables caller to select required department. For example:-

  1. caller dials 0870 number and hears company greeting followed by 3 options
  2. Keypad option 1 is for sales, 2. for support and 3 for general enquires
  3. caller selects 1. and is connected straight to the sales team



  • helps eliminate customer annoyance by waiting or being needlessly passed around departments.
  • presents a professional image to callers
  • helps set the priority and expectation of staff answering calls
  • eliminates the need for several business numbers by unifying under one number.



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Call queuing


Enables calls to be queued rather than being sent to voice mail or hearing busy tone. For example:-

  1. several callers dials 0870 number during busy period
  2. first caller speaks to staff member and subsequent callers are queued
  3. callers in queue move a step closer to available staff as previous caller ends conversation

Queues can be set to specified lengths within limits.



  • prevents callers from going elsewhere
  • manage high traffic volumes and busy periods in profession manner



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Time of day routing


Enables automatic call routing to different fixed or mobile numbers based on the time of day. For example:-

  1. caller dials 0870 number before 12 noon and call is routed to phone A
  2. caller dials after 12 noon and call is routed to phone B
  3. caller dials 0870 number after 6pm or at weekends and call routes straight to voice mail rather than allowing caller to suffer time out.



  • helps part time share workload and be available as required
  • presents a professional image to callers outside office hours



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4. Handling your calls

Often clients first impression of your business is gained by what happens when they call your business line. It is therefore imperative that they receive a professional response and experience.


0870 and other non geographic numbers help achieve this and provide a professional front to your business.


Some key points to remember are:-


  • customers generally don't like:-
    • being forwarded to several voice mails
    • long ringing periods without calls being answered
    • never getting through to you! - low availability
    • forever selecting keypad options on a voice response system
    • hearing a fax tone when dialling your main number
    • have several numbers to reach you on.
  • Customer do like:-
    • the sound of a human voice
    • prompt responses and replies to voice mail messages
    • to select which department they want and then speak to someone
    • one number to call your business on.
    • a good experience!



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5. Buyers Guide

Although 0870/08XX and other non geographic numbers work in a similar fashion there are many minefields to be avoided. A wide variation of capability and flexibility exists in the market not to mention terms and conditions you would rather not sign.


The table below gives some pointers on what to look out for.


Checkpoints Top tips

Your needs

Do you need straight forward number redirection or will additional features enhance your image, raise client satisfaction and save you money? Careful consideration ensures you don't over or under do it on features.

Make sure you consider future needs as well as it can be very disruptive and/or costly to change later on. For example, you may only need straight forward number redirect initially but require advanced routing options later.

Supplier: dealer or knowledgeable professional?

Many dealers don't really understand the how 0870 / 087XX numbers work or how they can best benefit your business. Not an issue if you know what you require but make sure you have spoken to someone knowledgeable before you buy

Traffic and campaign management?

Can your supplier manage traffic generated by your number? Is this a requirement for you now or in the future?

Minimum call spend?

Are you charged a monthly fee unless your number generates a certain amount of traffic. Such detail be in the small print - always ask.

Packaged value add features?

Some suppliers offer value added features beyond straight forward number redirection. Common additions are voicemail to email. Some also bundle an email to fax number.

Setup fee / monthly charge / free?

Free numbers normally come without advice or any additional capability. Setup fees and monthly subscriptions are common - usually numbers with other services. Middle road is a setup fee without ongoing monthly charges.

Some suppliers will offer free numbers for high traffic volumes. Make sure you compare apples with apples and not oranges! Be careful of choosing free numbers if you require more advanced functionality in the future. It would likely be very disruptive and costly to switch later on.

Finally, read the terms and conditions! Many free numbers don't offer a contract or force buyers to abide by terms not suitable for business.

Number choices & Bronze, Silver and Gold numbers

Do you have any say in the number you get? Some charge for differently depending on the popularity of the numbers. Easy to remember numbers such as quadruple last four digits carry a premium price.

Many grade numbers bronze (no choice) through to silver and gold. Other go further with more categories. More memorable numbers can positively impact your business.

Call statistics

Itemised call statistics are available from some suppliers. They can be particularly useful when used in marketing campaigns. Many free numbers don't offer this functionality. Always ask if you require statistics.

Can you redirect your number to a different fixed line?

Generally you will not need to do this and you probably don't have the right solution if you have to do it often. However, if moving premises or in the case of disaster redirecting to another fixed line is essential.

Some suppliers offer a web interface, others have a standard price list charging more for quicker turnarounds while others don't offer this capability at all - AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Do you get a rebate on 0870 or 0871 numbers?

Many offer this as a gimmick to attract custom. You will only earn a few pounds for low traffic volumes at around 3p per minute. For this reason many suppliers only offer rebates above certain traffic volumes.

Contract period

Avoid long contract tie in periods with penalty clauses. One to three months notice is short with twelve months being standard.

Also make sure you check the terms and conditions for free numbers. Many don't offer a contract and so are not suitable for business use. The contract protects your business continuity.

Mobile routing costs

Calls forwarded to another UK land line are normally free but always chargeable to mobiles and premium rate numbers. Some suppliers also offer free routing to mainland European countries and other international locations.

Check call forwarding costs to mobiles as this can be expensive if used often. Some operators offer call forwarding on a pre paid basis and alert you when your account is low.

More common is the traditional post paid direct debit.

Total cost check

Think about total cost now and in the future. Summarising points above:-

  • setup fee vs functionality vs business value vs free
  • cost of switching numbers for increased functionality in the future
  • can features with the number eliminate need for PBX / key systems?
  • bronze, silver, gold numbers vs business value
  • cost of routing to mobiles and abroad
  • BT are expensive and can normally be beaten on price and often service too.



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6. Summary

0870/08XX and other non geographic numbers present compelling solutions for maximising your revenue and helping you stay in contact. Their use is accelerating and becoming the normal face of professional businesses, charities and organisations.


This guide has described some of the simple and advanced ways in which 0870/08XX can help your business handle calls more effectively.


We hope this guide has been of use. Please contact us if you have any feedback or if we can advise you further.



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