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UK Phone Number Format: Get An In-Depth Explanation

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An Explanation of the UK Phone Number Format

The UK phone number format follows the E.164 standards set by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector. It includes essential information for routing calls to the correct country, area, and subscriber. A typical UK numbering plan consists of a country code (one to three digits), followed by the National Destination Code (NDC), and finally, the complete subscriber number. It’s important to note that a UK phone number cannot exceed 15 digits, and the NDC combined with the subscriber number forms the national (significant) number, representing a complete UK number.

The Dialling Codes Necessary for UK Phone Numbers

When writing a UK phone number format, it is customary to include a space between the area code and the subscriber number for clarity and readability. UK phone numbers can have area codes ranging from 3 to 5 digits.

You do not need to enter the country code when calling a UK phone number from within the country but from a different area. Add a zero before the area code, then dial the phone number. However, when calling a contact in the UK from a different country, you should enter the country code, followed by the dialing code (without the leading zero), and then dial the subscriber number.

Now, let’s explore the various dialing codes in the UK, including the 3-digit, 4-digit, 5-digit area codes, and international dialing codes.


1) Three-digit codes

In the UK, the 3-digit dialing code always begins with “02” and is followed by an 8-digit phone number. These 3-digit codes are commonly used in metropolitan areas. Here is a list of the current 3-digit UK dialing codes and the areas they correspond to:

  • London: 020
  • Southampton and Portsmouth: 023
  • Coventry: 024
  • Northern Ireland: 028
  • Cardiff: 029

When dialing a phone number within the UK with a 3-digit area code, the format would be like “(020) XXXX XXXX”. However, when calling from another country, the country code (+44 for the UK) is added before the 3-digit area code, and the preceding zero is dropped. The format becomes “+44 20 XXXX XXXX” when calling from abroad. Understanding these dialing conventions is crucial for making accurate and efficient international calls to UK numbers.

2) Four-digit codes

The four-digit dialing code for UK phone numbers always starts with “011x” or “01×1,” followed by a 7-digit local phone number. These four-digit area codes are commonly used in large cities and their surrounding areas.

Here is a list of 12 major 4-digit UK dialing codes along with their corresponding areas:

Areas Codes
Leeds 0113
Sheffield 0114
Nottingham 0115
Leicester 0116
Bristol 0117
Reading 0118
Birmingham 0121
Edinburgh 0131
Glasgow 0141
Liverpool 0151
Manchester 0161
Tyneside 0191

When dialling a UK number with a four-digit area code from within the country, the format is “01XX YYYY YYY.” However, when calling from outside the UK, the international dialling code for the UK (+44) is added before the four-digit area code, and the preceding zero is dropped. The format becomes “+44 1XX YYYY YYY” when making an international call. Understanding these dialing conventions is crucial for ensuring successful communication with UK phone numbers from different countries.

3) Five-digit codes for the UK

The 5-digit area codes for UK phone number format begin with “01XXX” and are followed by 5 to 6-digit phone numbers. Here are some examples of 5-digit area codes and the corresponding areas they represent:

  • Ashbourne: 01335
  • Belper: 01773
  • Burton upon Trent: 01283
  • Castleford: 01977
  • Chesterfield: 01246
  • Doncaster: 01302
  • Mansfield: 01623
  • Ripon: 01765
  • Rotherham: 01709
  • Wetherby: 01937

When dialing a UK phone number with a 5-digit area code from within the UK, the format is “01XXX YYY YYY”. However, when calling from outside the UK, the format is “+44 1XX YYY YYY”. It’s important to note that the leading zero in the area code should be dropped when calling from a foreign country.

4) International dialing code

If your customer base extends beyond the UK and you want to be accessible to them using your UK phone number, it’s important to display the number in the international format. The international dialing code for Europe and the UK is typically “00,” but please note that it may differ for other parts of the world.

To ensure recognition and reachability by your international customers, it is recommended to use the “+” symbol instead of the international dialing code. This makes it clear to customers that they need to enter their specific international dialing code.

When displaying a UK phone number, the country code “+44” is essential to reach a number in the UK. It’s worth noting that the US, Canada, and the Caribbean share the same country code. Remember that any leading zero-in area codes should be dropped when customers call from outside the UK.

Now, let’s discuss reaching out to other countries. The International Direct Dialing number “00” is typically used to make an international call from the UK. However, please keep in mind that this may vary depending on the country you are calling.

When dialing an international phone number, it’s important to include the relevant components. For example, to reach a contact in the US, the international format would look like this: 00-1-213-3456789.

How a Typical UK Phone Number Format Looks: An Example

Let’s explore the structure of a typical UK phone number. 

Telephone Number Formatting


Country Code Area Code Local Number
+44 20 71234567

A UK phone number consists of 3 parts. Its country code is +44, indicating an international call. The area code specifies the geographic region within the UK – in this case, London is 20. Lastly, the local number is the special identifier for a phone line.

For example, a UK number could be +44 20 71234567. Every component of this number is important for connecting calls within the UK.

UK mobile phone number

A UK mobile phone number consists of three components: the country code, national destination code, and the contact’s mobile phone number. Let’s take a look at an example: +44 7975 556677.

Calling a UK Phone Number

Calling a UK phone number may seem complex at first, but with a clear understanding of the process, it becomes much simpler. It is crucial to input the correct codes and contact number to ensure your call reaches the intended recipient. To provide clarity, we have outlined a step-by-step guide below, covering how to call both UK landline numbers and mobile phone numbers in various scenarios.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calling a UK Landline

To call a UK landline number from outside the UK, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the International Code: Begin by dialing the international access code of the country you’re calling from. This code is usually 00, 011, or a “+” sign (if calling from a mobile phone). The international access code notifies the carrier that you’re making an international call.
  2. Enter the Country Code: After entering the international access code, dial the country code for the UK, which is 44.
  3. Enter the Area Code: Once you’ve entered the international access code and the UK country code, make sure to include the specific area code for the location you’re calling. Remember to drop the leading zero from the area code when dialing from outside the UK.
  4. Enter the Landline Number: Finally, after dialing the international access code, country code, and area code, you can enter the remaining digits of the contact’s landline number.

For example, if you are calling a landline number in Edinburgh, UK, the dialing sequence would look like this on your dial-pad or telephone screen, depending on your scenario:

  • From within the UK: 0131 XXX XXXX (including the area code)
  • Calling from outside the UK: +44 131 XXX XXXX (dropping the leading zero from the area codes.

Understanding UK Mobile Phone Numbers: Dialing Steps and Format

When it comes to UK mobile phone numbers, there are three essential elements: the country code, the national destination code, and the contact’s mobile phone number. Let’s take a closer look at a typical UK mobile phone number: +44 7975 556677.

When dialing a UK mobile number from within the UK, you need to enter the complete 11-digit contact number.

However, if you are trying to reach a UK mobile number from overseas, you should follow these steps:

Step 1 – Enter the International Access Code: Begin by entering your country’s international access code. This code can be represented as ’00’, ‘011’, or ‘+’ when calling from a mobile device in another country.

Step 2 – Dial the Country Code: After the international access code, you need to dial the country code for the UK, which is 44. This informs the call that it is being directed to the United Kingdom.

Step 3 – Enter the Mobile Number: The final step is to enter the complete UK mobile number of the contact you wish to reach. Remember to include the 11-digit number, starting with ’07’.

It’s worth noting that the format of a UK mobile number may vary slightly depending on the device or location from which you are making the call. Nonetheless, following these steps will ensure that you successfully dial a UK mobile number from abroad.

Types and Formats of Phone Numbers in the UK

UK phone numbers encompass a variety of formats and serve different purposes based on geographic location, country, and whether they are mobile or landline numbers. In this informative guide, we will delve into the intricacies of three major types: geographic numbers, non-geographic numbers, and mobile phone numbers. Gain a comprehensive understanding of each type and discover the unique benefits they bring.

1. Using Geographic Numbers in the UK

Geographic numbers, also known as local numbers, consist of area codes specific to a particular region or city. For example, a UK phone number with an area code of Nottingham (115) is considered a geographic number. Calls made to geographic numbers are typically charged at a local rate, which varies depending on the caller’s and recipient’s locations.

Utilizing UK geographic numbers offers several benefits, particularly for businesses:

  • Establishing a Local Presence: By using geographic numbers, businesses can create a strong local presence, as these numbers appear as familiar local numbers to customers. This helps build trust and credibility.
  • Inclusivity for Global Customers: Having recognizable UK area codes gives your business a sense of inclusivity, allowing you to cater to global customers while still maintaining a local connection. This can enhance customer trust and make your business more accessible.
  • Cost-Effective Calling: One of the significant advantages of geographic numbers is that they enable businesses to pay cost-effective local calling rates. This saves you from high international calling charges and helps you manage communication costs efficiently.


2. Non-Geographic Numbers for Nationwide Business Communication

Non-geographic numbers are phone numbers that do not have specific UK area codes and remain consistent across the country. These numbers offer businesses a unified contact point, allowing customers to reach them from anywhere in the UK without the need for different regional codes. This consistency lends an established image to businesses in the market.

Non-geographic numbers are particularly beneficial for businesses with a nationwide customer base. Regardless of the area from which a customer calls, they can use the same uniform number to connect with your business. This makes it easier for customers to reach you, promoting efficient communication and enhancing your brand’s accessibility.

Using UK Geographic or Local Numbers has many benefits:

  • Credibility – Customers prefer local numbers and trust them more.
  • Regional Targeting – Having a local number helps businesses reach their local customers.
  • Global Presence – The UK country code gives an impression of global reach.
  • These numbers make communication between businesses and customers across different regions easy and barrier-free. They help businesses build a strong local presence while remaining accessible to global clients.

3. Understanding Mobile Numbers: Codes, Formats, and Dialing

If you’re expanding your business or hiring new teammates in the UK, it’s important to know how UK mobile numbers are structured, the codes they contain, and how their formats vary based on devices and locations. This knowledge is crucial for ensuring that your calls reach the intended country.

Major mobile network operators in the UK, such as Everything Everywhere (EE), O2, Vodafone, and Three, provide reliable telephone services. Let’s take a closer look at the elements of a UK mobile number.

UK mobile numbers are 11 digits and always start with ’07’. To dial a UK mobile number from within the UK, the correct format is 07-333-433-335. This applies to both calls made from UK landlines and mobile phones.

However, if a customer from overseas wishes to contact your UK number, they must enter a dial pad similar to +44-7-333-433-335. The ‘+44’ represents the international code for the UK.

Understanding the structure and formatting of UK mobile numbers will help ensure effective communication with your colleagues, clients, and customers in the UK.

Mastering UK Phone Number Dialing

We have reached the end of this comprehensive guide on correctly dialing UK phone numbers from within or outside the United Kingdom. It is crucial to prioritize research and choose reliable virtual phone number service providers to ensure seamless business communication with the UK.

International calling can be complex if you are unsure which dialing codes to use and when. Making mistakes with mobile or dialing codes can result in failed calls and wasted time.

Additionally, it is essential to consider the devices you and your contact use before dialing a number. The process may differ when calling from mobile phones to landlines or vice versa.

To avoid confusion, keep this guide readily available for quick reference when making calls to the United Kingdom. Double-check the phone number before initiating the call, and be mindful of calling during appropriate business hours when dialing the UK from another country.

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