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Cost To Call 020 Numbers

do 020 numbers cost

Call Charges, in the modern era, are a thing many people can get around privately. But if you’re a business that works by contacting people who may have premium rate numbers, be in certain area codes or subject you to their phone company’s access charge, you may wonder exactly how much you’ll have to pay.

The following article will break down the factors involved in work.

London Number Cost to Call

What Are 020 Numbers?

020 numbers are the area code of London and Greater London and are considered quite recognisable as a result, as it’s a highly populated city with many businesses and residences. The area code was created in April 2000, replacing 0181 and 0171.

Here is a breakdown by postcode.

  • Inner/Central London (E14, EC1–4, N1–22, SE1–20, SW1–20, W1–14)
  • Outer London (E15–18, NW3–7, RM9-17, TW8-19)
  • Surrounding Areas (HP23, HP24, IG2, IG3, MK41–48, NW9–11)


Why Was The 020 Area Code Introduced?

020 Numbers were created to simplify identifying calls made from within London or Greater London using landline phones, as opposed to mobile phones. It simplified the previous system of using separate codes. It also streamlined landlines so businesses could set up singular phone numbers that could cover all these areas.

How Much Does It Cost To Call 020 Numbers?

There’s no one answer to this question, as how much you’ll pay for ringing any phone number depends on several factors:

  • Service Provider Charge – Each provider has their terms for making calls. December 2021 saw that 28% of all phone company plans include unlimited minutes for many area codes, and 020 numbers are almost always included.
  • Phone Plan Details – Many mobile phones have free calls to landline numbers, this includes 020 numbers.
  • Landline vs Mobile Phone – Calls from landlines are generally cheaper than mobile phones.
  • Time Of Day – Some phone providers incur an extra cost when calling during peak hours.


Calls from landline to landline in London won’t demand extra charges beyond the national rate.

The company or organisation you’re calling may also charge you for trying to contact them through a 020 number, such as when contacting charities etc, as they use these funds to further their humanitarian ends.

Can Individuals Or Organisations Outside Of Greater London Use 020 Numbers?

Yes. Those outside of London cannot use it as primary geographic numbers, but it can be used through the following means:

  • Virtual 020 Numbers – Some companies offer virtual numbers, which are used by businesses outside of London to give off the appearance of being within. They are likely not eligible to receive the typical benefits that come with being in the 020 area code. Typically, these businesses shouldn’t be trusted. There’s no common way to immediately find out the call’s legitimacy, but we’d recommend looking online if you’re unsure.
  • Temporary Relocation – There are times when a business may temporarily relocate outside of London and keep its number for some time, though this is subject to your service provider.


There are several potential reasons as to why people or organisations would want to use 020 numbers, some of which are:

  • To have the appearance of a local caller
  • So they can try and claim more credibility as being a London-based business or organisation
  • To make their number a lot easier to remember
  • To have a single contact number for a company operating to a nationwide customer base
  • To be part of a nationwide branding plan


Potential Scams Linked To 020 Numbers

Many companies use smart features to display a business assigned to a number, but for those that don’t, you may find that searching online is the only way to ensure you know where the number is coming from. This is especially recommended if you get a missed call from one such scammer, as they may be using premium rate numbers designed to run up your phone bill.

Another piece of advice is to ensure your service provider has you covered for calling telephone numbers starting in certain area codes.

There is one piece of advice we’d apply to all calls from a 0203 numbers – don’t ring them back. Typically, companies trying to get in contact with you have multiple avenues to go down so they will get in touch with you eventually.

How To Protect Against Scams

Scammers over the phone typically use specialised tactics to trick you. If you think you may be a target, the only way to protect yourself is to make yourself aware of their modus operandi.

Aside from that, one piece of advice we’d always give you is to never give your details over the phone to a person who has rung you.

Ofcom Regulations On Telephone Numbering

Ofcom is the official governing body for enforcing compliance with phone line communications, to establish fair and transparent communications across the UK.

Some regulations include:

  • National Telephone Numbering Plan – This plan details the structure of telephone numbers in the UK and area code allocations.
  • Number Portability – Ofcom ensures that a phone company must ensure that telephone and mobile numbers can be ported over to new devices for convenience.
  • Special Number Ranges – Ofcom ensures allocation and use of special number ranges. Examples are 0800 (freephone) and 09 (premium rate numbers).
  • Consumer Protection – Ofcom is responsible for establishing regulations to protect consumers from fraudulent use of phone numbers.
  • Enforcement – Ofcom can enforce action against a company or individual who breaches regulations.
  • Consultation And Review – Ofcom must consult and review with industry stakeholders and consumers both for ways to improve service and protect consumers.


Ofcom has put some regulations in place regarding 020 numbers, which include:

  • Geographic Numbers – 020 numbers are designated as geographic numbers, numbers that dictate specific locations.
  • Transparency For Virtual Numbers – Virtual numbers being used by businesses must be transparent and disclose this information to callers.


Technical Administration Of The 020 Code

Area codes facilitated by Telefonica UK as designated by the National Telephone Numbering Plan Administrator. Regulations regarding 020 numbers, as well as non-geographic service calls, empower consumers with information about costs and potential variations in access charges.

Key aspects of Telefonica UK’s management include:

  • Processing requests for allocation of new number ranges
  • Maintaining the master register of allocated phone numbers
  • Resolving a number of conflicts between providers
  • Coordinating changes as needed with Ofcom
  • Overseeing the number of portability processes


Robust administration has enabled millions of 020 numbers to be issued without availability issues. Telefonica UK works closely with Ofcom and individual carriers to support numbering needs.

Telephone 020


Overall, calling 020 numbers will likely incur call charges unless you’re covered by a good service provider. Ensure that you know your calling plan when considering telephoning businesses.

FAQ: Telephone Number Porting Processes With Your Phone Provider

Owners of 020 numbers associated with businesses or personal lines may want to keep their number if planning to move or change phone provider. Ofcom enables this process, known as “porting”.

Here is a high-level overview:

  • The customer initiates number porting through their new carrier
  • Coordination occurs between the old and new providers
  • Some temporary dual routing of calls takes place
  • After testing, the number is fully ported between networks


FAQ: Who can use 020 numbers for free?

Certain services and people can call these numbers for free or a highly reduced rate:

  • Charity – Charity fundraisers may use 020 when calling for donations, as it’s part of a humanitarian effort. If using this system for charity calls, it usually means that people calling a charity’s advertised 020 number won’t incur any additional costs.
  • Promotional Offers – Phone providers run offers on calling 020 numbers for free during specific times, as part of their competition strategy.
  • Certain Service Numbers – Service numbers, such as government agencies, can ring 020 numbers for free.


It’s believed that people are more likely to pick up a number from a number or area code that they recognise.

FAQ: What are some promotions offering free calls to 020 numbers?

Calling 020 numbers typically incurs charges, but some run promotions offering free calls to London landlines periodically.

For example – Virgin media ran a promotion that allowed a certain amount of free minutes when calling 020 numbers, for a set period. Or the post office – which sponsored giveaways providing pre-paid phone cards of £5. Unlimited minutes to UK Landlines is a common thing within deals nowadays, however, so you may not need to be this involved. 


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