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Knowledge base 055 UK corporate numbers

Ever since PhoneDay changed all the area codes in the UK to start 01, we have had the opportunity of having new numbering blocks. One of the new blocks that was created was numbers starting 055. These are corporate numbers.

The idea is simple, and a good idea. Basically a business could get a number block itself, and then negotiate with carriers to have the calls delivered to them. However the way OFCOM have done it means they are almost useless now. Which is a shame.

There are several issues:-

  • The business can set whatever rate they like, so different numbers could have wildly different prices for similar numbers.
  • The business can only set what it requires as an interconnect price, there is no way to set the retail price for people calling the numbers. So a business cannot say the cost of calling if they want to, and the cost could vary wildly from operator to operator.
  • Partly because of the above and partly because of the confusion over 0845, 0870 and premium rate calls, the public have no confidence in the cost of calling an 055 number. It is proving hard to convince people 03 numbers are not expensive so 055 numbers have no chance.
  • OFCOM won't actually allow business to get corporate number blocks! They can only be obtained from telcos, but can be for the business's exclusive use. Whilst becoming a telco to get a number block is not hard, if you do that then why not get 03 or even geographic numbers instead. One of the whole points of corporate numbering is independence from any one telco. If you have to get the block from a telco you are tied to them in one way or another forever.

So all in all there is little point now. If you want a big block independent of a telco you simple become a telco, and in that case you can just get 03 numbers or geographic numbers like London (020), or whatever you like.

We have an 055 block, and we'll happily get an 055 block for any customer that wants them. We have set the price the same as 03 numbers, but that only really works for calls from BT as other telcos charge all sorts of odd rates. All of our phones internally have 055 numbers, but externally we use 03 numbers and 01344 numbers.