Advice for the Imminent Withdrawal of 0500 Numbers

later this year the 0500 prefix will be withdrawn from use. If your business owns an 0500 number you will need to ensure an alternative number is arranged in readiness for its withdrawal by Ofcom on 3rd June 2017.

This old-style freephone number has lost popularity and experienced decreased recognition over the years, so this change should go some way in reducing the confusion amongst consumers associated with the 0500 prefix.

08085 to replace 0500

0500 numbers were introduced in 1982, although new allocations to this number have been denied since 1997/1998. The highly popular and recognisable 0800 prefix was introduced in 1985; approximately 90% of people recognise this number as free-to-call. Shortly afterwards in 1997 a similar prefix of 0808 was introduced. Whilst both numbers will continue to be used, a third freephone number will take over from 0500 numbers this year.

The prefix 08085 was introduced in 2015 with the view to replace the 0500 prefix. Those who currently own a 0500 number are encouraged to cease use before June 3rd 2017 in order to avoid experiencing any issues or loss of service. You have two options:

1. Cease use of 0500 numbers completely by mid 2017 and transfer to the 08085 equivalent.
2. Cease use of 0500 numbers by mid 2017 and replace it with an alternative number, such as an 03, 0800, 0844/0845 or 01/02.

Securing an alternative number

Fortunately you have ample time to secure a new number before the 0500 prefix is withdrawn. Ofcom have made direct 08085 replacement numbers available, which means you can retain as much continuity as possible; for example, if your current number is 0500 123123 you will be able to transfer it to 08085 123123.

We offer an extensive selection of fantastic 03, 0800, and free 0844 numbers as well as UK virtual 01/02 numbers, all of which can be configured in time for the changeover, minimising the effect on your customers and ensuring your service continues as normal. Below is a quick overview of the numbers available from Capital Telecom that you could use to replace your 0500 number:

• 03 – a non-geographic alternative to 08 numbers. A call to an 03 will cost your customers the same as a national rate call.
• 0800 –  widely recognised as freephone; free to call from UK landlines and mobiles. Advertising response rates can increase by up to 185%*.
• 0844 – you can earn up to 2p per minute and most of Capital Telecom’s 0844 numbers are free, making them highly cost effective.
• 01/02 – create a ‘local feel’ with your number. Businesses are more approachable and customers are more likely to trust you if you appear to be based locally.

Notifying your customers

We suggest you keep your customers updated well in advance through your social media channels, marketing and by means of a simple recorded voice message via your Dynamic Call Agent service or Virtual Switchboard.

Also consider where you are currently advertising and where your 0500 number is visible in print; you may need to order new business cards, flyers and letterheads, amend web pages, social media profiles and other media outlets as well as update your entries in local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thompson Local.

If you’d like to find out more about the numerous benefits of purchasing a memorable number from Capital Telecom and learn about our extensive ad-ons, just click here or call us free on 0800 228866 to talk to a member of our experienced team.

*Source: Institute of Direct Marketing

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