By Claire West

03 numbers look set to overtake 0845 as the UK’s most popular business phone number, according to a leading telecommunications company.

Windsor Telecom, the UK’s 2nd largest provider of 0845 numbers, found that 03 numbers accounted for over 50% of its new connections between March and July of this year, with 0845 making up 31%.

The firm attributes the rising popularity of 03 to the increasing usage of mobile phones.

Communications regulator, Ofcom states that 40% of all UK calls are now made from mobiles and users can call 03 numbers as part of their free minutes.

Neil Sherring, chief executive of Windsor, said: [i]“0845 numbers have been around for 13 years and have long been the most popular choice for UK businesses. However, consumers are using their mobile phones more and more which means many companies are looking for solutions to encourage people to phone them. 03 does this, whilst giving firms the same benefits as 08 numbers.”

03 numbers were launched by Ofcom in 2007 to “increase certainty, trust and confidence in the numbers that consumers call”. They cost the same to call as normal landline numbers and offer exactly the same call features as 08 numbers.

Thousands of SMEs are now using 03 numbers, alongside larger organisations which include the BBC, the National Blood Service, Pioneer and Oxfam.