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Since their introduction in 2007, these 03 numbers have been the only variety of non-geographic number whose charge is officially linked to that of geographic numbers.No provision has been made for replicating the old 'local rate' or 'national rate' prefixes, as almost all UK telephone operators now charge all landline calls at the same rate, regardless of location.
Also during the 1990s, deregulation allowed companies other than BT to acquire 0800 numbers and issue them to their customers, as well as allowing customers with existing freephone numbers to retain them when changing telecoms supplier.
With the 08 ranges established as the primary freephone ranges, the 0321 number range was withdrawn during 2001.
Ofcom's "PRS Condition" defines Controlled Premium Rate Services as those: Services identified as CPRS must comply with the PSA Code of Practice.
Most non-geographic numbers use prefixes recovered from former use as geographic area codes.
Non-geographic numbers are used for various reasons, from providing flexible routing of incoming phone calls to generating revenue for paid-for services.
Non-geographic numbers were introduced to offer services that were historically unavailable on standard landline phone numbers, particularly in terms of call routing and special charging arrangements.
By the 1990s, the prefixes 0321, 05 were all in use and allocated to Vodafone, Mercury Communications and BT respectively.
Typically, the relevant prefix was followed by a six-digit number, giving a total number length of ten digits including the initial '0'.
These are the non-geographic numbers starting 084, 087 and 09. Prior to 2015, they were also known as special rate or business rate numbers. Call charges consist of a per-minute access charge levied by the caller's own phone company and a service charge or 'premium' paid to the joint benefit of the organisation being called and their telecoms provider.