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The difference between 0207, 0208 and 0203 numbers

17/02/2012 13:38

One of the questions that we are frequently asked at The Virtual Number Company is: what is the difference between the three different types of London phone number – 0203 numbers, 0207 numbers and 0208 numbers?

The short answer is that nowadays there is no difference. In fact, technically there is no such thing as an 0207 number, an 0203 number or an 0208 number, just 020 numbers. 020 is the area code for London. The next part of the number then starts with a 3, 7 or 8, but that is not part of the area code, it is just how they are referred to for convenience.  But all three are exactly the same thing – London phone numbers. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you buy a virtual 0207, 0203 or 0208 number from us, it is still an 020 number and therefore still a London phone number.

Historically, 071 was inner London and 081 was outer London in the early 1990s. This became 0171 and 0181 respectively in 1995. In 2000, 0171 for inner London became 0207, and 0181 for outer London became 0208. The introduction of 0203 for the whole of London in 2004, plus more people now taking their numbers with them when they move has muddied the waters and means that as long as the number starts with 020, it doesn’t matter if it is followed by a 3, 7 or 8 – it’s a London number!
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