09 Numbers

What are 09 numbers?

09 numbers (UK telephone numbers that begin with the 09 prefix) are premium-rate numbers typically used for premium over-the-phone services such as horoscope readings, competitions, adult entertainment and high-end technical support.

  • PREMIUM-RATE: 09 phone numbers are charged at premium rates, often costing several pounds per minute to call. Therefore these numbers differ significantly from geographic numbers (01 & 02 numbers) and the more common of the non-geographic numbers such as freephone 0800 numbers and local-rate 03 numbers.
  • NON-GEOGRAPHIC: 09 telephone numbers are non-geographic in the sense they are nationally registered – they’re not assigned to a specific locality within the UK like 020 is for London and 0161 is for Manchester for example. In this this sense, they are similar to 08 (freephone and business-rate) numbers and 03 (mobile-friendly, local-rate) numbers which are all non-geographic, non-localised numbers giving businesses a perceived national presence.

Different types of 09 numbers

There are two main types of 09 telephone number when you divide them based on their reserved usage permissions – other than that the only difference between different 09 numbers is how much the company which owns the number decides to charge you for calling – this is flexible for all 09 phone numbers – they can be changed by their owner at any time so long as they remain within the boundaries permitted by Ofcom & PhonepayPlus.

  • 0900-0907 & 0911-0913 numbers are used for the majority of services that use 09 numbers, for example information helplines, competitions, television voting and charitable donation services.
  • 0908-0909 & 098 numbers are reserved for adult entertainment services with expected sexual content, such as raunchy chat and dating services. Since 2005 all new phone numbers registered for adult entertainment purposes use the 098 prefix to help you recognise these services on your phone bill.

Examples of 09 Numbers

  • 0906 139 3837 – This is the phone number for the DVLA Driver Check service which employers can call to check a prospective employee’s driving licence information.
  • 0905 005 8102 – This is the phone number for Mystic Meg’s horoscopes & psychics which is run by the popular UK newspaper The Sun.

Cost of calling 09 numbers

09 numbers are premium-rate numbers, and while their price can vary, they are usually charged at higher rates than all other phone numbers except 118 numbers. 09 numbers cost up to £3.60 per minute (service charge) plus an access charge set by your own phone company, or a one-off fee of up to £6 per call (charged within the first few seconds of calling.

Therefore it is important that you avoid dialling these numbers unless absolutely necessary, unless you’re happy with running up a large phone bill.

Many services which use 09 numbers charge much less than the maximum amount possible, for example calling the DVLA Driver Check Service using their contact number 0906 139 3837 will only cost you 51p per minute plus access charge.

How do 09 numbers compare to 087, 070 and 118 premium-rate phone numbers?

The next least expensive numbers are 070 numbers which are very rarely used, and the more common 087 numbers (including 0870, 0871 and 0872 numbers) which cost up to 13p per minute plus access charge, so 09 numbers often come down near to that level so that companies can use phonelines which operates in the 14p+ access charge level. Beside 09 numbers and 070 numbers, 118 numbers are the only other common number type costing greater than a 13p access charge, and 118 numbers such as 118-247 are particularly expensive to acquire due to their shortness & memorability – much more so than 09 numbers – so they rarely come down below several pounds per minute.

All premium-rate phone numbers, from business-rate numbers (beginning 084 & 087) and 070 numbers at the lower end of the scale, through to 09 numbers and 118 numbers at the upper end of the scale, are independently regulated by PhonepayPlus (a department of Ofcom – the UK Government’s Office for Communications) and you can use the number check service on their website www.phonepayplus.org.uk to see who owns a particular number and how much it will cost to call.