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FIRE, POLICE, AMBULANCE, COASTGUARD, MOUNTAIN RESCUE (emergency only): dial 999 or 112
00 is the International Access Code to dial out from within the UK, the Republic of Ireland and all other EU countries.
44 is the Country Code for the UK.
353 is the Country Code for the Republic of Ireland.
100 is the number for the Operator, 155 for International Operator.
The first part of a UK telephone number, which is specific to one geographic area, may be referred to as the 'dialling code' or 'area code'. The code is three to six digits long and always starts with ' 01' or ' 02', for example 020 is the code for London, 0118 is for Reading, 01332 is Derby, and 017687 is Keswick.
If you are making a call to a number with the same dialling code as the one you are calling from, you do not need to dial the code, only the customer number (between 4 and 8 figures long).
When calling from a mobile telephone, you must always dial the full number, including any geographic code.
Numbers for mobile telephones are 11 figures long and start with the digits '
07', however those starting '070' are 'personal numbers' which forward to another number and can be charged at a premium rate to pay for the diversion costs.
Other non-geographic numbers
Numbers starting ' 03' are not fixed to a location, but are charged at the same rate as calling a geographic number and are mainly used by businesses, charities and government departments.
Numbers starting ' 0800', ' 0808' and ' 0500' are freephone numbers; there is no charge to call these numbers from a landline or payphone, however hotels and mobile telephone networks are likely to charge.
Other numbers starting ' 08' (such as '0845' and '0870') are usually charged at a slightly higher rate than calling a geographic number (upto 10p per minute from a landline).
Premium rate numbers start ' 09' and can cost up to £1.50 per minute to call from a landline.
Six figure numbers which begin with ' 118' are Directory Enquiry services and are special rate numbers usually costing over £1 per call, however the cheapest is available by calling 118226 (33p per call from a landline). There is also a free automated service available from the following freephone number, 0800 118 3733, and the telephone directory is available online: http://www.thephonebook.bt.com.
There is normally no difference between the cost of making a local or long distance call within the UK.
Calls to mobile telephones are at a higher rate, however there is no charge to receive calls on a mobile phone.
Phoning from a hotel room can be expensive, as local calls are rarely free and they can charge many times more than the standard rate. It is advisable to check the rate before making the call; it might work out cheaper to use a payphone or mobile.
Public telephone boxes charge 60p for a local or long distance call (upto half an hour) when paid in coins. Calls to other numbers are charged at a higher rate (e.g. over £1 for a one minute call to a mobile 'phone), however the minimum charge is always 60p and calls to freephone numbers and the emergency services are not charged. Calls make using debit or credit cards are charged at a higher rate.
Private payphones are also found in youth hostels or some private other establishments, the minimum charge may be 20p, however the call charges per minute are set by the owner, and may be more expensive for calls longer than a few minutes.
Currently there are 4 main Mobile Networks Operators in the UK (Everything Everywhere (Usually abbreviated as EE), O2, Vodafone and Three). Other advertised mobile companies are 'virtual networks' which use one of the 4 main networks. For network coverage, check here http://ukmobilecoverage.co.uk/
If you're planning to spend a while in the UK, it may be worth getting a local 'pay as you go' SIM card. The UK's mobile industry is fiercely competitive and SIM cards are often given away or sold cheaply at shops and supermarkets; and there may be special offers available on some tariffs (e.g. free bonus minutes when you add credit). Try not to be tempted to get one of these at the airport when you arrive, as they are priced as high as £10, whereas in most other places they are available for less than £2.
There are also specialist networks such as Lebara and Lycamobile which offer very low international call rates (e.g. 6 pence per minute to the USA and Canada).
Also the mobile network Giffgaff is very cheap both within the UK and calling internationally (e.g. 3p per minute to USA and Canda) See here for full list of pricing http://giffgaff.com/index/pricing. Although giffgaff themselves only send sim cards to UK addresses, you can order a sim abroad free: here
Be aware that American, Canadian, and Latin American visitors may need to check with their phone's manufacturer or provider that their handset will work in the UK. The phone will need to be able to work on the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz GSM bands and, to use a local SIM, it will also need to be unlocked. The 'Three' network only works on mobile handsets which are '3G' enabled; others will work on '2G' handsets also.
Mobile phones are now so cheap to buy (£20 or less for a basic model) that renting one is likely to be uneconomic.
If you have a smartphone or laptop with Wifi, then you might use this to make free calls via a web provider such as Skype or Localphone, however this depends on a wireless connection available (many hotels and coffeeshops have free Wifi).
Phone cards are also available, however they may offer cheap rates, but have hidden surcharges associated with them (e.g. daily fees or connection fees). The Post Office phonecard is recommended as being good value and without hidden charges, however if you make a call with any phonecard from a public payphone, there is an additional per minute charge to support the public payphone network, except if calling from a private payphone (such as those in youth hostels or hotel reception areas).
The UK's emergency numbers is 999 for fire, police, ambulance, coastguard and mountain rescue. The operator will ask you what service you need then put you through. You can also use the European number 112. Calls to both of these numbers are completely free.
For non-emergencies, the number to reach the local police force is 101 in Great Britain and 0845 600 8000 in Northern Ireland. Calls to 101 cost 15p from a landline or mobile phone, or free from a public payphone. Calls to 0845 are charged at the appropriate rate.
To dial to another country from the UK , first dial 00, then the country code, area code (usually excluding initial '0') followed by the customer's number. Ofcom has a list of country codes in the file at internationalcodes.pdf.
For example, to call Seattle airport - (206) 787 3000 - from the UK, dial 00 1 206 787 3000.
When calling from abroad to the UK , you first dial your international access code. This varies depending which country you are in. For example, it's 011 in Canada, 0011 in Australia, 00 in most of Europe, and 001 in Singapore. Next, dial the country code for the UK , 44 , followed by the area code (excluding initial '0') and local phone number.
For example, to call the Lake District tourist information office - (01539) 822222 - from the USA or Canada, dial 011 44 1539 822222.