Sales & Marketing

Are 0333 Numbers Free?

Luisa Ddakis | 5 June 2022 | 2 years ago

how much to call a 0333 number

Are 0333 numbers free? This is a common question asked by both consumers and businesses. The simple answer is in the majority of cases calling a 0333 is free for mobile phones and landlines. However, it is important to know that there are circumstances in which there is a fee. It is therefore important to know exactly how 0333 numbers work to avoid unexpected charges on your monthly bill.

In this article, we will explain everything that you need to know about 0333 numbers including what they are, how much they cost for a mobile phone and landline and the benefits of using them.  

What are 0333 Numbers?

Companies in the UK are increasingly using 0333 numbers. Unlike phone numbers using area codes, 0333 numbers aren’t tied to a physical area of the country and are therefore classed as national numbers or non-geographical numbers (NGNs). These specialised NGNs are often used as they only pass on a small cost to customers. This makes it more likely customers will call so that they can make orders or receive help or guidance if there is an issue.

0333 numbers are employed by institutions such as government departments, large national companies and charities allowing them to use one number for all of their regional offices. For example, if your business has an office in Birmingham, London and Manchester, you can use 0333 for all of the offices rather than the individual area codes for each branch.

Why do Companies Use 0333 Numbers?

0333 numbers are often used by companies and organisations that want to streamline their customer service. They do so by using one centralised office to deal with all customer queries. This enables callers to be able to get the assistance they need in an easy and efficient manner.

National companies also use 0333 numbers to prevent location bias of potential customers. Most customers prefer to deal with local businesses, so having a number that doesn’t imply a geographical location for the business is less likely to put off the potential clientele.

Businesses are unlikely to use a 0333 number for their day-to-day private communications. This is because 0333 numbers come at a cost to the business so they are not suitable for an individual’s needs.

free to call 0333 numbers

How Much Does Calling a 0333 Number Cost?

To get back to the important question, the cost of calling a 0333 number from a mobile or landline is the same as it would be to call a regional number starting with 01 or 02. This applies to any number starting with 03 such as 0300, 0345 and 0370 numbers.

The cost of calling from a mobile phone:

The low cost of calling a 0333 number from your mobile is reassuring when you have to make a crucial call to a business or government department. This is especially true when wait times could potentially be long and you are charged by the minute. In 2022, with staff shortages in every industry on the rise and businesses having to prioritise their staffing levels, waiting times have increased so 0333 costs are very helpful.

Here is a table outlining the costs:

Network Provider Cost per minute within contracted landlines allowance Cost per minute after exceeding contracted landlines allowance
ASDA Mobile Free of charge 8p per minute 
Delight Mobile Free of charge 3p per minute
EE Free of charge 30p per minute
GiffGaff Free of charge 10p per minute
Lebara Mobile Free of charge 19p per minute
LycaMobile Free of charge 15p per minute
O2 Free of charge 35p per minute
Tesco Mobile Free of charge 25p per minute
Three Mobile Free of charge 3p per minute
Virgin Mobile Free of charge 26p per minute
Vodafone Free of charge 30p per minute

The Cost of Calling from a Landline

When calling a 0333 number from a landline, it is prudent to know the calling plan that you have in place with your phone service provider. Unlike 0800 and 0808 national numbers, 0333 numbers are only free at specific times when calling from a UK landline so you need to make sure you make the call within that time period.

UK landline service providers offer different packages which allow their customers to take advantage of free calls during different times of the day. These periods are commonly referred to as “off-peak” and “peak” times. When calling in the off-peak time frame, calls from landlines to 0333 numbers will be included in the provider’s service package and will not incur a charge. Make sure you check with your phone operator to know when your peak and off-peak time periods are as calls made during peak hours will incur a charge from your provider. Below we’ve listed the big four telecom operators and their current (7/2022) peak time call charges to 0333 numbers.

Provider Approximate peak cost
BT 12p per minute + 21p set up charge
TalkTalk 13.5p per minute
Sky 9.5p per minute
Virgin Media 12p per minute

The Cost of Calling 0333 Numbers from Abroad

It is possible to call 0333 numbers from abroad but it isn’t guaranteed that calls placed in other countries will be allowed except those from the specific telecoms company.

Likewise, the cost of calling a 0333 number from abroad will depend wholly on the charges that the foreign phone carrier implements on foreign calls coming in. Be sure to check with the local phone company before placing the call and don’t forget to add +44 and take off the 0 of the 0333 number when you make the call. +44 is the UK’s national code and without adding it you won’t be able to call the UK from another country. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see the answer to whether 0333 numbers are free is not as straightforward as it first appears to be. When included in a mobile phone’s free call allowance then calls to 0333 numbers will incur no charge. When used outside of that allowance calls will be charged at the standard rate determined by your network provider. Similarly calling from landlines has two different charges when calling a 0333 number. If called at an off-peak time then the cost will be free. Calling at peak times will incur a small per minute charge as determined by each telecom company.


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