Jul 29

01273 number changes

Changes to Brighton area 01273 phone numbers in October 2014

01273 is the area code for Brighton, as well as Barcombe, Glynde, Hassocks, Henfield, Hove, Hurstpierpoint, Kemptown, Lewes, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Plumpton, Portslade, Poynings, Ringmer, Rottingdean, Shoreham-by-Sea, Southwick and Withdean.

From 1st October 2014, it will be necessary to always include the 01273 area code when dialling 01273 numbers, even if calling locally.

Changes to local dialling

Until the end of September 2014 the area code remains optional when dialling between landline phones in the area; calls may be made locally using just the six-digit local number.

From 1st October 2014, it will be necessary to dial 01273 area phone numbers in full, even when calling locally.

For example, callers could reach the city council by dialling 290000 prior to the change, if they were calling from an 01273 landline phone. Now they must dial 01273 290000, just as callers from mobile phones or outside the area always had to.

Reason for the change

The 01273 area code is heavily used, with very limited supplies of numbers available for new customers. Previously, extra capacity would be created by lengthening local phone numbers – such as by moving from six digits to seven and giving a corresponding ten-fold increase in capacity.

In Brighton, regulator Ofcom is trying a different strategy, requiring individuals to use the code for dialling local numbers to allow previously unusable local phone numbers beginning with 0 or 1 to be used.

By not carrying out a full renumbering, there is less upheaval for consumers as numbers do not actually change. However it also releases a much smaller quantity of new numbers and removes the ability to dial local numbers without the code.

Phone numbers stay the same

Only the ability to dial between 01273 area phones without the code is being removed – the full national phone numbers in use by residents and businesses stay the same. Long-distance calls to and from Brighton remain unchanged, as do calls to and from mobile phones.

Further changes in the future

This change only releases a small pool of additional numbers, which is expected to last between 5 and 10 years.

After these numbers are used up, it is likely the area will be given a second batch of numbers beginning with a different area code. This means some numbers will begin with the traditional 01273, while others may begin with completely different digits. This situation does not exist anywhere else in the UK as yet, although it is common in other countries. For example, telephone numbers in central New York can begin with any of three area codes: 212, 646 and 917.

Due to the change, it is now advisable to always quote 01273 numbers in full – ‘01273 290000’ and not ‘Brighton 290000’, for example. This will remind people that the full number must be dialled, while also minimising any future confusion should numbers starting with a code other than 01273 come into use in the future.