Number changes seem to have become a new way of life and next week businesses still spinning with Y2K hype will have to collect themselves again to account for the telephone national code and number change.
The Direct Marketing Association has estimated that the changes could cost UK companies £500m in altering stationery and advertising.
Premium lines are set to get a tell-tale new 090 code, mobiles, pagers and personal numbering will start 07, while international codes drop a zero to 00.
And six lucky areas across the UK – Belfast, Cardiff, Coventry, London, Northern Ireland, Portsmouth and Southampton – can look forward from 22 April to their variant on the 02 digits.
Is UK plc prepared? Not as fully as most think, according to Big Number campaign research, which found that although 66% of surveyed businesses said they knew their new number, only 16% could rattle it off when contacted.
The official telecom watchdog’s campaign also claimed that last year saw a surge in the number of phone calls and faxes and one in three businesses claim their telephone calls rise by 25%.
Ray Thornton, head of numbering at Oftel, said the change has been brought about by a ‘massive explosion in telecommunications – with capacity taken up by extra numbers on modems, faxes and lines.
Research carried out in London back in 1995 showed that 30 million new numbers were needed in the Capital by 2010.
‘We have created 80 million numbers, so we have a lot of spare capacity’, he said.
Telecoms equipment, databases, letter heads and publicity materials now all need to be changed.
‘This is the third change in 10 years’, a Federation of Small Business spokesman said. ‘These new changes should have been carried out as part of Phoneday in 1995.’