OFCOM has announced a possible change to local telephone codes today saying “Due to the sustained increase in demand for geographic numbers in certain areas, available number blocks to allocate to communications providers have become scarce". so-called “overlay” codes — a second code that would operate alongside the existing code maybe introduced across large parts of the country.

The regulator is proposing to start rationing the allocation of numbers to phone companies in 336 areas where stocks are fast depleting.

The areas all have five-digit area codes such as 01308. They include: Bridport, in Dorset; Bicester, Oxfordshire; Ely, Cambridgeshire; Haslemere, Surrey; and Penzance, in Cornwall.


Some companies “stockpile” numbers, leaving them unused but unavailable. 

Population growth is also thought to have used up numbers.

The number of companies providing telephone numbers has surged since the enforced opening-up by BT of its network to rivals in 2006.

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