How do I get an 020 number if I don’t live or work in London?

August 8, 2023

This is something we actually get asked quite a lot. And yes, it is perfectly possible - and legal of course! - to get yourself a virtual 020 number even if you’re not based in an 020 area. All you need is something called a virtual number. Here we’ll explain more.

What are 020 numbers?

Back in April 2000, all the previous London area codes that had been set up during the 80s and 90s were replaced by the 020 area code. This gave London a standard, recognisable telephone code for businesses and residents.

Numbers that have 020 as a prefix include:

Outer London (E15 to 18, NW3 to 7, RM9 to 17, TW8 to 19)

Inner London (E14, EC1 to 4, N1 to 22, SE1 to 20, SW1 to 20, W1 to 14)

Surrounding areas (HP23 and 24, IG2 and 3, MK41 to 48, NW9 to 11)

The landline switch-off is coming: Is your business ready?

By the end of December 2025, all UK landlines will be switched off permanently. Technology has moved on fast, with traditional copper lines being expensive, difficult to maintain and no longer meeting the country’s demanding communication needs.

With this in mind, many businesses are now looking at alternatives, and VoIP digital phones are filling the gap as a business-friendly, high-quality, cheaper alternative. 

You don’t even need to have a VoIP handset either - you can access your VoIP system and make calls using your tablet, laptop or smartphone.

Is it really legal to have an 020 number if you’re not in London?

Yes it’s perfectly allowed. You can get a digital VoIP phone number with any area code, including 020, even if you’re not actually located in that vicinity. In fact, it’s a really useful way of attracting customers in a certain area to your business. Appearing to be London-based can also give a bit of a prestige air.

What are the other advantages to having an 020 number?

Apart from the fact that you’ll protect your business from the landline switch-off, there are loads of other benefits to having a virtual 020 VoIP number. For example:

  • To create a more professional look by not having various different area codes displayed across your marketing materials and website.
  • To provide customers with one contact point. This is particularly useful if you have a number of staff located across several geographical areas.
  • To improve your customer service. Many digital phone providers like bOnline now allow you to add all sorts of customer-friendly features to your virtual London number. For instance, you can log into your dashboard and adjust your call flow to give your customers options as to which department they speak to. You can also automatically divert their calls to a voicemail system at busy times, or use call queuing.
  • In building a branding strategy with a national reach.
  • You can redirect calls over a set, short amount of time - like weekends and evenings - without your customers realising. However, your 020 number won’t change at any point.
  • There aren’t any extra lines or equipment to purchase as your business expands. As virtual phone lines aren’t linked to a specific handset, when you take on additional staff you simply need to give them the log on details to your VoIP system and away they go. This not only saves you time and hassle, but money too.
  • If you decide to move your business premises, you simply take your digital phone system with you. A virtual 020 number allows you to redirect customer calls to your new number, or keep your existing one. No need to change your website or vehicle livery, or reprint your stationery - all that costs money after all!

How do I get an 020 number?

By choosing bOnline as your digital phone provider, we will switch your existing number - or set a new one up for you - without you having to do anything technical yourself. This can be done within just a day or two and we do it all remotely so no engineer visits!

If you haven’t already got a digital VoIP phone system, why not sign up for our free 7-day trial with no obligation? It’s the perfect way to test out all the features on offer and see how it works for your business, without the commitment. Then, if after 7 days you love our service and want to continue, we offer a range of low cost 12-month contract packages to choose from.

At bOnline we specialise in offering digital phone and broadband products to small businesses, sole traders and freelancers across the UK. We’ve won some amazing awards and are proud to be rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with over 10,000 reviews too!

Our customer support team is also on hand to answer any questions you may have on 0203 617 9950.

Don’t get caught out by the landline switch-off! See how a VoIP phone system from bOnline can help you streamline your customer calls and potentially save a lot of money too.


Choose your number to get started

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