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Virtual Phone Number UK: Providers, Services & Prices

This article will give you an overview of virtual telephone numbers in the UK, and provide the latest pricing and features for the top suppliers.

What Is a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual telephone number is one that is not directly associated with a telephone line. For instance, it is possible to buy a London 020 number, which your customers can call even if you do not have a physical office there.

Callers have the comfort and familiarity of a local rate number, and you can use it to give your business a localised feel.

CallReady

CallReady logo

CallReady, a member of Otelo, the Ofcom approved ombudsman for communications companies, are owned by Dolphin Com Ltd. Their website allows you to search a list of virtual phone numbers by town name or area code.


Pricing

CallReady offer four plans priced between *£2.95 and *£19.95. There is no connection fee, and calls costs 1.5ppm (pence per minute) for landlines and 5 - 8ppm for mobiles (depending on the plan).


Features

Call management services are not included in the monthly price, but options such as call whisper, virtual switchboard, call statistics and so on can be added on top.

DBS Chess

DBS Chess logo

Established in 1986, DBS Chess offer telecom products and services and are also an Otelo member. A list of available numbers are displayed on their website, allowing you to simply 'click and buy' the virtual phone number you want.


Pricing

There is a one off fee of *£15, and monthly rental of *£5. Incoming calls are charged at 2.9ppm.


Features

All DBS Chess numbers use trusted Tier 1 networks, not VOIP, which makes call quality more reliable.

The company's services are mix and match, rather than bundled in one single package, so you can pick as many additional features as you need; for instance, call queuing, online call statistics, time of day routing etc.

Press1

Press1 logo

Press1 don't provide virtual numbers as a standalone feature, but you can add a 0203, 0207 or 0121 number to your virtual switchboard.


Pricing

Press1 charge *£6.99 per month for a virtual number. Call forwarding to a UK landline is free and between 3 - 11ppm for mobiles, depending on the operator.

Their switchboard plans cost *£24.99 to set up, and *£4.99 and *£14.99 per month with call rates of between 1.5 - 7.7ppm (depending on the plan and time of day).


Features

Press1 offer a free trial, allowing you to test all the features of their service with no obligation to buy. The switchboard packages offer additional services such as call forwarding, email alerts, a recordings manager and so on.

They do not currently offer number portability (i.e. porting a virtual number across from another service).

All support is via web and email only. It is against the Terms and Conditions to use the service for auto-dialling and telemarketing.

Telecoms World

Telecoms World PLC logo

Telecoms World are a leading provider of 08/03 numbers, and manage over 50,000 numbers to UK businesses.


Pricing

This company offer four plans from *£2.99 to *£49.99 per month for virtual 01/02 numbers. Connection is free, and call charges start at 2 pence per minute for landlines.


Features

The silver, gold and platinum plans offer call management features such as diverting to a UK landline, routing calls based on time zones and disaster recovery.

Their virtual numbers use IP routing, and a section on their website explains their network architecture in detail.

Further Information

There are a great many providers of virtual numbers in the UK, so it is worthwhile shopping around for the best deal. Make sure you know whether the number will be forwarded via a Tier 1 network or via (Internet Protocol) IP routing, as this may impact call quality.