03 (+443 outside the UK) was introduced a few years ago as a replacement for the 0870 range which had been arguably abused. It was intended for use as a ‘national’ number (like 0870) but billed as a geographic call like its 01/02 counterparts.
We have always offered 03s as non-geographic numbers and therefore made no rental charge for using them. Equally customers have never needed pay for geographic numbers in order to qualify to use them. Instead, like all our non-geographic ranges customers can allocate them through the portal or API with no rental charge. Some numbers might attract a one-off “Gold number” fee if they’re very special but all are free of rental.
Like anything new they took a while to get going but 03 now represents our highest volume number range by incoming minutes. End-users seem to ‘get it’ and with calls to them included in most bundles they’ve successfully overcome the bill shock associated with 0870.
If you have customers requiring the positive association of a geographic number but with no particular locality in mind, or indeed needing to offer a ‘national’ service, then an 03 number might be a good option.