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Local Area Code

What is the Local Area Code?

The local area code is a component of your landline (fixed-line) telephone number. As landline numbers are used as a unique identifier for each landline user, and the number of phone numbers in operation increased, a standardised format was developed to be able to increase the number of phone numbers that can be issued without making the phone numbers unbelievably long and complex.

The simplest way to achieve this was to break down geographical areas in more localised areas and assign a numeric identification to each area. This number then became known as the Local Area Code.

Areas with larger popuplations and therefore greater demand for phone numbers where eventually broken down even further and assigned multiple area codes. For example, London as the capital of the UK was originally assigned “01” in 1958. By 1990, London had outgrown the possible combinations and was split into inner and and outer London with “071” and “081”.

This process can also happen nationally, for example in the UK in 1995 where an additional “1” was assigned to all area codes to ensure all area codes started with “01” which changed the London codes to “0171” and “0181”. This event is commonly known as “PhONEday”.

In 2000 and again in the UK, all the phone numbers were reorganised and London went back to a single area code “020”, but the “7” and “8” where kept to transform the area code to “020(7)” and “020(8)”. By 2019 more numbers were added to London, with “020(3)” in 2005 allowing for an extra 10 million phone numbers and “020(4)” in 2019 as the available phone numbers started running out again.

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