Techy: New Directory Enquiry numbers

December 12th, 2002 by Richy B. Leave a reply »

[A Phonebook with two phones]As you may have heard on Tuesday, the new replacement UK directory enquiries telephone numbers are now live (since I’m on OFTEL‘s mailing list, I get advanced notice 🙂 ). Basically the 192 and 153 DQ (directory enquiries) numbers are going to be phased out by the end of next year (August 2003 to be precise) to be replaced with numbers starting with “118” provided by third parties and the “incumbents” (such as BT, NTL:, Orange – basically all those provides who currently provide the 192 DQ number service only on their own lines).

One of the interesting things to note, is that according to OFTEL if you have any complaints you “contact ICSTIS, the premium rate services regulator.” Why is that interesting? Well, OFTEL’s saying the new DQ services are premium rate and ICSTIS state: “All UK-based premium rate services must be advertised on ‘090’ dialling codes” (their emphasis). Hmm – me thinks that the two regulators need to communicate a bit better between each other….

Whilst the BBC has done a “road test” comparing the services provided by the providers – they do seem to have missed a few of them out. So, without further ado, may I present my nice verified list of the 7 current DQ providers (in UK DQ numerical order order):

  • Orange: 118 000. Calls charged at 49p for the first minute, 20p per minute thereafter. Minimum charge of 49p. Verified via their website.
  • One.Tel: 118 111. Flat fee of 35p per call. Verified via their website.
  • Core Telecommunications (trading as Opal Telecom): 118 114. Flat fee of 40p per call. *Not verified* (no website found for either company 🙁 ).
  • The Number UK: 118 118. Charged at 9p per minute plus a 49p extra charge. *Not verified*
  • BT: 118 500. Calls charged at 30p per minute plus a 25p extra charge. Verified via their website.
  • British Gas: 118 511. Flat fee of 40p per call. Verified by speaking to a representative as they haven’t updated their website yet.
  • Telegate :118 866. Calls charged at 20p per minute plus at 25p extra charge. Verified via their website.

My favourite way to look up phone (and address) details. offers 100 searches for £19.99 (around 20p per lookup). But beating all of those is BT’s directory enquiries website which gives you 10 free searches a day (with an extra 200 a month if you register). Current “192” telephone enquiries are charged at 40p per call by BT by the way… If you want the complete list of allocated codes (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are in current use, just that someone actually ‘owns’ that code) then you can download the complete S10 allocation list in Excel format from Oftel.

So which one is the cheapest? Well, if you exclude the “internet only” solutions from BT and, then the prices for a two minute enquiry is: One.Tel’s the cheapest at 35p per call (on 118 111), British Gas and Core (118 511 and 118 114 respectively) are the joint second at 40p, then it shoots up to 65p from Telegate, 67p from The Number UK, and then 69p from Orange. Yep – that leaves BT as the most expensive at 75p.

But what about you aren’t asking for a complicated name that you’ve got to spell out? The “average call” to DQ services is touted at 45seconds – so let’s redo the sums… One.Tel: 35p, British Gas and Core: 40p, Telgate: 45p, Orange: 49p, BT: 55p and The Number UK: 58p.

So it looks like (after the BT free Internet DQ service and, if you think you’ll be making at least 50 lookups in a year,‘s internet offering) One.Tel is the cheapest solution for your number hunting – just dial 118 111 and there you go. British Gas and Core are good backup solutions – but stay away from Orange, BT and The Number UK unless you are after a service only they can offer OR like spending more money then needed.

This post is over 6 months old.

This means that, despite my best intentions, it may no longer be accurate.

This blog holds over 12 years of archived content - during that time, I may have changed my opinion of something, technology will have advanced (and old "best standards" may no longer be the case), my technology "know how" has improved etc etc - it would probably take me a considerable amount of time to update all the archival entries: and defeat the point of keeping them anyway.

Please take these posts for what they are: a brief look into my past, my history, my journey and "caveat emptor".


  1. barrington says:

    The price for Orange directory services from a mobile phone is 59p + 30p/minute if connected.

    The price quoted is correct if calling from a landline.

  2. john molinghen says:

    You seem to have missed the BT 118 707 number at a flat rate of 35p inc

  3. Cheers John – the BT 118 707 number is “new” and wasn’t around when I was compiling the list in December last year(!)

  4. Johann says:


    You might want to have a look at http://www.marcuskern/info/118.htm. The cheapest number to call, at a flat rate of 19ppm, seems to be 118 800 (Torch Communications).

  5. Mike says:

    Re Directory Enquiries Charges Comparison. According to the National Consumer Federation 11 88 88 is the cheapest at 20p! See comparison table at

  6. Barry Wood says:

    Your entry relating to Core Telecommunications (Opal Telecom) is wrong. 118114 is run by Cable and Wireless.

  7. Telecom says:

    The BT 118 707 number is being touted as a “no frills” number for businesses, to be similar to the old 192 service. I think BT are only publicising it by direct calls to main business customers. What about all of the BT UK directories on a single CD for £36 + VAT? DIY directory enquiries. (0800-833-400 detials in the new phone books)

  8. daves0316 says:

    try Kingston Communications dir enq it is the cheapest 118 288

    31p charge 3 enquiries not timed

  9. in-side man says:

    11-88-48 (secret business number from 11-88-88)Cheaper than any other, 20p plus Vat, up to three numbers per call, no time limit and answered by a special team of thier best oeprators on higher money so you dont get any rubbish numbers.
    This is only offered via thier corporate sales team to business who use directory enquires over 3000 times a month, but anybody can dial it from a BT or NTL line other networks whack on a charge so dont bother. They dont want it getting out as they dont make much money on it – use and abuse it when you can- cheap calls for all

  10. Charles Scott says:

    Have you seen yesterdays Daily Mail the 118 numbers are FREE if you listen to a 20 sec Advert dial 0800 100 100 and speak to a live person this includes mobile landline and cable network,At last the end of the rip off expensive calls.

  11. Directory says:

    Very informative article, which I found quite useful. Cheers ,Jay

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