How to call a UK 0700 number from the USA?
June 22, 2008 4:32 PM   Subscribe

How do I call a UK 0700 number from the USA? My mother is in hospital and I'd like to call her tomorrow. I'm familiar with the normal rules (01144 + drop the leading zero) but it doesn't seem to work for these 0700 numbers.

My mother is in an NHS hospital in London, and they issue patients with personal phones in their rooms that have these 0700 numbers. I think it's a special case premium rate UK number on which the hospital makes a profit.
posted by w0mbat to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From the US I frequently call UK cellphones that have numbers starting 07 by simply omitting the zero E.g to call 0706 123 456 I dial 01144 706 123 456 and that connects normally. I'd expect the hospital numbers are the same.

CAUTION -- MCI charged me over $300 for about one hour of call to a UK cellphone, and I have a discounted rate for calls to the UK. The extra charge adds up very fast.
posted by airplain at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2008

The UK 0700 numbers seem very similar to the "1-900" numbers in the U.S.

Your best bet might be to use Skype. Their rates for the UK are listed on this page. What's not clear is exactly which rate 0700 numbers would fall into; I think technically they aren't "premium" numbers (UK premium numbers are 0900 and are regulated by PhonePay, or at least I thought that's what the deal was) but might fall into one of the "shared cost" bands like the 0870. I'm not sure, though. It's odd that they don't break it out.

You could contact them and ask if you don't already have an account, just to make sure they don't block 0700 calls outright or something.

You ought to be able to direct-dial the 0700 number from a U.S. landline; that you can't makes me wonder whether you have some sort of blocking feature turned on (or enabled by default) on your number. Most companies let you block calls to 900 numbers (and their international equivalents) -- perhaps this is stopping you from getting to the 0700. That seems like something you'll have to contact customer service (of your long-distance provider) in order to solve.

I don't think there's any sort of "trick" for dialing them from within the U.S. though, if that's what you're asking. 011 + 44 + 700 + number would be the way I'd expect it to work. (And the way I've had other UK numbers, including cellphones, work over the years.) Since the only difference betweek 0700 and other UK numbers is billing-related, that makes me suspect the problem isn't really a technical one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:05 PM on June 22, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah 011-44-700-xxx-xxxx definitely doesn't work for me. I found a web page explaining that this ought to work, but it doesn't. I'm trying from an AT&T land line and an AT&T mobile phone. Maybe I'll try from work tomorrow.
posted by w0mbat at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2008

0700 numbers are not mobile (or cellphone!) numbers. As mentioned above, they're more like 1-900 numbers - designed to make a profit for the company that runs them. I think that they're all run by Patientline, who have a website here that says you should be able to call from abroad. So it sounds like it's your US providers who aren't letting you call.

There's an old discussion on that might be useful. You might be able to find a UK calling card, but the suggestion of redirecting a UK landline number is most likely to work.

You could also try calling the hospital directly and asking if they have any alternative. And complain about it if they don't!
posted by OldMansHands at 1:23 AM on June 23, 2008

If all else fails, you can set up an account with a voip provider that's connected to sip broker or has their own calling card type dial-in number.

The two I use charge 50c a minute and 38c a minute to 0700 destinations.
posted by wierdo at 1:36 AM on June 23, 2008

I live in the US, and all my family is in the UK still. I have never been able to get through to the hospital phones either :( I'm not aware of any solution, but skype might work.
posted by Joh at 5:57 AM on June 23, 2008

Skype may or may not work, if not try looking up the hospital or patientline on Say No to 0870 which gives geographical numbers for these sort of thing. If not try looking up the hospital reception on and try giving them a call to explain your situation, they might help!
posted by MrC at 6:43 AM on June 23, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies encouraging me to keep trying. It turns out that I can call a UK 0700 number from my AT&T Mobile cellphone now, just not from my AT&T/SBC land line.
Both those AT&Ts are other companies that separately adopted the AT&T name for marketing reasons, so aren't really related at all, which is why they have totally different call routing policies in place.
posted by w0mbat at 8:28 PM on June 23, 2008

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