How to call directory enquires 118 for free

1 min Read Published: 20 Jan 2017

retro phone

UPDATE: While correct at the time of writing, sadly, the freephone directory service number 0800 118 3733 is no longer in service.

Two companies dominate the directory enquires market, namely The Number (118 118) and BT (118 500). Yet consumers often don't appreciate that

  • they can be charged an initial amount of up to 79p
  • then charged over £2 a minute to be put through to the desired number.
  • that there are over 400 companies providing directory enquiry services with different (and often cheaper) charges
  • that both The Number and BT have cheaper (less advertised) numbers which you can use
  • and it's even possible to call directory enquires for FREE

How to call directory enquires for free

The table at the bottom of this article gives a breakdown of the cost of calling a number of directory enquiry services. Amazingly you can use The Number for free if you call 0800 118 3733, as opposed to their widely advertised 118 118 number. The only difference is that you have to listen to a prerecorded advert.

If you are using a mobile phone then 0800 numbers are not usually free. However they are if you use this trick:

  1. Dial 0333 555 8800 (a company called
  2. Then dial 0800 118 3733 (The Number's free phone line)
  3. Press # to start the call

Alternatively if you have a smartphone you can use your phone's web browser and find the number yourself for free at


How to phone call-centres for free & avoid queuing (saving time & money)

Directory enquiry call costs

Operator Number Charge
The Number 118 118 £3.49 per call plus £3.49 per minute  (min. 60 second charge applies)
The Number 118 811 £1 per call flat fee
The Number 0800 118 3733* FREE
BT 118 500 £2.75 per call plus £2.75 per minute (min. 60 second charge applies)
BT 118 707 75p per call flat fee
GM Group 118 226 £1.50 per call

*you will have to listen to a recorded advertising message. Table based on research published by, based on calling from a BT landline. Calls from a mobile phone will cost more.