How accurate are the 118 numbers?

17th November 2009

I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all seen the adverts. The two mustachioed men in running gear, shouting ‘We’ve got your number’ at each other, providing a fancy dress idea for almost every occasion. How many times have you been out at night and spotted a pair of lads sporting the 118 costume? If anything, this advertising campaign has given men everywhere a brand new chat-up line. Builders in the street shouting ‘We’ve got your number!’ at a lady passer buy. Wrong, Mr. Builder, you WANT her number.

Just how accurate ARE these 118 telephone numbers? For those not familiar with the service, it offers a portable telephone directory, from wherever you are – like the Yellow Pages but much quicker and MUCH more portable. Take it from me, carrying a Yellow Pages around in your back pocket creates a lot of ripped jeans. All you do is call up, ask for the business or address you want and they’ll either text it to you (if you’re on a mobile), tell it to you or transfer you instantly.

In 2004, reports showed that the general accuracy of a caller receiving the correct information was around 89%, which led to a lot of frustrated people as the service does cost around £1.50 a go. However, by 2009, this accuracy has risen to a huge 95% – showing that the 118 people had worked on improving their service immensely.

It does lead me to think though. How much longer can the 118 service survive? In today’s day and age, more and more people are buying SmartPhones, like a BlackBerry or iPhone. With these phones offering the ability to do high-speed web-searches on your fingertips (and most mobile phone service providing offering internet at very cheap prices) it would probably be faster and cheaper to do it yourself.