Directory and number information

27 Nov 2021

With Wholesale Line Rental 3 (WLR3) we offer a free directory listing for each of your customers’ numbers. You can also buy extra entries and different types, which we call “special phone book entries” (SPBEs).

All directory listings include a name, address and phone number. Our directory products are managed and billed by BT. So you’ll see their name in that part of your Openreach WLR3 bill.

Every address in the UK can get a free printed BT Phone Book for its local area. If you want extra ones, you can order them directly from the BT directories team.


  • Special Phone Book entry (SPBE)

    These are entries that customers can buy in the home or business A–Z sections of the Phone Book to help people find them more easily. Listings include:

    • home Phone Book entries: customers can list the same number more than once in the Phone Book for their local area. There’s a charge for each extra listing
    • other Phone Book entries: customers can list their number in another Phone Book as well as their local book. There’s a charge for each extra listing
    • bold or super-bold entries: customers can upgrade a standard typeface listing to either bold or super-bold typeface to help people find their listing
    • national entries: list one number once in all 168 Phone Books at a discounted price. These are available in normal, bold and super bold
    • SPBE web: This lets customers add details like their web address, Facebook page, Twitter information or email. They can add two details for a monthly fee.

    If your customer already has an SPBE in the business A–Z section, they can add their details online for free. 

    SPBE documents 

    SPBE pricing

    Directory entries and phone books

  • When is a directory data query generated?

    Data queries help fix incorrect, missing or inadequate data on the industry directory database (OSIS DMS). This data is important because it’s used by companies to produce licensed directory products like the Phone Book, directory enquiry 118, etc. 

    If a directory company finds a problem, they raise a “directory data query” with us, which we then investigate.

    Why communications providers need to act on data queries

    You must act on data queries. This is to make sure we hold accurate customer data and pass it on to directory companies. 

    It also helps keep the directory database stable and accurate, which means customers can be confident in the directory products. And you can fix mistakes before they turn into customer complaints.

    Directory data query documents

  • The address information you give us is essential for the emergency services to find a caller’s location. So having the right address information actually saves lives. 

    Ofcom recognises this and is working with the industry to monitor address quality. General condition A3 of the General conditions of entitlement gives details of this: 

    “Regulated Providers shall, to the extent technically feasible, make accurate and reliable Caller Location Information available for all calls to the emergency call numbers ‘112’ and ‘999’, at no charge to the Emergency Organisations handling those calls, at the time the call is answered by those organisations."

    When you give us your customer’s name and address we pass it to BT’s 999 call-handling service. They then use it to route 999 and 112 calls, and pass the location to the Emergency Authority (EA). 

    From the emergency services’ point of view, and in rough descending order of importance, they need:

    1. a postcode – this routes the call to the EA serving the area it’s from, and the EA uses it to locate the caller
    2. a premises – the EA uses this with the postcode to find the caller
    3. a name for: 
    • the consumer i.e. the person most likely to make the call. This isn’t always the person who pays the bill. If the address or premises are wrong, neighbours can help emergency services find where the call is coming from if they know this name.
    • the business – this should be the “name above the shop door” (much easier to find in retail parks than “Unit 3”, for example).

    The end customer name in the emergency services database might be different from the directory listing. The details are separate entries on the input XML that you give us when you place an order.

    The separate end customer name is only used for the emergency services database, and to help the emergency services handle calls.

    It’s your responsibility to keep the address information accurate. There are differences between WLR3 and MPF:

    • for WLR3, we pass it to the emergency services database
    • for MPF, you pass it to the emergency services database.

Help and support

You can find information about using this site, advice on services and help with your account on our help and support pages.

Industry information

Are you interested in having a say in how the industry meets its customers’ needs? You can find out more about getting involved on our industry forum pages.

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