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London phone numbers are running out (again)
The telecommunications regulator OFCOM announced last week that the lack of available new numbers would cause “problems” for London and around 70 other STD code areas in the UK during the next decade.
One solution that has been suggested and is currently under discussion by OFCOM would mean that landline users would have to dial the full area code number when making a local call. Mobile phone users that dial a local landline have to dial numbers in this way. Let’s say you lived in Derby which has an STD area code of 01332 and your landline number is 123456. Under the new proposal your next door neighbour would have to dial 01332 123456 from their landline if they wanted to speak to you.
OFCOM have a tough choice to make over the coming years. They can force the British public to dial the full area code even if they are ringing next door or introduce another batch of unfamiliar and confusing dialling codes.
OFCOM may also consider introducing new dialling codes that begin with ”1” such as the 1471 ringback service that has operated successfully in the UK for many years.
“Any changes to existing phone numbers are likely to create many thousands of customer complaints. The fact that a precedent all ready exists whereby mobile phone users dial the full number to call a landline make this option a favourite.” Commented David Clarke, a director of DBS Telecoms based in Lincolnshire.
The news from OFCOM is unlikely to be received well in the London area where there has all ready been major disruption to businesses caused by recent area code changes. It’s only six years since the new 0203 code was introduced alongside the 0207 and 0208 codes that were all ready in place.
The introduction of the new 0203dialling code has raised the possible permutations of phone numbers by around ten million. However it seems highly probable that the same increase in permutations of new telephone numbers will be necessary in other areas of the UK if the demand is t be met satisfactorily.
OFCOM may even consider charging telecoms resellers for numbers that they get for free at the moment.
Numbers with that begin with the 01 and 02 prefix are currently supplied to around 300 telecoms resellers such as http://www.dbs-
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