Jamaica first in Caribbean to introduce 10-digit dialling


Jamaica first in Caribbean to introduce 10-digit dialling

Friday, April 27, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

COME May 31 Jamaica will be the first in the Caribbean to introduce 10-digit dialling and will also be the first in the region to introduce a second area code.

The introduction of 10-digit dialling in Jamaica forms part of plans to move the country from the current standardised 7-digit dialling as Jamaica's existing 876 area code becomes exhausted.

The new area code 658 will also be added.

“Some years ago the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) realised that Jamaica's numbering capacity was nearing exhaustion and we took the appropriate steps to address this risk.” said OUR Director General Ansord Hewitt during a media workshop in Kingston on Wednesday.

The OUR noted that as at December 2009, 6.25 million of the assumed capacity of 7.73 million numbers had been assigned to telecommunications service providers and their projected five-year demand for numbers indicated a need for 1.31 million new numbers over the next three years.

Using its numbering resource utilisation and forecast survey results, the regulator estimated that the expected period for the exhaustion of area code 876 would be the fourth quarter of 2012.

Hewitt explained that industry developments, including regulatory actions and major telecom business acquisitions eased the urgency to implement the changes.

However, he said several factors in the local and international telecommunications sector, including the demand for fixed-line dialling, outstripped what Jamaica's current 876 area code could supply.

Hewitt said the new 658 area code is expected to last for at least another decade.

At the same time, information communication technology consultant at the OUR, Curtis Robinson said that on May 31, when 10-digit dialling takes effect, the last seven digits of a telephone number will no longer identify a unique address as those digits will also be replicated under the new area code.

Robinson noted that during this period if a customer failed to dial out using the 10-digit number he/she would be reminded, via an automated prompt by their telephone provider to do so.

He further stated that the 658 area code will not be readily available for use at the start of the permissive period but estimated that it would become necessary by November 2019.

Meanwhile, telecommunication giants Digicel and FLOW both assured the media that there would be no additional charges with the implementation of the mandatory 10-digit dialling and the new area code.

However, regional head of communication at Digicel, Elon Parkinson, noted that companies who utilised PBX systems might have to pay nominal fees to reprogramme the system, depending on the coverage of its maintenance services contract.

The OUR stated that under the mandatory 10-digit dialling system businesses would need to re-programme/update equipment that stores and analyses telephone numbers, for example, PBXs, cellular phones, modems, speed call lists, alarm company automatic diallers, voice messaging systems and call detailing recording software.

Both providers urged business operators to revise printed materials or signage to reflect the mandatory 10-digit number.

During a panel discussion, corporate communication manager at FLOW, Ceila Morgan, said the company has put measures in place to assist customers with the area code transition.

She said the company has been using its platforms on social media, print, radio and online to broadcast the message.

Parkinson said Digicel was also using similar methods, including its '10 out of 10' public education campaign.

He recommended that customers used applications such as 'add country code' in the Google Play Store and Contact Optimiser Pro from the Apple app store to add the three-digit area code to numbers in their contact list by bulk.

— Deandra Morrison

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon