Phonecode upgrades : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday 27 January 2000 | 04:04 PM GMT

Telecoms ; Claire Woffenden [27 Jan 2000]

Phone code upgrade looms in Year 2000's wake

Companies that narrowly escaped the millennium bug could face further expense as they prepare their IT systems forchanges to the telephone codes. The new codes will come into force in April in London, Northern Ireland, Cardiff, Coventry, Southampton and Portsmouth.The changes are intended to meet the increased demand for telephone services.

Companies that rely on automated calling and faxing systems, or those which have extensive customer databases, aremost likely to need to update their records. Corporate databases hold about 10,000 records on average.

Software cleaning provider Number Master has launched a free diagnostic tool that will allow companies to analyse thecost of changing all their telephone and fax numbers in their databases.

Companies can download the tool free, but need to buy a licence to perform conversions on the database.

Jonathan Symons, Number Master managing director, believes that the code change is the next big problem after Year2000 (Y2K).

"IT companies are starting to wake up to the 'big number' issue now that the Y2K changeover has gone. Not many people have thought about this or taken it seriously. Many databases will need to be changed," he said.

Number Master claims that its software tool can save UK companies an estimated #1 billion. The company said it will also work for future code changes both nationally and internationally. Batch conversion prices start from #39.95, with unlimited conversions costing up to #7500.

Steve Thorpe, membership services manager at the Telecommunications User Association said: "The advertising by the Big Number programme does not seem to have penetrated smaller companies nor some of those that you may expect. Six months ago I was concerned that the message did not seem to be getting across but then Y2K was taking precedence. Businesses small or large do need to take this issue on board now"

But Michael Dixon, chairman of the Numbering Group at TMA, said that information for the code changes has been widely available. "I don't think it's a case of don't worry about it, but the information has been available since 1996. And while there will be work involved, most companies have planned ahead."

"The change should be quite simple for some, but for others, this is a good opportunity to update their systems," he added

-- Martin Thompson (, January 27, 2000

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