BANGKOK: The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) has announced that the telephone numbering system for the entire country will be changed. With the new system, which comes into effect on July 5, people making local calls will have to include the province’s area code in the telephone number. A person calling within Bangkok to, say 575 7310, will need to dial 02 575 7310. A person calling within Phuket to, say 251125, will need to dial 076 251125. Long distance numbers within the country will remain the same, however, so a caller from Phuket to Bangkok would dial as he or she does now, i.e., “02”, followed by the seven-digit number. Mobile-to-mobile phone calls will also change. Rather than just dialing the seven-digit number, callers will first have to press “01”, followed by the number. Overseas call codes will remain the same, and any two-to-four digit telephone assistance numbers, such as 17, 191 or 1150, will also remain unchanged. The TOT says the new dialing system is necessary because the numbers in the existing system will soon run out. The new system will support about 90 million telephone numbers in Thailand. The TOT claims that it has saved more than 500 million baht by switching to this simple new system, rather than investing in software designed to effect a major change in the way numbers are generated and assigned. In the future, the TOT also plans to introduce the code “09” before certain seven-digit mobile phone numbers, as the demand for new numbers will soon exceed the supply available. Therefore, (fictitious) mobile number 321 8807, for example, might exist in the market twice – once with the code “01” in front of it, and once with “09”. Once the new system is in place, callers who dial incorrectly will be greeted with a recorded message that will advise them how to dial properly. However, this message will be recorded in Thai only, the TOT advises. For more information, call the TOT in Bangkok at (02) 505 1000.
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