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Consumer Affairs
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Dialbolical

From 9th January 2007 Telkom introduced compulsory 10-digit dialling for South Africa. It had reasonable publicity and most users will have got used to this by now. From mid-March all misdialled calls will be routed to a ‘number unavailable’ message. In the meantime, users will be reminded of the changeover by asking callers to dial the area code before all numbers. So obviously this includes even if you want to phone your next door neighbour.

What might have been overlooked in all the excitement is the change to international dialling. The prefix has been altered from 09 to 00. You then dial the normal two-digit re-entry number for the country concerned: for example, the UK is 44, Japan 81 and Australia is 61. Remember also that you usually need to drop the 0 of the area code of the location in the country concerned. For example, to call someone in Australia first dial 0061 then the local number.
According to Icasa most countries are moving to the common 00 dial out (it is already the case in the UK for example) a reform voted for by the International Telecommunications Unions (ITU). Increasingly we’ll be able to replace the generic +27 on our letterheads for the South African access code to 0027.
Generally the same procedure holds for cellphones, although the call costs are astronomical, as high as R15 a minute!..... which is why many people are using their computers. Both Windows Live Messenger (the update off NetMeeting and MSN Messenger) and Skype now include Webcam. It costs nothing to chat to another person who is using their computer in the same way anywhere in the world. Skype has the advantage that you can call any global landline from your PC, to people who do not have a computer, and this costs a few cents a minute. It is not uncommon for over six million people to be using Skype globally at any one time! By Nigel Benetton
 

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.3 1st April, 2007
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