Companies with multiple sites around the country will be able to consolidate their telephone codes using the 05 prefix, under an Oftel proposal announced today.
The scheme is aimed at businesses that operate extensive multiple site private networks, or subscribe to a carrier?s virtual private network service. Such companies, for example, could use the code 05678 for all their offices around the country.
The option is also available to firms with few lines. They can use the 0509 and 0599 codes. Oftel said it expects the scheme to be available by 1999.
The 05 numbers will also be portable even if their users switch carriers. Oftel promises tariffs will cost no more than the national rate. ?In most cases it should cost less than this,? said Don Cruickshank, Oftel?s director general.
He added: ?This would be a voluntary arrangement. We have freed up the 05 range for businesses, but it will be entirely up to each company or public body to take up the opportunity if they want.?
Business users welcomed the initiative. A statement issued by the Telecommunications Managers Association said: ?While tariffing, and particularly confusion for the caller, will need to be addressed, there is ample scope for full consultation and a reflection of all views. A long term and balanced plan will enable users to make use of developing technology and systems, without being restricted by anti-competitive restraints.?
Oftel has called for responses to the proposals by October.
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