KINGSTON – If you calling Jamaica from overseas from May 31, next year, you will have the option of dialling 876 or 658.
The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) Monday said that the island started using 876 as an area code in June in 1996 said the code will necessitate the introduction of a mandatory 10-digit dialling, that is, using the three-digit area code plus the seven digit number, for all local calls.
“It became necessary for Jamaica to get an additional Numbering Plan Area (NPA) code, commonly called an area code, as the OUR, which is responsible for Numbering Administration in Jamaica, moves to ensure that there are sufficient numbers available to satisfy growth in demand for these resources over the next 25 years,” the OUR said.
It said that under the Telecommunications Act, the OUR has full responsibility for the allocation, assignment (to service providers) and usage of telecommunication numbers in Jamaica.
“It will be used once the existing telephone numbers under the 876 area code are exhausted. However, the most immediate change will be the introduction of 10-digit dialling for local telephone calls, come May 31, 2018,” said the OUR Director General, Ansord E Hewitt, who noted that the new code will be used in addition to, and not as a replacement for, the existing 876 area code.
He said that the introduction of 10-digit dialling will not mean an increase in telephone charges, nor will anyone have to change their existing telephone numbers.
“However, we are encouraging persons, especially businesses and government agencies to start adding the current 876 area code on all their printed materials and signage. We are also encouraging users of alarm services and solutions with automatic diallers, and operators of PBX systems, to contact their respective service providers to ensure that their systems will be compatible with the new numbering and dialling arrangements,” Hewitt noted.
Jamaica began using the area code ‘876’ in 1996 with officials indicating then it would provide sufficient numbering capacity for the next 20 years of demand growth.
*In 2009, after just 13 years, the country had to consider the introduction of a new Area Code to augment the existing ‘876’ numbering space and, consequently, to move from the current standardised 7-digit to a mandatory 10-digit dialling for all local calls.
*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. (CMC)