Changes to phone dialling in SA

3 January 2007

Since 16 October, all local and national calls from land-lines in South Africa have been using 10-digit numbers (seven-digit numbers preceded by area codes), while the dialling prefix for international calls made from South Africa has changed from 09 to 00.

To help customers familiarise themselves with these changes, state telecoms operator Telkom is running the old dialling systems parallel to the new dialling systems up to 16 January, when 10-digit dialling and the international prefix 00 become mandatory.

The change to the international dialling prefix means, for example, that a call from South Africa to the United Kingdom should be prefixed by 00 44 instead of the old 09 44.

However, there is no change to the dialling procedures for calls to South Africa from overseas.

The change from seven to 10-digit dialling means that when land-line to land-line calls are made within the same area (for example, Pretoria), callers should begin by dialling the area code (012, in the case of Pretoria) even though they are calling a number in the same area.

“It is identical to a fixed-line call being made from a cellular phone,” explained Lulu Letlape, spokesperson for state telecommunications company Telkom. Since cellular numbers already comprise 10 digits, calls from fixed lines to cellular phones do not require any dialling changes.

After 16 January, mis-dialled calls will be routed to announcements requesting that callers dial 10 digits when making local and national calls. This will continue until 16 March, after which mis-dialled calls will be routed to a “number unavailable” tone.

Letlape emphasised that no extra costs would be levied for using the 10-digit dialling system or in switching to 00 as the international dialling prefix.

“This national 10-digit dialling system is part of Icasa’s [the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa’s] numbering plan that, once implemented, will increase number capacity, especially in the metropolitan areas, and bring fixed-line dialling in line with the 10-digit standard used by mobile operators.”

Telkom says PAXB customers who have programmed their PAXB systems for international call barring will need to re-programme their systems to avoid users being able to make unauthorised international outgoing calls.

Customers should also check that any pre-programmed diallable local numbers, for example speed dial numbers, are stored in the full 10-digit format.

SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews

Using SAinfo material Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?
See: Using SAinfo material