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LIME ordered to replace phone numbers starting with 700

Published:Sunday | June 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

If your cellular telephone number begins with 700, you could be called in and have it taken from you by LIME.

Armed with a directive from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), cellular-service provider LIME has started to recall and replace numbers beginning with any digits followed by two zeros.

This has particularly impacted cellular numbers starting with 700, as others such as those beginning with 800 and 900 were not widely distributed.

According to the OUR, prior to the Telecommunications Act 2000, which mandated the development and promulgation of a National Numbering Plan, the then Cable & Wireless Jamaica Limited (C&WJ) had full control of telephone numbers, both for fixed and mobile services.

"The Numbering Plan called for the proper allocation of numbers, including those designated for special services. Under the Plan, the 'N00' Central Office Codes (that is, the first three digits of the 7-digit telephone number and where N = digits 2 through 9) were allocated for special services.

"A directive was subsequently issued by the OUR to Cable and Wireless Jamaica to begin the process of migrating mobile customers to whom it had assigned numbers in the '700' block, to the proper blocks.

"Therefore, LIME customers who still have mobile numbers beginning with '700' will be assigned other numbers. LIME is now concluding that process," the OUR told The Sunday Gleaner.

In one of his final interviews before parting company with LIME last Friday, then corporate communications manager Elon Parkinson, confirmed that the number recall was underway.

"The OUR has, for several years, now been recalling some of the number ranges that were issued several years ago. We are particularly affected, but our numbers ranges have been affected, primarily those in the 700's. But the OUR is the final arbiter and they can say, 'we want back this number ranger'," said Parkinson.

"The OUR is the regulator and allows service providers to use specific numbers," added Parkinson.




He accepted that there would be resistance by LIME customers in some cases, because individuals had become attached to their numbers, which many have had for five to 10 years.

"Our policy has not been to spring this suddenly on our valued customers. For something like this, we would normally send a text and ask them to contact us. Invariably, there is no response. Another text, or electronic notification is usually the next step, but you will get a response when you say they are going to lose it," Parkinson explained.

Parkinson admitted that the process has caused disruption, and LIME has sought to make the transition easier.

"We usually try to retain the last four digits to make it easier for the customers ... and we even offer pre-credits so that customers can call to inform their contacts of the number change. But there is some level of resistance, and understandably so," said Parkinson.

- E.V.