Jamaica Observer:-KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) today announced that Jamaica now has another area code – 658 – in addition to the existing 876.
OUR says that the new code will necessitate the introduction of a mandatory ten-digit dialling, that is, using the three-digit area code plus the seven digit number, for all local calls.
The new area code takes effect on May 31, 2018.
“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,” OUR explained.
It added that under the Telecommunications Act, the OUR has full responsibility for the allocation, assignment (to service providers) and usage of telecommunication numbers in Jamaica.
Director General of the OUR Ansord E Hewitt emphasised that the new code will be used in addition to, and not as a replacement for, the existing 876 area code.
“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”.
He added that the introduction of ten-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.
OUR explained that there will be an adjustment period, known as the permissive dialling period.
“During this time, lasting at least five months, customers will reach numbers in the current area code by dialling ten digits or, if in error or unknowingly they dial seven digits. If only the seven digit telephone number is dialled, the caller will hear a recording reminding him/her to dial the number using the area code plus the seven-digit number; then the call will be completed to the called number.
After the permissive dialling period is ended, all local calls will require ten-digit dialling to be completed.