Why a '9' is appearing in front of some landline numbers -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Why a ‘9’ is appearing in front of some landline numbers

By Azeem Samar

Karachi: Under the direction of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) has started the process of moving towards eight-digit landline numbers on its network in Karachi and Lahore from the present system of seven-digit numbers. To expand the capacity of the NTC network, ‘9’ is being added at the begining of the existing seven-digit landline numbers of the NTC in Karachi and Lahore.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), which was also supposed to begin the process from May 1 by adding ‘3’ to its seven-digit numbers in Karachi and Lahore, has however yet to do so. This move is now slated to begin from July 1.

The NTC is responsible for providing and running telecommunication services for offices and installations of the federal and provincial governments, public sector and autonomous organisations, and military establishments. Under its network for the Southern Region, the NTC is running around 26,000 telephone lines in Karachi.

The NTC Islamabad-based Chief Operating Officer, Khalid Javed, told The News that, under the directives of the PTA, the NTC had started implementing its migration plan from seven-digit to eight-digit numbers in Karachi and Lahore from May 1.

For the last few weeks, every time a call is received from an NTC landline number based in Karachi and Lahore, the caller’s line identification system shows an addition of ‘9’ in the original NTC number after the city dialling code, which caused some confusion in the begining. For example, a Karachi-based NTC number previously shown as ‘0219261351’ on the CLI system appeared as ‘02199261351’.

The NTC official claimed that, from May 1 to August 1, calls could be made to both old seven-digit and new eight-digit NTC landline numbers of Lahore and Karachi.

To check this claim, several calls made from a PTCL landline to NTC phone numbers in Karachi with the addition of ‘9’, but to no effect. Calls to the same destination using the old seven-digit landline numbers, however, worked perfectly well.

Javed said that, after August 1, the callers making calls to old seven-digit numbers of the NTC phones in Karachi and Lahore would be guided through a recording service to punch in the new eight-digit numbers with addition of ‘9’. After three months from August 1, this recorded message will also be terminated, said the NTC official.

He said that, under the PTA directives, after introduction in Lahore and Karachi, the eight-digit number system would be expanded to other cities too.

Meanwhile, PTCL Islamabad-based spokesman Ali Qadir Gillani told The News that PTCL would switch to the eight-digit system for its landline numbers in Karachi and Lahore from July 1. For the initial three months from July 1, calls could be made to both old seven-digit and new eight-digit numbers in the two cities.

He said that an awareness campaign for guiding the PTCL service and other telephone users about new eight-digit numbers would be launched after June 15.

Several other queries to the PTCL spokesman, such as whether there will be an addition of ‘3’ on Universal Access Numbers (UANs) of Lahore and Karachi as well and for what reasons could the PTCL not launch its eight-digit numbers for the two cities from June 1, which was its own announced deadline for the purpose, remained unanswered despite several attempts.

Source: The News