TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: NANP Things (US Toll Free from Toronto)

NANP Things (US Toll Free from Toronto)

Anthony Bellanga (
Thu, 26 Jan 2006 18:05:54 -0700

PLEASE DELETE my email address where-ever it might appear in the headers!

obsidian@vlaanderen.terra.sol wrote:

> I live in Europe (to be precise Belgium).
> Since the NANP consists of some 20 countries (USA, Can, Carib) is
> there a way of "knowing" from the +1 800 (888, ...) number to which
> actual country it is destined for?

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: There is no easy way. For many years
> all those other countries shared area code 809, but I think 809 went
> exclusively to Puerto Rico (which is part of the USA [with the phone
> priviledges given to USA subscribers]) and the other countries were
> assigned elsewhere.

Puerto Rico split off from 809 into 787 back in 1996. The U.S.Virgin
Islands split off from 809 into 340 back in 1997.

All of the other non-US Caribbean islands which are part of the NANP
(mostly "British"), including the Bahamas and Bermuda in the Atlantic,
changed from 809 into their own unique area codes between 1995 and

It was the Dominican Republic which retained area code 809.

Puerto Rico (787) was overlaid with 939 in 2001. The Dominican
Republic (the sole country retaining 809) was overlaid with 829 last
year (2005).

Puerto Rico and the U.S.Virgin Islands have domestic-rated calling
with the rest of the United States on most (though not necessarily
all) US Long Distance carriers.

> A couple of islands in the Pacific Ocean which were originally
> international points (telephonically speaking) have since been moved
> into NANPA.

NANPA (North American Numbering Plan *ADMINISTRATION*) is not a
geographic location but rather the generic name of the organization
that administers numbering within the geographic location known as the
NANP (North American Numbering *Plan*), this geographic area aka
Country Code +1, or World Zone '1'.

AT&T had the functions of the NANPA through 1983.

NANPA functions were moved into Bell Communications Research
(Bellcore), the entity "carved out of" the old Bell System to handle
centralized, single-point-of-contact functions, with divestiture in

Effective in 1998, Lockheed-Martin took over NANPA functions, to make
it appear more "neutral", Bellcore being owned by the seven Regional
Bell holding corporations, in an era of increasing competition on the
local side (although Bellcore was sold by its regional Bell holding
corporate owners to SAIC, Scientific Applications International Co,
effective 1999, which renamed what had been Bellcore now as

In 2000, Lockheed-Martin transferred the NANPA functions over to a new
entity called Neustar, because of conflicts-of-interest regarding LM,
who was getting involved into some "fringe" telecom operations.

As for the Pacific Islands, in addition to the two US states in the
Pacific Ocean area (Alaska 907, Hawaii 808), three US territories in
the Pacific Ocean area have since become incorporated into the NANP.
The numeric digits of their ITU Country Code were retained as the
numeric digits of their NANP Area Code, now under Country Code +1.

Guam +671- changed to +1-671-, along with the Northern Mariana Islands
(Saipan, Tinian, Rota) +670- changed to +1-670- in 1997/98.

American Samoa +684 changed to +1-684- in 2004/05.

> In my opinion, NANPA is a very screwed up mess with various places
> that should NOT be in it attached, using the USA 'area code' type
> numbers and the '1' country code. No where else in the world other
> than Russia ('7') and the USA (and its collection of immediate
> neighbors sharing '1')gets to do that. Europe is a big collection of
> '4's, etc. I would prefer to see '1' broken up also, with for example
> eastern-USA as '11', western-USA as '12', Canada as '13', Carribean
> countries as '14' in each case followed by thier area codes or other
> breakdowns.

+7 Russia is only shared (still) by Kazakstan. All of the other former
Soviet republics have broken off into their own ITU Country Codes. The
US is a single country that will not be broken up into separate
"country" codes. Canada maintains close relations with the US, and
will more than likely retain the use of Country Code +1 with the US.
The non-US Caribbean Countries in the NANP might be the only possible
"candidates" to get their own ITU Country Codes, but they couldn't
begin as '1X', due to the way the numbering and dialing is structured
in the US/Canada part of the NANP. But it would be a significant
international situation, both politically and telephonically, to
"force" the (non-US) Caribbean islands into their own ITU Country
Codes outside of Country Code +1 (NANP).

Also note that there are some Caribbean locations which already have
their own country codes, such as Cuba (+53), Haiti (+509), the French
and Dutch islands (+590, +596, +599, Aruba +297), and the French
islands of St.Pierre & Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada)
have their own ITU Country Code +508.

> Such a system would also allow each of these 'countries' to reclaim
> the area codes used by the other 'countries', assuring most likely we
> would never again at least in our lifetimes ever run out of area codes,
> etc, and make it a lot easier to do what you are talking about. PAT]

At present, we are NOT running out of area codes. What had happened in
the later 1990s in the NANP/US and *elsewhere* around the world, i.e.,
area code splits, expansions of local/national numbers, total
re-numbering of domestic numbering plans, etc., turned out to only be
a temporary trend. Not that there are never going to be new area codes
in the NANP, or other codes introduced in other countries' numbering
plans, but what happened in the later 1990s has either stopped
altogather for the present time, or has slowed down tremendously.

At one point in the later 1990s, it was thought that the NANP would
run out of area codes as early as 2007 if codes continued to be
assigned at the rate they were. But since then, the projections of
exhaust of the NANP are for the 2030-50 time-period, which is what the
projections were when done in the early 1990s. This is at the end of
the lifetime for most of us, or well past most of our lifetimes.

It also appears that over time, there will be less geography, possibly
little to no geograpic association, to telephone or telecom numbering.
Just look at cellphones and VoIP, virtual fax numbers, etc. People are
"migrating" numbers all over with VoIP, and they are constantly
"roaming" with cellular.

In closing, to reiterate:

809 was retained exclusively by the Dominican Republic after
everything else in the NANP Caribbean broke into thNeir own unique area
codes between 1995 and 1999. This includes Puerto Rico which broke off
into 787 back in 1996. And both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic
have subsequently been overlaid as well.

NANPA is an administrative body, the North American Numbering Plan
*Administration*. The North American telephonic geographic area is
known as the NANP, North American Numbering *Plan*.

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian, Rota) were
incorporated into the NANP in 1997/98; American Samoa was incorporated
into the NANP in 2004/05. In all cases, the numerics of their ITU
Country Code were used as the numerics of their NANP Area Code within
Country Code +1.

At present, we are NOT in danger of running out of area codes or other
numbers resources anytime soon, whether in the NANP or elsewhere in
the world. The big "numbering crisis" of the later 1990s was only a
temporary trend, and if really investigated or managed properly, was
mostly unnecessary. And it might happen over time that telephone
numbering will become less geographic based altogather.

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