TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Mexico (Dial 1)

Re: Mexico (Dial 1)

Bob Goudreau (
Tue, 7 Mar 2006 23:07:19 -0500

[Please anonymize me as always. Thanks.]

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: One thing they _could_ do now to
> alleviate any need for number (length) expansion forever would be to
> eliminate '1' as a country code and put this side of the globe on a
> somewhat more equal footing with everyone else by assigning (as an
> example) '14' to USA, '15' to Canada, '16' to Pacific Islands (fomerly
> in '1'), etc. Then everyone's (no longer needed because out of the new
> country code) area codes could be reassigned forever. Obviously they
> would never run out. That would at least even the score a little where
> the America-centric numbering system was concerned, IMO. Oh, I know
> there would have to be major reprogramming of some switches along the
> way, but what the hell, AT&T was always foisting off that
> reprogramming on the other countries for years and years was it not? PAT]

Pat, I'm afraid that the numbers simply don't work for your idea.

The NANPA website reports 328 area codes (and special access codes) are
currently assigned. They break down as follows:

24 For Canada (23 geographic, 1 SAC [NPA 600])
18 For other NANP nations (in Caribbean and Atlantic)
8 Multinational SACs (NPAs 900, 700, 800, etc.)
278 For USA

The 278 USA NPAs can be further broken down as:

1 US-only SAC (NPA 710)
2 For US territories in Caribbean (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands)
3 For US territories in Pacific (Guam, American Samoa, N. Marianas)
272 For geographic NPAs in the 50 states and District of Columbia

So, to address the specifics of your suggestion:

1) What would be the point of a separate country code for the Pacific
islands currently in +1? Those three territories have only a handful of
people and their departure from the USA's putative new country code would
free up a whopping total of *three* NPAs. Even if you also exiled Hawaii to
this new Pacific country code, that would only bring the total up to 4
reclaimed codes. Besides, the entire point of those territories joining the
NANP over the past decade was to better integrate them into US calling plans
and economy. For instance, my VoIP service provides me unlimited free
calling to the *entire* USA, including *all* its territories (now that
American Samoa has joined the NANP), not to mention all of Canada.

2) Even splitting Canada and the other NANP nations out into separate
country codes would provide very little NPA relief. The US would still
need the 8 SACs, so we would require a total of 286 NPAs to serve just the
US, compared to the current 328 NPAs that serve the entire NANP. I.e.,
you'd still need 88 percent of the area codes that currently exist. This is
hardly surprising, since the US accounts for close to 88 percent of the
NANP's population. The NANP is so "US-centric" simply because the area it
serves happens to be US-centric when you count people and phone lines. It's
not all that different from the other single-digit country code (+7); most
of the people and phone lines in +7 are located in Russia, with relatively
few in Kazakhstan.

3) What problem are you trying to solve, exactly? It's not the case that
the NANP is close to exhausting its area codes anyway -- NANPA projects an
exhaust date of 2035. Even that may be premature given the way that 1K
block pooling has dramatically slowed the consumption of NPAs in recent
years. I suppose that reclaiming those 12 percent of the NPAs that are not
used by the US would push the exhaust date out another few years, but if
you're going to posit a scenario in which the US alone is going to chew
through 300+ new area codes, adding another 42 reclaimed codes to the pot is
hardly going to "alleviate any need for number (length) expansion FOREVER".

Bob Goudreau
Cary, NC

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It would never, ever work out that the
USA gained that many more area codes (as you point out, maybe a dozen
or so) [unlesss you further split the USA into two 'county codes',
lets call them eastern-USA and western-USA, '13' and '14' perhaps,]
while all the 'others' gained such an abundance of codes they would
never, ever run out. What _would_ happen would you would have a
numbering scheme which 'looked more like' the rest of the world, with
each country having its own block of numbers. It would give the whole
thing a more consistent appearance. It would partially or mostly
remove the appearance of the USA-centric nature of the phone system. PAT]

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