TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Odd Dialing Code

Odd Dialing Code
Wed, 19 Jul 2006 14:35:50 EDT

Where I live, it is possible to setup a call to virtually any
destination number using the format:

[+] 1 - 611 - [NPA] - [NXX] - [XXXX]

and after a few unsuccessful attempts (diverted to intercept recording
that references "0 7 7 P" at the end) ... calls will ring through.

These calls do not get billed, when using prepaid phone and activated
SIM. If there are minutes on the balance, none are deducted; even
with balance of $0.00 (!!!), calls are completed when dialing with the
sequence. for the life of me, i cannot figure out WHY this works --
though I have some theories.

* anyone help me out with this ? *

Doesn't even make sense to me following the numbering plan information
I am familiar with. Is it an international call ? Choke prefix
(contest code) ? Priority access code (emergency preparedness type of
thing) ?

It has been used for years, locally; some people, whose opinions I don't
respect, have mentioned it in a network routing sense and associate it
with satellites !

I think it's an error somewhere in the mobile switching center, but
seems like it would have been corrected by now; considering ... it
delivers unlimited calling for no cost to probably a lot more people
than just me.

(Having already posted this question to howardforums and other such
places, feedback from others has been limited to: "tried this over and
over, didn't work! this guy's pulling our leg!" so cautionary word:
don't waste your time trying if you're not in or around Portland,

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And if you are around Portland, Oregon
note what he said early on -- 'after a few unsuccessful attempts,
calls will ring through ...' meaning the first few times, you may
fail to connect. This sounds like a case where, if the timing is
not _just perfect_ -- meaning some of your dialing signals reach
a switch somewhere where they are expected exactly on time, or
within a couple milliseconds of when they will be dealt with, the
other switch accepts what it did recieve and acts on it instead
(meaning you wind up getting a 'wrong number' [or no number at all]
since you get told 'call cannot be completed as dialed' or words to
that effect.)

I am reminded of the old 9928/9929 scam which worked in much the
same way in Chicago years ago, for a few years. If you called
312-(any exchange)-9928 it would answer by extending dialtone from
9929 and then the device attached to 9928 would quickly pulse out
'611' and release itself from the line. Your object was to cause
your fingers to be quick enough to (upon hearing the dial tone
extended by 9929) seize that dial tone and dial whatever you wanted
in the three or so second interval before 9928 woke up and pulsed
out '611' on you. If you got your seven or ten/eleven digits in there
first, then the network began acting on your request and when 9928
woke up and tried to say '611' to the dialtone outbound on 9929
it was ignored. In other words, whoever got the dialtone first
controlled the dialtone; if you both hit it at the very same
instant, then the outbound got confused and usually wound up
either producing a 'cannot be completed as dialed' or maybe a wrong

We knew which of the 9928s had the slower and 'more liberal'
dialers on them and which of the 9928s were almost impossible to
work with, meaning they responded so quickly with their rendition
of 611 that they _always_ controlled the dialtone and all we
could get was a 'cannot be completed' message if we did get a few
digits into the audio stream in the process. A couple of the 9928s
were very liberal; they would give you all of five seconds or so
before they woke up and took over. For some of them, no matter how
fast your reactions and your fingers, you just could not within the
one or two seconds allowed between hearing outbound dialtone and
the waking up of the device on 9928 manage to dial anything. I will
not bore you with what it was used for; at one point in telco's
past glorious history there was a reason that two sequential numbers
in the 9900 series (almost always reserved exclusively for telco
internal use) responded that way. As a hint, '611' used to be a three
digit code used by subscribers to reach repair service. On cellular
phones, either 611, *611, or 1-611 are usually used to reach voice
mail at the cellular company customer service. You know, you dial
'611' and a recording thanks you for calling Verizon customer service
and press one to speak English, or press two for Pig-Latin, etc.

Now with cellular phones, there is no audible dial tone, and with
voice mail systems -- such as cellco's own customer service, it
usually is possible to 'break out' of voice mail, or do an 'operator-
escape' to get you somewhere. You said this happens with a cell phone.
What happens if you only give the phone '1-611' and nothing more? Do
you wind up with the cellco's opening voicemail message? What happens
if _some_ voicemail thing starts but you instantly break into whatever
message it is and continue with dialing NPA, etc? I say 'instantly'
and I mean _as soon as you hear the first syllable of the first
word_. Does the voicemail recitation instantly stop at that point and
maybe either ask something else of you, or say nothing and just sit
there silently? If this happens, that 1-611 _only_ gets you to a
voicemail (probably cellco) and tapping another key _at that point_
serves as an 'operator escape' from voicemail then the answer to your
question is that you have inadvertently hacked cellco's voicemail to
get an outside line and the reason it takes no minutes off of your
account is because cellco does not charge 'itself' for outgoing

If you have a caller-ID box there, try your experiment again with
1-611-NPA-the number of your own landline with caller-ID on it and
if/when the system (it sounds like it is rather sensitive) completes
the call and rings your own landline phone back at you, note from the
caller-ID 'who is calling'; I'll bet you anything it is NOT the number
of your cell phone but a number from cellco's switchboard or whatever
they use for incoming calls post-voicemail greeting. The reason it
sometimes fails to complete as desired is because the timing of your
cell phone, the cell tower, and wherever 611 or 1-611 terminates is
not exactly as precise as it should be.

It is _not_ an 'error in the mobile routing center' as you put it;
it is instead a situation where some devious beady-eyed phone phreak
at some point or another in the past discovered a way to break out of
cellco's voicemail and make phree phone calls. And he discovered, or
already knew that by dumping the entire string in at once at the
beginning 1-611-NPA-etcetera it would shut off the audio path back to
him until the dialing had completed and the call started to set up
at some point. See if this helps you any. PAT]

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