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Abbreviated dialing is the use of a very short telephone number to reach public services. Typically these are two or three digits, and are most commonly known as being emergency telephone numbers like 9-9-9, 1-1-2 and 9-1-1. Other services may also be available this way, such as the N11 codes in the NANP. Their purpose is to be universal, short, and easy to remember. For text messaging, the technical equivalent is a short code, however these are rented by their private users rather than being universal and for public services.
Vertical service codes may also be considered as abbreviated dialing, though these prefix the special touch-tone characters * and # (or often 11 for pulse dialing) instead of using only numerals. Most are used to access calling features rather than a called party, and some are specific to each telephone company. Some are used only locally or regionally, such as the former *DOT (*368) to reach the Georgia DOT in Atlanta, or other codes as short as one numeral (like *1) used to report breaking news or traffic to the newsrooms of local news radio or TV stations.
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