Personal Communications Services area codes
Area codes 500, 533, 544, 566 and 577 are non-geographic area codes reserved for personal communications services. The 500 code was authorized by the United States Federal Communications Commission, and introduced into the North American Numbering Plan in 1995.
In 1995 AT&T introduced a "follow-me" service under the brand name of AT&T True Connections using the 500 area code. It was designed to replace the AT&T EasyReach 700 service. Other local exchange carriers and interexchange carriers introduced similar competitive services.
AT&T True Connections service was not well received. Companies, hotels, and others with PBX equipment continued to block the dialing of 500 because it was a caller-paid number. Phone-sex services also began using the 500 prefix and forwarding the calls to various foreign countries.
The 500 prefix is still registered to a variety of phone companies, and is being used for non-geographic services including dial-up modem access.
In 1996, AT&T attempted to migrate users to its revised service called "Personal Reach" 800, built on a toll-free (receiver-paid) platform rather than the original (caller-paid) 500 program. AT&T also has a patent (59078110) on "personal reach service".
AT&T then licensed and transferred all personal reach services to MCE, Inc. MCE was supposedly the company providing the back-end system for all personal reach services to AT&T. No public information was released on the transfer away from AT&T. Subscribers were notified by mail that bills would begin to arrive from MCE instead of AT&T. It is also believed that MCE is a subsidiary of EMNS, Inc., a web hosting company in Chicago. MCE continues to supply personal reach service using the AT&T transport network.
Although AT&T no longer uses the 500 code, it was supplemented by 533 in 2009, followed by 544 in December 2010. The 566 code was activated in April 2012. In March 2014, the 577 code was activated as well. Other codes in reserve for this use: 522 (had been used for Mexico roaming), 588 (as with 522, "easily recognizable" codes as the second and third digits match), plus these "regular" 5xx codes: 521, 523, 524, 525, 526, 527, 528, 529 (other 52x codes for Mexico roaming), 532, 535, 538, 542, 543, 545, 546, 547, 549, 550, 552, 553, 554, 556, 558, 569, 578, and 589.
Vivint alarm and home control company uses the 544 area code to connect to users' control panels.
Discussions are currently underway to allocate the 6YY area codes other than the currently used area code 600 (with potential assignment of area codes 622, 633, 644, 655, 677 and 688) to PCS use in Canada, where no such rule currently exists.
- "LincMad Non-geographic Area Codes". Lincmad.com. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- Roman Olynyk (2006-12-14). "Dialup Telephone Numbers for non-Verizon customers". Wvnet.edu. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- "Toll-Free AT&T service lets callers reach travelers, business people anytime, anywhere". Findarticles.com. 1996-01-30. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- "AT&T Personal Reach Service". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- "Personal reach service with paging and optional point of entry via cellular network - Patent 5907811". Freepatentsonline.com. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- "Planning Letter 436: Assignment of NPA 566 for Personal Communications Services (PCS)". North American Numbering Plan Administration. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- "Planning Letter 466: Assignment of NPA 577 for Non-Geographic Services". North American Numbering Plan Administration. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
- "Planning Letter 372: Assignment of NPA 533 for Personal Communications Services (PCS)". North American Numbering Plan Administration. 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "Planning Letter 379: Assignment of NPA 533 for Personal Communications Services (PCS)". North American Numbering Plan Administration. 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "Personal Communications Service (NANP): Numbering Resources-5XX". Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies) assignment of Service Access Code 500
- FCC Order Permitting AT&T to discontinue 500 number service
- NANPA Numbering Resources - PCS 5YY-NXX Assignments