Area code 700

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North American area code 700 of the North American Numbering Plan was introduced in 1983 to allow for presubscribing phone numbers to particular interexchange carriers.[1] Numbers in this area code are exclusive to the specific carrier, so that in the case of the (wholly fictional) phone number 700-123-4567, where that number terminates could be one customer for AT&T, and an entirely different customer for each of MCI, Sprint, etc.

Almost all of the early "700" offerings have faded into history, due to a combination of confusion, blocking of calls to them by many businesses worried about high-charge phone calls, and many alternative services.

One number provided by all carriers in area code 700 is 700-555-4141, which plays a recording identifying the carrier handling long distance and international calls. While this will not work with most cellular and VOIP systems (where the long distance carrier is part of the primary service) this identification may help traditional land line consumers who have been fraudulently slammed into a new carrier.[2]

Area code 700 was assigned in 1983 on the eve of the introduction of long distance competition in the US. The intent was that interexchange carriers could use 700 numbers to implement new services quickly. When a 700 number is dialed, the local exchange carrier processing the call routes it to the presubscribed interexchange carrier, unless the caller has overridden presubscription by dialing 101XXXX before the number. Thus each interexchange carrier has access to all 7.92 million 700 numbers. 700 numbers are different from all other North American Numbering Plan numbers because the destinations are not unique, and, in fact, depend on the network the caller has selected.

In 1992 AT&T introduced a 700 number service branded as AT&T EasyReach 700. It allowed subscribers to forward calls to their 700 number to any domestic phone number. It allowed either the caller or the subscriber to pay for the incoming calls.[3] If the caller was calling from a phone not pre-subscribed to AT&T as its IXC, the caller was required to dial 10-ATT prior to dialing the 700 number. This service has since been discontinued.

Carriers such as Vonage have made use of the carrier-specific nature of area code 700 to offer telephony-based services to their subscribers, dialable via ordinary telephones. One example is (700) WEATHER (700-932-8437).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tools - FAQs". NANPA. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ "When Your Preferred Telephone Company Is Switched Without Your Permission - "Slamming"". Federal Communications Commission. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  3. ^ Monday, May. 11, 1992 (1992-05-11). "The 700 Club - TIME". TIME. Retrieved 2009-09-04.