Telephone numbers in the Dominican Republic

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Area code 809 redirects here. 809 once covered Bermuda and many islands in the Caribbean which have since been allocated their own codes; see Area codes in the Caribbean for more details.

Telephone numbers in the Dominican Republic use area code 809 with 829 and 849 as overlay codes. Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic use the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) country code, 1, followed by the area code in the same form as an internal area code in other NANP countries, such as the US and Canada.

When in the Dominican Republic, the 3-digit area code followed by the 7-digit phone number must be dialed. When calling the Dominican Republic from the United States or Canada, this must be prefixed by the digit "1". From other countries the international prefix used in the originating country must be dialled before the "1".

Area Code 809[edit]

Area code 809 was created on January 1, 1958. Initially, the 809 area-code was used for all of the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, Haiti, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and the French West Indies. During the mid-1990s,[when?] Area Code 809 was split and eventually just assigned to the Dominican Republic.[1] Following the departure of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from 809 in 1999, no other countries use the legacy 809 area code. Today, Area Code 809 and its overlay area codes, 829 and 849, are used solely for the Dominican Republic.

Area Codes 829 and 849[edit]

Area Code 829 was added to local telephony as an overlay code, initially optional in July 2005 and later mandatory in November 2005. The new telephony rules were almost wholly due to the explosive growth of cellular communication in the Dominican Republic, starting in the mid-1990s with telephone prepaid-cards, and growing incredibly through the early 2000s with the launch of two new cell-phone carriers,[who?] expanding the count to four nationwide.[who?] Also, the reason for this newly placed dual area code system is that it is estimated a standard 7-digit area code could hold around 7.8 million number combinations,[citation needed] and currently[when?] there are around 1.6 million land-based lines and 4.2 million cellular phones.[citation needed] Thus it was decided to attach another area-code to this country, because of the extensive growth and threat of number depletion.

In early 2009 a decision was made to add a second overlay code, Area Code 849. The triple area code system went into effect on February 15, 2010.[2]

Alleged 809 scam and One Ring Scam[edit]

It has been alleged that Telephone fraud scams once revolved around the 809 area code; it was being used since calling international numbers from the United States are charged at a higher rate than domestic calls, which may have seen a resurgence with wireless telephones.[3] Allegedly, the victim receives a message on their answering machine to call a number with an 809 area code. Since there were many new area codes being introduced in the US, the victim thinks nothing of it and dials the 809 number. The number dialed is however an international number with a share of the revenue going to the operator of the number. The victim is then put on hold indefinitely, and billed for each minute they are on hold. This is ostensibly legal because the number is charged at normal international rates, though it would indeed be a form of fraud.[4] However, the party that receives a call to a normal telephone number would not receive a portion of the cost of the call. That would only happen if it is a Premium-rate telephone number, which usually have distinctive prefixes, such as 900, and rarely work across countries. Hence the beneficiaries of the alleged scam would be the telephone companies involved. In the case of the Dominican Republic, for decades the only (and later the main) telephone operator was Verizon Communications, until it recently sold its interests to Claro República Dominicana, which is also a reputable company. Other major operators include France Telecom (Orange), and Tricom, neither of which seems good candidate to engage in such practice.

More recently, it has been alleged that a similar scam has emerged due to the prevalence of wireless phones which display callback numbers automatically, known as the "one ring scam". The person perpetuating the scam calls the victim via a robodialer or similar means, sometimes at odd hours of the night, then hangs up when the phone is answered with the hope that they will be curious enough to call the number back. When the victim does this, allegedly an automatic $19.95 international call fee is charged to their account, as well as $9.00/min thereafter. Similar alleged scams have been linked to Grenada (area code 473), Antigua (area code 268), Jamaica (area code 876) and the British Virgin Islands (area code 284).[5] However, as explained in the previous paragraph, the beneficiaries of the alleged scam would be the telephone companies involved, and it does not seem likely that they would participate.

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External links[edit]

Dominican Republic area codes: 809, 829, 849
North: 649
West: Country code +509 in Haiti Area code 809/829/849 East: 787/939
South: Caribbean Sea
Puerto Rico area codes: 787, 939
Turks and Caicos Islands area codes: 649