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Abbreviated dialing is the use of a very short digit sequence to reach specific telephone numbers, such as those of public services. The purpose of such numbers is to be universal, short, and easy to remember. Typically they are two or three digits.
Carriers refer to the shortened number sequences as abbreviated dialing codes (ADCs). Unlike SMS shortcodes, they are generally not automatically synchronized across carriers. ADCs are provisioned separately for mobile networks versus landline networks.
The most commonly known examples are emergency telephone numbers such as 9-9-9, 1-1-2 and 9-1-1. Other services may also be available through abbreviated dialing numbers, such as the other of the eight N11 codes of the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) besides 9-1-1. State highway departments in recent years have used abbreviated dialing codes to allow drivers to obtain information about road conditions or to reach the state highway patrol. Examples are *55 in Missouri and Oklahoma, or *FHP which connects to the Florida Highway Patrol.
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 *FHP (*347) to reach the Florida Highway Patrol); other codes as short as one numeral (like *1) are used to report breaking news or traffic to the newsrooms of local news radio or TV stations.
A mobile dial code (MDC) is a phone number, typically preceded by a * or #, that allows the request and receipt of information directly to a mobile phone. MDC's are also known in carrier terminology as "abbreviated dialing codes" (ADC's). Mobile dial codes are dialed just like a regular telephone number. The caller can be presented with any one of a variety of responses that an advertiser defines - a voice or IVR call, a text message, a video or audio clip, a mobile coupon, game or an application. #250 and **MOVE are two such MDC's.
- Crisis hotline
- Enhanced 9-1-1
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (United States)
- In case of emergency
- Next Generation 9-1-1
- Social services
- Speed dial
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- FCC fact sheet on 2-1-1
- 2-1-1 Information & Referral Search
- Wireless 9-1-1 Services Guide Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- How to Use 9-1-1 from KidsHealth
- Emergency Numbers Around the World from 911dispatch.com
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