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Personal Numbering

Personal numbering is the name for virtual telephone number services in a number of countries including the UK and Spain. Typically the national destination code used for this service is (0)70 service. This service has historically been poorly defined by Oftel, now known as Ofcom More recently Ofcom has made an in depth study into the service and is now proposing to keep the service and not migrate it to 060.[break]

The 070 service is based on the principle of a flexible virtual telephone number. Depending on the telecommunications service provider, these numbers are able to be remotely commanded, by WebSMS or IVR to route calls to most international destinations, including mobiles. They are similar to follow-me numbers, but are able to be controlled remotely and push calls to the desired destination. For example, the UK number +44 70-05850-070 is routed to an Inmarsat number, so that the subscriber can be reached anywhere on Earth just as if he were still in the United Kingdom. For the telephone numbering plan context of 070 numbers see Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom.[break]

In 1991 AT&T ran a trial which led, in 1992, to the AT&T EasyReach 700 service of follow-me numbers, on area code 700 in the USA Numbering plan.[break]

[break]Early Days

After protracted lobbying of Oftel throughout 1992, Stanford White (of Numbering Viewed Worldwide Ltd) and Will Goodall (of Goodall Personal Numbering Ltd, renamed FleXtel in 1994) were each licensed by the DTI (now BERR) in mid-1993, under section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, to provide telecommunications services.[break]

The UK’s first commercial Personal Numbering service was launched by FleXtel in December 1993, by piggy-backing onto the Mercury One2One GSM network on the old One2One 09567 range.[break]

[break]070 Introduction

In 1995 the UK telecoms regulator, Oftel (now Ofcom), reserved the whole of the 070 range exclusively for Personal Numbering, imitating the USA Area code 700 and ensuring adequate number availability for the future. This regulatory intervention was supported by FleXtel, despite having to migrate its existing customers from the old 079567 to 07010. However, these codes were permitted to operate in parallel for over two years.[break]

[break]070 Early Competition

FleXtel was the first to launch, closely followed by the Personal Number Company (now PNC Telecom ), initially run using Vodafone‘s GSM network. BT then entered the market with Flexinumber, followed by Redstone’s Callsure service. The Personal Number Company later acquired BT’s Flexinumber customer base and BT withdrew from the Personal Numbering Market.[break]


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