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Phone Home

Just had to change my phone number from 508-245-1487 to 774-454-8493. Why? What happened to number portability? Well, here’s the dark side of number portability: your land phone company will tell you that the regulators have declared that they must treat calls to cell phones as if the cell phone were based physically where the “office code” (that’s the middle 3 digits of your phone number) is tariffed. For my cell phone that was Bridgewater, which is a long distance call from Plymouth; so all of a sudden it was costing me 10¢ a minute to call my cell from my home.

What to do? Well my land phone company (Verizon) suggests that I call my cell phone company (Verizon, no relation, believe it or not) and ask them for a new number that would be local to Plymouth. Turns out they are happy to oblige. I don't suppose this has anything to do with the fact that the 508 area code, despite being newer than 617 is still an old code and is popular and full. I don't suppose it has anything to do with the new number being in the new, unpopular overlay code 774.

Snooping around on the net I stumble across some information from Bellcore (you remember Bell Telephone, which was broken up by deregulation) which is the company that makes sense out of all the various phone companies by keeping the master list that tells what physical switch handles each phone number. These are the guys who presumably everyone will pay when number portability goes into effect. These guys are the Verisign of the phone system, except they have been in business much longer, and they quietly do their job, efficiently, and presumably for a nice fat fee, since everyone has to use their service.

What did I stumble upon? Just this amusing anecdote: Where do you suppose my new 774 number is routed to? You guessed it, the same physical switch in Bridgewater that my old phone number was assigned to, it’s just that my new number is tariffed as if it were physically in Plymouth.