01 MAY 2002
The changes to Malta telephone numbering system become effective today, with a satisfactorily large percentage of phone users aware of the development.
"A reassuring 92% of respondents have replied that they were aware of the numbering changes that came into effect last November", explained Joseph V Tabone, Chairman at the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) yesterday. "It was also interesting to note that out of this percentage, no less than 59% of respondents have admitted to either not using the new numbers at all or using them sporadically".
Earlier on this month, the MCA commissioned Prof Mario Vassallo to conduct an independent survey to gauge the effectiveness of the information campaign with regard to the telephone numbering changes.
It has now become mandatory to use the 21-prefix with all Maltacom six-digit numbers in order to complete a call. When calling a Vodafone subscriber, the first digit "0" must now be replaced with a '9'. Go Mobile numbers have remained the same.
Maltacoms Directory enquiries service number has changed from the existing number "190" to "1182." Vodafone and Go Mobile's directory enquiries numbers are now 1189 and 1187 respectively.
"The MCA is still not satisfied with the awareness levels of the changes of the Directory Enquiries Service" remarked Joseph Cuschieri, Chief of Operations and Project Manager of the New Numbering Plan "and to this end, we will be extending the duration of the campaign to address the issues that have emerged from this survey."
The random telephone survey, held between 17 and 24tApril. polled a total of 1,000 respondents.
The information campaign regarding the new numbering changes was spearheaded by the MCA and received the full co-operation and financial support of the three telephony operators, namely go mobile, Maltacom and Vodafone. In this regard, the MCA is appreciative of the singular support received from all the operators.
When asked to comment about the reported low usage, Joseph Cuschieri remarked, "I think that the discrepancy between awareness and usage levels that emerged from this survey mirrors an endemic attitude. After all, it is very much in our nature to put things off for as long as we can! I feel that the six-month parallel run has given subscribers a sufficient period of time to adjust to these changes and I am confident that the transition will be a smooth one."
The MCA has made available its Freephone number 0 800 77 3120 which is manned during office hours to field any queries the general public may have.