New York, NY US - New York, NY 9/11/97 (ICB TOLL FREE NEWS) Toll free vanity numbers are being introduced in Germany as of January 1, 1998, and according to one German ad agency exec, "We now register 'tons of names', just to be first in line."
Banking on the popularity of 800 vanity numbers in the U.S., German marketers are flocking to convert their existing 130 toll-free numbers into 800 vanities, according to Michael Bartel, Marketing Manager at Deutsche Telekom.
The 800 numbers will be assigned either in numeric or alpha form, per request of the customer. Although no public information has been made available, Bartel told ICB that German companies with existing 130 numbers have until September 15th to qualify for priority embedding - grandfathering - of their 130 numbers into the new 800 scheme. After September 15, it's first come, first serve, with the ministry settling disputes by lottery.
New 130 numbers will only be available through the end of 1997. Existing 130 numbers can be used in parallel service with the new 800 numbers through 2001,
after which three year period, the 130 numbers will no longer function.
Author/Correspondent's Profile: Judith Oppenheimer, Publisher, ICB Toll Free (800/888) News