ICB Toll Free (800/888) News by: Judith Oppenheimer, Publisher, ICB Toll Free (800/888) News
Saturday March 01 1997 at 06:29:00 PM EST


While carriers squabble over Global 800 vanity numbers like 800-INTERNET, non-carrier marketers are suddenly denied equal access to the Global 800 Database.

New York, New York US - NEW YORK, NY March 1, 1997 (ICB TOLL FREE NEWS) On Wednesday, February 26, 1997, The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) suddenly and without warning, decided to restrict public access to the UIFN (Global 800 Number) database at its internet site (http://www.itu.ch/uifn/).

This took down USA Global Links. precedent-setting free public service access as well (see . Is Your Global 800 Number Still Available?. , http://www.clickit.com/cgi-bin/rbox/nwstory.pl?terms=97nw415195652).

In two separate communications, the ITU registrar explained that "businesses were prematurely advertising their numbers," and "public access was restricted to avoid "abuse."

We have seen no evidence of premature advertising, or "abuse". Certainly not among non-carrier applicants.

(According to the Wall Street Journal, February 26, 1997, Zoltan J. Tar, ITU administrator in charge of global 800 numbers, said that out of 17,000 Global 800 numbers applied for prior to February 1, 1997, 2,000 are already in dispute. The disputes involve several phone companies bidding for the same Global 800 number, such as the number spelling out 800-INTERNET.)

It's too bad - for a brief enlightened moment, non-carrier marketers, from 800 "SMALL BIZ" to 800 FLOWERS, had equal access to the same information the carriers like 800 COLLECT and 800 COMPARE did. They could compete, save money, plan intelligently, and avoid adding to the 2,000 plus carrier conflicts already burdening the ITU.

Perhaps the ITU can be encouraged to see the light, and reopen the database to the public.

As carriers appear to be competing with non-carrier marketers for the best Global 800 vanities, it would seem only fair.

Author/Correspondent's Profile: Judith Oppenheimer, Publisher, ICB Toll Free (800/888) News

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