Many still not dialing seven-digit telephone numbers - GT&T

Guyana Chronicle
April 22, 2001

THE Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has noted with concern that a significant number of its customers continues to dial the old pattern of telephone numbers even as the deadline for customer support service approaches.

The three-month assistance expires on April 30 and the Company said that although customers in Guyana have become reasonably familiar with the seven-digit system, some still, as a result of habit, dial the old digits.

GT&T introduced the seven-digit numbering plan on February 1, 2001, and had put in place the necessary support to help customers who have grown accustomed to using the old pattern of numbers.

At a press briefing Friday, Mr. Terrence Holder, Deputy General Manager, Public Communication and Employees Relations, said the company had made a series of announcements to guide customers and can now remove these without too great inconvenience.

He, however, said calls from overseas, for which the customer support service was also made available, continue to fall short of the change and this poses an even greater problem.

GT&T said its records reveal that a significant percentage of overseas callers still dial the old numbers and are connected only through the permissive dialing arrangement.

Under the system of `permissive' dialing, calls made to both the old and new numbers are allowed to be connected to the called parties in Guyana.

GT&T said that even as the calls were being terminated in Guyana, callers to the old number received an announcement which advised them of the change in dialing codes and indicated the number to be dialed in future.

However, the Company is concerned that some persons put down the handset at the sound of the operator's voice without waiting to be connected.

Calls to families and relatives, friends and business contacts in Guyana could be seriously affected if those calling from overseas are not familiar with the new system, the Company said.

In addition, the telephone company will lose revenue if overseas callers conclude that they are not `getting through' when they try calling using the five-digit numbering system.

GT&T is urging persons who receive these calls to remind the overseas calling parties of the dialing codes they must use.

Ms Patricia Briggs, Director of Customer Services explained that the recording, "your call cannot be completed as dialed, please check your number and dial again or call your operator for assistance..." when one dials a five-digit number, will not be heard next month.

She said the company's telephone directory will offer assistance to customers who may encounter problems and they can also call for the operator's assistance.

In terms of the international calls, Mr. Eustace Adams, Director, Business Planning, said the company's international correspondence would have been notified to programme the new numbering scheme, and the International Telecommunications Unit as well as the National Frequency Management Unit would have also been notified of the changes.

He is hoping that by the end of the month, the number of persons calling the old numbers would be minimised.