Why regular phone numbers start with "0" in South Africa

Jan

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Why you must dial 0 before most phone numbers in South Africa

South Africa uses a closed numbering system that makes it compulsory for all landline and mobile numbers to have a "0" as a prefix when dialled from within the country.

A MyBroadband reader recently asked why it was necessary to dial this seemingly unnecessary "0" when the only unique part of a number was the nine digits that followed it.
 
Why you must dial 0 before most phone numbers in South Africa

South Africa uses a closed numbering system that makes it compulsory for all landline and mobile numbers to have a "0" as a prefix when dialled from within the country.

A MyBroadband reader recently asked why it was necessary to dial this seemingly unnecessary "0" when the only unique part of a number was the nine digits that followed it.
Remember when you didn't have to dial the first 3 numbers and local landlines were just 7 numbers long.
 
Didn't smaller cities have 6 numbers and bigger cities 7?

Big cities all had 6 digits in the 1970s, but gradually changed to 7 digits as the numbers increased. In Cape Town the transition was sometime in the 1980s. When I grew up we had a 6 digit number, and it was a bit confusing when they inserted an extra digit. There were no automatic diallers, so you needed to memorise important numbers.
 
In George, they had 4 digit numbers when the British MU electromechanical telephone exchange was in use, precursor to the French E10 electronic exchanges, moved to 5 digit numbers starting with a 7 xxxx and now
its all Siemens DEx and DLU electronic exchanges with 7 digits now plus the ND dialling code ie 044
 
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Big cities all had 6 digits in the 1970s, but gradually changed to 7 digits as the numbers increased. In Cape Town the transition was sometime in the 1980s. When I grew up we had a 6 digit number, and it was a bit confusing when they inserted an extra digit. There were no automatic diallers, so you needed to memorise important numbers.
I remember the rotary dial phones, no dialing a number in a hurry lol. At boarding school I could tap dial the number on the tickey box. Was a bit hit and miss lol.
 
We grew up with a mix of four and five digit local numbers. You just had all your friends' numbers in your head. If I apply my mind I will still be able to recall a dozen or two.
 
In George, they had 4 digit numbers when the British MU electromechanical telephone exchange was in use, precursor to the French E10 electronic exchanges, moved to 5 digit numbers starting with a 7 xxxx and now
its all Siemens DEx and DLU electronic exchanges with 7 digits now plus the ND dialling code ie 044
In mosselbay in the 70s, our phone number was 4405. I think you had to use a code to get a George number.
 
Hah! I remember the local landlines were just 6 numbers long :)
I actually remember my number changing from 756103 to 7156103. Before that it was 477361, and after that it was 5924968. All CPT.

BTW, what does the part of my brain do that used to remember phone numbers?
 
Big cities all had 6 digits in the 1970s, but gradually changed to 7 digits as the numbers increased. In Cape Town the transition was sometime in the 1980s. When I grew up we had a 6 digit number, and it was a bit confusing when they inserted an extra digit. There were no automatic diallers, so you needed to memorise important numbers.

I seem to remember Kenilworth changing from 61-XXXX to 671-XXXX sometime in the mid nineties, around the same time the Helderberg changed from 024 and joined the rest of Cape Town on 021.
 
1834 Had to remeber that number since I was 4. we only had 4 digits and it fell away shortly before Cellphones.
 
Insightful. Also remember dialling local codes without area code.

Opposite to www.xxx.yyy which is all but forgotten nowadays.

Domain names on the other hand...
 
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