NEWS

New phone numbers (and you thought the euro was difficult)

The new year not only brings with it a new currency for us to get used to, but a new way of dialing telephone numbers. As of January 20, all calls will require dialing 10 digits instead of the present seven. Anyone using the old system after that date will hear a recorded message with instructions as to the new system for dialing. And that is only the first phase – more changes are in store as of October 1. All calls will require dialing 10 digits, by adding a 0 between the area code and the telephone number (see table). The same codes will be used, irrespective of whether the call is local or intercity, between two different provinces, or within the same area. Callers from abroad should add the country code of 0030 before the other numbers. There will be no changes to mobile telephone numbers, area codes, emergency numbers or the way calls are billed. As of October 1, the initial 0 will be replaced by a 2 in calls to fixed-line phones, and for mobile phones the initial 0 will be replaced by a 6. The initial 0 will also be dropped from the 0800, 0801 and 090 numbers. For numbers which now begin with 096, the initial 0 will change to an 8. The National Committee for Telecommunications and Post Offices decided these changes were mandatory in order to cope with the increasing demands on the telecommunications network. The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) is also planning to raise its standard rates. As of today, OTE’s standard two-month telephone subscription fee goes up by 25 percent, bringing the basic fee for a bimonthly telephone bill up from 5,600 drachmas to 7,000 drachmas. However, there will also be reductions – of 11 percent for local calls and 23 percent for intercity calls. Local calls drop from 10.5 drachmas to 8.9 drachmas per minute at all hours, as the reduced nightly rate (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) is now abolished. Intercity rates drop from 28 drachmas to 21.45 drachmas per minute.