Dear Mr. Townson,
Thanks very much for your insights into the 'odding dialing code'
(+1611NPANXXNXXX) and the historical analogues you provide. I see the
sense in your analysis, and have been attempting to confirm or dismiss
the theory that this dialing sequence is actually seizing cellco's
voicemail system for a dialtone. Unfortunately, the handset I have
been using doesn't allow for much flexibility or control over the
length of tones sent. I will seek others.
In any event, it is curious that this dialing sequence (when call is
completed) sends along Calling Line Identification to the party
called. I have never been told that a cellco number appears in place
of my own.
It is also curious that ONLY the sequence that includes the [+] symbol
will ever work, ultimately. Why wouldn't 611-NPA-NXX-NXXX work as
well; is it simply a matter of timing? As in, the addition of [+] is
enough to mistime the call ?
Another tidbit of information you might make use of to further the
investigation: there are some WATS numbers that will generate a
different error announcement. These appear to be of the type 'cannot
be reach from your region'. Most of my attempts that lead to such an
annoucement have been to the cellco itself (tech support and so on),
internal numbers. Does this make sense in the analysis that you
provided earlier ?
And -- one last question is -- why does this 'free calling'
sequence only work within the city limits ?
Any more information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
in advance for your help.
Have you tried either 611 or 1-611 or +611 _only_ -- with nothing
following from your cell phone to see if eventually it times out and
gets you to 'customer service' or some type of voicemail recording?
As to why it only works within city limits I would suggest is that
maybe only _one cell tower_ in the middle of the area somewhere has
this misprogrammed feature. As soon as you get outside the 'city
limits' perhaps your call is normally handled by a different
tower. Or is the city area you are in large enough that you know for a
fact you are landing on different towers?
Which cellular company is this if you do not mind saying? And, if you
routinely -- like most of us -- dial (some variation on) 611 to reach
cellco customer service, have you tried getting into that voicemail
thing they always put on the start and tried the usual 'breakout' or
'escape' routines to see what happens? Such as let it start talking
then immediatly punch # or * or + to see what it does?
'Cannot be reached from your region' means the toll free number you
are calling was structured as a Band 1 through Band 5 in the old days
(pre-divestiture, when WATS were structured in geographic 'bands' to
save money for their owners. If all your business needed was a
state-wide toll-free line, or surrounding states toll-free, then you
would purchase from telco (not cellco, but telco!) a 'Band 1 or Band 2'
type line. Then persons who were further away (let's say several
hundred miles and three or four states away) would not be able to call
you _on that particular WATS line_. Some WATS lines (either inbound or
outbound WATS) were the state you are in only; I think that was Band 8.
The exact structure of WATS geographic 'bands' is terribly boring, but
I think you may get the idea. In the olden days, dialing 800 plus the
next three digits, like a 'prefix' detirmined the _type_ of WATS
service you had. 800-631-xxxx for example was a Chicago, Illinois
'band six' or nationwide WATS line. In our archives
http://telecom-digest.org there is a section on the assigments given
for prefixes following the area code. I think there is a section in
there devoted to area code 800 locations, and their range of calls
allowed. Its a very old chart, may not be much good, but if you recall
any of the numbers you dialed where the response was 'cannot be
reached from your region' you may find some of them in there.
In case you did not know it, 800/888/877/866 numbers are usually just
aliased to existing seven digit numbers in a community. For example,
if you dial my 800 number it gets translated into my 620-331-xxxx
number here in Independence. The laugh was on me once (yes, I know,
some guys say the laugh is always on me!) when I kept getting wrong
number calls on our inbound 800 phone line at the office where I
worked. I had not yet learned about how they are translated, and the
phone rang over and over again with a lady saying she was trying to
reach 312-WELlington-5-something. I kept telling her she had the wrong
number, "lady, you are on our toll-free 800 line." She would mutter
to herself, hang up and redial; I would get her again. She kept insisting
she was dialing correctly. It turns out she was dialing correctly, but
there was no such number in service; it was our 800 line tied in there
instead. That would have been around 1963-64, when In-WATS was a sort
of new thing, having just replaced Enterprise and Zenith numbers. PAT]