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London Cracks Down on Old Phone Codes

October 08, 2000

Now they really mean it: Starting Saturday, British officials warn, you'll no longer be able to use the old city codes for London phone numbers. Officially, the new codes went into effect in April, but in fact, the phone system has continued to accept both old and new codes since then. That practice is to end Saturday.

Under the old system, callers in the U.S. dialed 171 or 181 for London numbers (preceded, of course, by 011-44). Under the new system, the city code is 20, followed by an eight-digit local number beginning with either a 7 or 8, depending on whether the old code contained a 7 or 8. For example, (171) 555-5555 becomes (20) 7555-5555. (If you're dialing from Europe, you must add a 0 in front of the 20.)

The change allows Britain to add more digits and hence more phone numbers. For more information, visit the Internet site http://www.numberchange.org.

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