Twenty-three municipalities and provinces across Vietnam, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are slated for extensive changes to their telephone area codes starting Saturday.
The rollout will take a month to complete, during which the phone numbers in affected localities will be reachable using either the old or new area code, according to Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications.
The 23 provinces and municipalities subject to changes are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Gia Lai, Vinh Long, Binh Phuoc, Long An, Tien Giang, Binh Duong, Ben Tre, Tay Ninh and Dong Thap.
Starting at 12:00 am on Saturday, the telephone area codes for these localities will be updated to new numbers, a process that is slated for completion by July 17.
During the one-month period, callers can enter either the old or new area code to reach their desired line, according to Deputy Minister Tam.
In Vietnam, a landline phone number reads as follows: (country code) (area code) (phone number). The country code is +84 but it is not necessary to dial the area code to call within a city or province.
After July 17, local telecom service providers will allow customers to use the old area code for at least 30 more days while playing recorded announcements in both Vietnamese and English to callers so that they are aware of the change.
Hanoi’s area code will be changed from 4 to 24, while Ho Chi Minh City’s will be changed from 8 to 28.
In February, the first 13 provinces and cities had had their phone area codes changed, followed by another change at the end of April for 23 others.
With the upcoming completion of the last phase, all but four of the 63 municipalities and provinces in Vietnam will have had their area codes for landline numbers changed, a move that looks to re-organize Vietnam’s area code system.
According to Tran Manh Tuan, deputy director of Vietnam National Telecommunications Agency, after the extensive change all new area codes in Vietnam, except in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, will be three digits numbers starting with 2.
In its earlier statement explaining the need for such a change, the Ministry of Information and Communications said the move was necessary to create a uniform system for area codes throughout the country. According to the Ministry “some provinces have a three-digit area code while others have one- or two-digit codes.”
“Full phone numbers can range from ten to 11 digits, which is confusing, hard to remember, and goes against international practice,” the ministry said, adding that the change will clear the confusion.
The only four provinces that will keep their old area codes are Vinh Phuc (211), Phu Tho (210), Hoa Binh (218) and Ha Giang (219).
According to Tuan, the new area codes will ease future attempts to group provinces into larger groups of area codes, with the eventual goal being to reduce the number of area codes in Vietnam from 63 to only ten.
Below is the complete list of old and new telephone area codes for 59 provinces and cities in Vietnam.