All but four out of 63 Vietnamese cities and provinces are slated to have their area code for landline numbers changed by February 2017, under a decision that not everyone is happy about.
The new area codes will be applied for 59 cities and provinces in three phases, from February 11 to June 17, with steps taken to ensure the change will not confuse the public, the Ministry of Information and Communications announced on Tuesday.
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.
According to the ministry, the area code change is necessary as the current codes are inconsistent, with “some provinces having a three-digit area code while others have one- or two-digit codes.”
“The full phone numbers therefore range from ten to 11 digits, which are confusing and hard to remember, going against international practice,” the ministry said.
The ministry has therefore decided to make all area codes three-digit number, except for Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to remove the confusion, adding that this type of change is common around the world.
Addressing public concerns that it is difficult to get used to the new area codes, the ministry said technical measures would be enacted along with the number changes to assist the public.
The new area codes for Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are 24 and 28
For instance, within 30 days from the area code change, people will still able to dial the old code if they happen to forget the new one. In the 30 subsequent days, the callers will hear an announcement of the new area code when they dial the old number. Finally, two months after the area code change, people will only be able to make a call if they dial the correct area code.
But there are other concerns, such as the need to reprint packaging or business cards once numbers are changed, costing quite a sum.
Mostly three-digit area codes
Should you still need to contact landline phone numbers on a frequent basis, you now have at least three months to familiarize yourself with the new area codes.
Most of the new codes will be three-digit ones, except for Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Of the 63 cities and provinces, four northern provinces are allowed to keep their area codes: Vinh Phuc (211), Phu Tho (210), Hoa Binh (218) and Ha Giang (219).
Below are the area code changes in the remaining localities.