In October 2017, the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) signed Memorandum Order (MO) 10-10-2017. This MO states that ALL Metro Manila landline numbers must have an extra digit added to the prefix, making them four digits, instead of the current three digits. The new digit will be determined by your landline provider.
Prefix – Landline Provider
- 3 – Bayan Telecommunications (BayanTel)
- 6 – ABS-CBN Convergence & Eastern Telecom
- 7 – Globe Telecom. Inc. / Innove Communications, Inc.
- 8 – PLDT & Digitel
Let’s pretend that your Globe landline number is currently 02-555-1234. Well, come March 18, 2019 a 7 will be added to the prefix. So, your new number will be…
Will you have to change your phone number?
No. You will just add the new digit according to whichever landline provider you currently use. (See the list above.)
Why this is happening
The simple answer is that they are running out of phone numbers. As the economy improves and more and more Filipinos climb out of poverty they are applying for DSL and fiber internet connections in their homes. Typically, these come with a landline.
Think about it. Each prefix can only provide 9,999 telephone numbers. You can only have 999 prefixes. That comes out to 9,989,001 possible telephone combinations. Subtract the ones that are reserved for non-commercial / non-residential use and those numbers get used up pretty quickly.
Not an unprecedented move
This is by no means a new idea. I remember when it happened in America. In northern New Jersey all residential phones used a 201 area code. When they did a similar expansion, in America, our area code changed from 201 to 973.
Breaking from the norm and doing things in an odd way
Unfortunately, the Philippines NTC chose to do this in a very odd fashion. They are not calling these area codes. They are instead changing your current prefix from three digits to four.
Why they chose to do this is beyond me. So, instead of making the area code two digits and leaving the prefix as three, they are leaving a single digit area code (2) and making the prefix four digits. It is a really strange and complicated way to do this.