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City news, 02.12.2005 15:22

Capital Changes Phone Code

telephone_code From Thursday, Moscow telephone numbers beginning with 095 changed to 495 as part of changes in area codes across the country, and numbers starting with 0 in another 18 regions, including the Moscow region, also now start with 4.

In the Kaliningrad region, the area code 011 changed to 401.

Both the old and new area codes will work during a transition period from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31, 2006.

The changes are part of Russia’s efforts to adapt its telecommunications standards to those in Europe. The next step will be transferring emergency phone services (including 01 for fire, 02 for police and 03 for medical assistance) to a single emergency number, 112. These two changes will free up the prefix 0 for use on long distance and international calls, a change that could come into effect as early as next year. Long distance calls, which currently use the prefix 8, would then switch to 0, while international calls would use the prefix 00, instead of 810.

All of the changes are scheduled for completion by 2008, a spokeswoman for the IT and Communications Ministry said.

Yekaterina Khaustova, a spokeswoman for MGTS, which runs Moscow’s telephone network, said that the city’s existing 499 numbers would stay the same. An extra 160,000 numbers with the 499 prefix were introduced in 2003 as part of a switch to digital exchanges. Khaustova said the plan was to transfer all Moscow phone numbers to digital exchanges by 2012.

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