San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

8-Digit Phone Numbers In the Works for 2008

In March of next year, all of Costa Rica’s telephone numbers will go from seven to eight digits, according to the state-run telecom monopoly the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).

Starting Holy Thursday of Easter Week 2008, cell phone users will have to put a number 8 in front of their phone number and land-line users will have to put a number 2 in front of theirs, according to a statement from ICE.

The eight-digit numbers are expected to allow for enough telephone numbers for the next 30 years.

ICE has already begun preparing for the change, which it has deemed necessary in the face of an “imminent increase” in the demand for new technologies and services in the future. The spike in the demand for cellular service and businesses taking up multiple phone numbers are already beginning to burden the seven-digit system, the statement said.

In 1994, ICE switched numbers from six to seven digits. At the time, authorities said the seven-digit system would satisfy the demand for phone numbers until 2034, the daily La Nación reported.


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