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Pat Townson said:
> ... why was Canada arbitrarily included as part of the 'USA numbering
> scheme' while Mexico was deliberatly excluded? The system back in the
> 1950's was deliberatly designed, IMO, to include all (mostly) English
> speakers and with certain other politics in mind, which was
The topic of Mexico has been brought up numerous times in the past in
Canada and the US have had close relations politically and with respect
to business, culture, and telephone service. AT&T and GT&E had both been
quite active in the development of Canada's telephone network.
As for Mexico, AT&T had desired that Mexico become part of the North
American Numbering Plan, and there was a period of time when a small
part of Mexico was actually part of the NANP (country code +1) while
the rest of Mexico was its own country code +52.
It was actually *MEXICO* that chose NOT to be a part of the US/Canada
telephone network. The northwestern Mexican border was really the only
area in Mexico that truly was a part of the NANP DDD network, and their
local and toll offices "homed" on AT&T toll offices based in the US,
well into the 1970s (and possibly early 1980s). This northwestern Mexican
border area was not Telefonos de Mexico but rather Telefonica Fronteriza,
which was partially held by AT&T and Pacific Bell, and was reached by
area code 903. Shortly before 1980, the Mexican Federal Government (which
owned Tel Mex as a government monopoly) seized the partially US-held
Telefonica Fronteriza in northwestern Mexico, and began to re-number the
codes and re-home the switches to Mexico's numbering/dialing plan (under
country code +52) and toll switching/routing network.
AT&T removed 903 for access to the northwestern border, changing it
temporarily to 70-6 based on the city codes beginning with '6' under
country code +52, for those who did not have International Dialing
(011+), so that they could be able to continue to dial to
Mexico. Mexico City (which had always been Tel Mex) was temporarily
accessible from the US (and Canada) as a pseudo area code 90-5, based
on the fact that Mexico's city code was '5' under country code
+52. But this "pseudo" access to northwestern Mexico (70-6) and Mexico
City (90-5) from the US and Canada was discontinued by AT&T, MCI,
Sprint (co-ordinated by Bellcore) in 1991, with 706 and 905 being
reassigned within the US and Canada. (903 had already been taken back
and subsequently reassigned to the split of 214 in northeastern Texas
in 1990). With 1991, all calls to Mexico had to be dialed from the US
and Canada as an International call, 011+ country code +52 and then
the domestic number in Mexico.
It wasn't AT&T that tried to keep Mexico out of the plan. AT&T had made
numerous overtures to Mexico since the late 1950s and continuing forward
for Mexico to join the North Aemrican DDD Network. When the ITU Country
Code format was finalized in 1963, Mexico already had already decided
that they wanted to be their own country code +52. And any previous
attempt for any part of Mexico to be part of the US/Canada network
(such as area code 903 for the northwestern border) was fought against
by *MEXICO* themselves.
About fifteen years ago, in the early 1990s, Mexico did think about the
possibility of joining the North American Numbering Plan. Mexico and the
North American (US and Canadian) telephone industry did look at this, to
see if it could be feasible at the present time. However, both sides
realized that the present capacity of numbering in the NANP wouldn't be
able to satisfy Mexico's current and future numbering needs, as well as
continue to satisfy the development of numbering in the original base of
the US and Canada. Mexico decided that expansion of their *own* numbering
and dialing plan (under country code +52) would be in both the US/Canada
and Mexico's best interests and that is what has happened.
It is probably better that way -- the vast bulk of traffic is between the
US and Canada. While there is considerable traffic between the US and
Mexico, it just isn't nearly as much as has always been between the US
and Canada (even before customer dial capability).
In the Caribbean, again, AT&T had hoped to include ALL of the Caribbean
within area code 809 when that was "created" in 1958, created on paper,
at least (as it would take YEARS before various parts of the Caribbean
would eventually become customer dialable from the US and Canada). This
"creation" of 809 took effect five years BEFORE the ITU came out with
their country code format in 1963.
But the French and Dutch held islands in the Caribbean also decided that
they would prefer to be masters of their own numbering/dialing destiny,
and chose to get their own ITU country codes rather than be part of
area code 809 in Country Code +1.
But there are some Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean that have been
part of Area Code 809, or now their own unique area codes, within the
NANP, Country Code +1. Puerto Rico (now area code 787 overlaid with area
code 939), and the Dominican Republic (which retained 809, and is now
overlaid with area code 829). Of course, Puerto Rico is politically and
jurisdictionally a part of the US (although not a state), and the
Dominican Republic has had GT&E's involvement there for many decades now.
GTE's Codetel in the Dominican Republic is now part of Verizon. Even
Puerto Rico Telephone Company has had involvement from GTE since the late
1990s, and is now associated with Verizon.
Had Cuba not had Castro, it is quite possible that they too would have
been part of Country Code +1, area code 809 (though now possibly split
to a unique area code or area codes of its own). Prior to Castro, Cuba
had close relations with the US as far as business and culture, and its
telephone network was managed by ITT. But that all changed with Castro.
When the ITU's first country code list was announced in 1963, Cuba was
assigned its own country code +53.
On the one hand, it might have been "nice" to have more countries to be
included within Country Code +1. But some might argue that those
countries would have to "cow-tow" to some degree to the US FCC and the
Canadian CRTC, and not truly be their own masters of their own telephone
numbering/dialing destiny. Also, while the cost and rates of calls
between the US and Canada are mostly comparable to the rates for calls
within each country (as long as one is on a good "discount" plan), the
same is NOT true for calls from the US or Canada to the (non US)
Caribbean islands which are still a part of the NANP. This is a regular
complaint about the (so called) "809 scams". Unfortunately, the FCC (and
CRTC) can't do too much about *THAT* except for informing the general
public about being careful about dialing calls to certain area codes.
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: One thing they _could_ do now to
alleviate any need for number (length) expansion forever would be to
eliminate '1' as a country code and put this side of the globe on a
somewhat more equal footing with everyone else by assigning (as an
example) '14' to USA, '15' to Canada, '16' to Pacific Islands (fomerly
in '1'), etc. Then everyone's (no longer needed because out of the new
country code) area codes could be reassigned forever. Obviously they
would never run out. That would at least even the score a little where
the America-centric numbering system was concerned, IMO. Oh, I know
there would have to be major reprogramming of some switches along the
way, but what the hell, AT&T was always foisting off that
reprogramming on the other countries for years and years was it not? PAT]