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Monday, July 18, 2011

ITU assigns telephone country code to South Sudan

The global telecommunication regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has assigned international dialing country code 211 to the newly liberated Republic of South Sudan.

Senior Communications Officer, Mr. Toby Johnson disclosed this at the weekend, saying that ITU is delighted to welcome South Sudan as the newest country on the African continent.

The Republic of South Sudan, Mr. Johnson said, has been assigned the international dialing code 211, following the country’s formal recognition as a United Nations (UN) member state.

He noted that the newly created South Sudan Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services has welcomed the new code, which particularly resonant South Sudan’s citizens as representing the year in which South Sudan gained independence, that is 2011, the date of its referendum; which took place in the first day of the first month of 2011 and a symbol of good fortune.

“The number had been specifically requested following a special Council of Ministers Resolution,” he disclosed.

The Secretary General, ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré was quoted as saying that a country code may seem like a small thing, but it is a real signifier of sovereignty and independence.

“We join with the international community in congratulating the government and people of South Sudan on achieving full nationhood,” he said, stressing that as a young developing country there will be challenges, but the power of modern connectivity will bring a tremendous boost in areas such as commerce, health and education.

“ITU is here to help with advice on the necessary steps towards improved connectivity,” Toure assured.

He explained that on independence and recognition by the UN General Assembly, a country could apply to ITU for a country code.

Additionally, he said, in the case of South Sudan, ITU officials had been in contact with South Sudanese officials since January 2011 to explain the procedures in the case of independence, which meant the country code could be pre-allocated and assigned as soon as the UN General Assembly gave South Sudan recognition.

The global country code numbering system is defined in an ITU standard known as ITU-T Recommendation E.164.

ITU communicates this information to other member states and the world’s telecommunication operators in a publication called the ITU Operational Bulletin, which will also detail the transitional numbering plan from the previous to the new country code.

Equally, ITU official pointed out that with the country code, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan would then be assigned a mobile country code (MCC) and a signaling area or network code (SANC).

SANCs facilitate all telephone calls by indicating how calls should be routed.

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology.

For over 145 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.

From broadband networks to new-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology and converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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