01 August 1998

TELECOMS WATCHDOG Oftel is under fire from a diverse alliance of businesses - all with little in common save their opposition to the proposed change in the freephone numbering system. Bedfellows as unlikely as Forte Hotels, Co-operative Retail Services, Dyno-Rod, Toyota and Guardian Direct have linked to campaign for broader consultation on the issue. They are concerned that their investment in familiar and ‘golden’ numbers will be wasted if the numerics change. Guardian Direct, for example, promotes its services via freephone number 28 28 20 - which when spoken aloud mimics the hoot of its owl logo. Dyno-Rod’s number can be called by keying its name on an alpha-numeric keypad. Complains the latter: ‘This solution is for Oftel’s convenience and not for businesses.’ Oftel claims it has not pre-judged the issue.