Local phone numbers issued by any particular country are fundamentally a digit sequence assigned formally to any telephone subscriber station working on a fixed line. The subscriber station hooks up with a telephone line or wireless-based telephony device. The latter could either be mobile phone or a standard landline. Usually, the telephone line connects to any device that transmits data through a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or other privately owned and/ or operated networks.
Characteristics of Local Phone Numbers
Local phone numbers came into existence when the caller had to connect with a central switchboard operator controlling a given telephone exchange and request for a connection to a particular number.
With the global telecommunications system growing rapidly over the next several decades, local phone numbers became longer and were starting to be used as tools for accessing the most modern devices of the times such as fax machines, computer modems, and also pagers.
With the unstoppable march of the broadband Internet and the cell phone, local phone numbers began to be used in all areas of modern life. They found extensive use in a wide array of cellular data-based devices such as video game controllers, tablets, mobile hotspots, and digital televisions. Today, the myriad of electronic devices that are “smart” and connected to other aspects of day to day activities is too many to count; nearly every aspect of your life can be digitized and streamlined with a phone number.
History of Local Phone Numbers
The local phone numbers concept came into existence in the state of Massachusetts, way back in 1879. This replaced the existing system of a caller requesting the switchboard operator to connect them with a third party through their local exchange. In the following decades, local phone numbers have been available with varying lengths and formats which included even some alphabet figures, when telephone exchange names were used commonly. This method of communication lasted until the 1960s.
The local phone number contains all relevant information to identify the intended endpoint of the telephone call. Every endpoint comes with a unique number registered with a public switched telephone network. Most countries issue numbers that have fixed lengths usable for standard and typical fixed land lines.
Thus, the length required for a particular local phone number is ascertainable by the total endpoints. Subscribers can also choose shorter numbers for endpoints they use frequently. These are called “shorthand” or “speed dialing” numbers and these get automatically translated to unique telephone numbers before calls are connected.
How Local Phone Numbers Work
Dialing plans in certain locations allow for dialing numbers in local areas sans the area code or even city code prefixes. Unique local phone numbers are also usable for high-capacity numbers having numerous telephone circuits, as is commonly seen in television and radio stations where multiple callers simultaneously try to connect.
However, the formatting and allocation of local phone numbers is completely under the control of the issuing country’s government. In fact, in some countries, Local Number Portability (LNP) allows the subscriber to change his service provider without changing his existing number. This of course, has certain geographical limitations. An example of this would be an existing local phone company being able to port to a competitor within the same rate center only.
Working Methods of Local Phone Numbers
A local telephone number is basically an address to switch telephone calls by using a process called destination code routing. The telephone number is punched or dialed by the calling party on his personal telephone set. This gets transmitted as a signal to the relevant local telephone exchange. In turn, the exchange routes the call either to another subscriber connected locally or through the PSTN to the call receiving party.
All local phone numbers are assigned according to stipulations of a regional or national telephone numbering plan to all subscribers enrolled with telephone service providers, which may either be state-controlled bodies or privately-owned commercial entities. A local phone number may also be dialed with vertical service codes to gain access to special telephonic services.
The Origination of Local Phone Numbers Exchanges
The early local telephone exchanges were entirely manual, and the subscriber had to lift the receiver of their telephone and ask the operator to connect them to their requested number. However, this was time-consuming and gradually it gave way to automatic exchanges.
These were also called dial services and eliminated the requirement for human telephone operators by way of electromechanical systems. Simultaneously telephone sets began to be equipped with dials and the subscriber had to dial the destination telephone number which got transmitted to the automatic switch system.
What Happens When Someone Dials Local Phone Numbers
An automatic telephone exchange senses the off-hook condition when the user picks up the handset from the set’s cradle or switch hook. The dial tone that can be heard is an indication to the user that the exchange is now ready to receive their dialed digits.
The caller’s telephone DTMF tones or pulses are processed with the connection being established with the receiver telephone to another exchange or within the caller-receiver exchange. The caller exchange keeps the connection on till either party hangs up. Call supervision, timing, and billing equipment are also a part of the automatic exchange.
All automatic exchanges nowadays are equipped with ANI or automatic number identification systems to identify the caller’s number and to trace it, if necessary. These can even take care of toll-free numbers where the caller doesn’t need to pay for the call. The benefits of local phone numbers is immense, and as technology has made having local phone numbers quite easy and convenient, having them in use for your business is a simple and economical way to expand and offer a greater level of customer service.