Local phone numbers are exactly as their name implies; they are phone numbers for specific areas, used exactly like other local numbers. It doesn’t matter that they are virtual; they work exactly the same, with additional functionalities. The subscriber station connects with a telephone line or wireless-based telephony device. The latter could either be a mobile phone or a standard landline. Usually, the telephone line connects to any device that transmits data through a Public Switched Telephone Network or other privately owned/ operated network.
Characteristics of Local 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. They were starting to be used as tools for accessing modern devices, such as fax machines, computer modems, and also pagers. The unstoppable march of broadband Internet and cell phones has enabled local 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 just a phone number.
History of Local Numbers
The local phone numbers concept came into existence in Massachusetts, 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 numbers have been available with varying lengths and formats. Some variations even included 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 landlines.
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. They are 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 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 their 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 receiving party.
All local phone numbers are assigned according to stipulations of a regional or national telephone numbering plan. A local phone number may also be dialed with vertical service codes to gain access to special telephonic services.
The Origination of Phone Number Exchanges
The early local telephone exchanges were entirely manual. 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. The subscriber had to dial the destination telephone number which was then transmitted to the automatic switch system.
What Happens When Someone Dials a Local Number
The caller’s telephone DTMF tones or pulses are processed with the connection being established. 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 are equipped with ANI or automatic number identification systems. This is 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 are immense. As technology has made having local phone numbers quite easy and convenient, they are an economical way to provide great customer service.