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New 9 Digit Dialing Method

WITHOUT DELVING INTO deep statistics, at present Thailand is able to provide residents with telephone service at the ratio of 1 telephone: 10 persons based on the country's population. July 5 was the official date for the nationwide 9 digit telephone number system that will allow up to 90 million fixed and mobile phone numbers to be installed within the next 20 years. The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) has been testing this new system since the start of June 2001 while a grace period will be carried on through July. Those who continue to use the old dialing method, that is dialling the number without the area code, will be reminded with a recorded message on the proper method of dialling the phone numbers. According to the new 9 digit system, the area code must be dialled each time.

For example: DIAL
Within Chiangmai, Lamphun, Chiangrai,
Mae Hong Sorn
053 - xxx xxx
Dialling to Bangkok 02 - xxx xxxx
From mobile phone to mobile phone 01 - xxx xxxx


This system is generally referred to in the media as 9 digits, but technically the TOT recognizes this international system as 8 digits. For this reason, those calling from abroad must drop the first 0 even though most telephone numbers are printed with this number on letterhead, envelopes and name cards.

Chiangmai (053) xxx xxx or 053 - xxx xxx
Bangkok (02) xxx xxxx or 02 - xxx xxxx
Mobile (01) xxx xxxx or 01 - xxx xxxx


To facilitate easier calling for business associates and friends from abroad the accurate reference should be

Chiangmai (66-53) xxx xxx or 66-53 xxx xxx
Bangkok (66-2) xxx xxxx or 66-2 xxx xxxx


The method of dialling overseas calls or faxes from abroad to Thailand (or vice versa) have not changed. To make communications smoother, print the correct country code in the next issue of printed matter.

When the future TOT telephone directory is issued the numbers will be indicated as 1 digit - 4 digits - 4 digits

0 -53xxx - xxxx Chiangmai
0 -2xxx - xxxx Bangkok
0 -1xxx - xxxx Mobile


It would be difficult to memorize all 9 digits unless there is a technical way to divide the 2nd (and 3rd) digit in the former area code (shaded area).

The automatic teller machine (ATM) at various banks will be operating as usual because the banks were previously provided with special lines by TOT.

Other services that may be affected by the new dialling method are:

  1. Internet users will have to adjust the digits as telephone users do.
  2. Mobile phone users can take the phone back to the original phone company for the adjustment otherwise the users will have to correct the built in memory each time.

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