St. Maarten switches to new exit code for international calls

POSTED: 05/14/12 1:23 PM

Changes become effective tonight

St. Maarten – A new 011 dialing code for international calls out of St. Maarten to other parts of the world will go into effect Monday night – so long as all goes well with the final fine-tuning of various telecommunication equipment throughout St. Maarten.

The local Bureau of Telecommunications says that the new number will be referred to as St. Maarten’s exit code in keeping with standard telecommunication terminology around the world.

The introduction of the 011 exit code is phase II of St. Maarten’s adoption of the North America Numbering Plan.

Phase I was the introduction of the 1-721 international access code for calls coming into St. Maarten from outside destinations and the gradual phasing out of the 599 code of the former Netherlands Antilles later this year. Also included in this phase was the introduction of new carrier select numbers for major telecommunication carriers on Dutch St. Maarten.

St. Maarten’s incumbent telecommunication carrier, TelEm Group, will implement Phase II of the North America numbering plan project later this evening when technicians make the necessary provisions and configurations on company equipment and software.

TelEm Group network engineer and numbering plan coordinator Donville Hodge says customers will be able to use the 011 number to call family and friends in foreign countries that are not in the North America Numbering Plan grouping.

Customers who wish to call family and friends in countries that are part of this grouping only need to call a country code (1) + and area code and then the local number:

International calling to St. Maarten from countries outside the NANP: Access code + country code + area code + local number. Example: calling from The Netherlands to St Maarten: 00 + 1 + 721 + xxx.xxxx

International calling from St. Maarten to countries outside the NANP: Exit code + country code + area code + local number. Example: calling from St Maarten to Amsterdam: 011 + 31 + 20 + xxx.xxxx

An island-wide public awareness campaign gets under way this week to inform citizens about the changes, Ryan Wijngaarde, the public relations officer at the Bureau Telecommunications and Post said.

“The 011 code is used to dial out of St. Maarten to countries that are not in the North America Numbering Plan (NANP) grouping, including the BES islands, Curacao, the French side and the Netherlands,” Wijngaarde said.

The 011 exit code is not required for calls to countries with a country code 1, because these would be NANP countries.

“We will distribute brochures and other information leaflets and advertisements and we also have a lot of information on our website (www.sxmregulator.sx/nanp@sxmregulator.sx) about the entire numbering plan process and we encourage everyone to visit the site,” Wijngaarde said.

The Bureau of Telecommunications and Post and the TelEm Group urge citizens to start using the new exit code right away.

“The old way of dialing to reach family and friends overseas will cease very quickly so it’s very important to get the message out to all businesses and residents on St. Maarten right away,” Donville Hodge said.

He said while the local regulator is taking the lead in informing the public about the various milestones reached in the number plan transformation, it is the responsibility of each telecommunication carrier to ensure that its customers are informed accordingly.

“The successful implementation of Phase II will not only depend on the configurations we have to make but also on the willingness of customers to make use of the 011 exit code before the old dialing code is officially discontinued,” Hodge said.

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