Dial 3 for Europe, says Brussels

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The Independent Online
The number "3" should be the first figure for dialling any international call in Europe, the European Commission said yesterday.

Subscribers should keep their numbers when they switch telephone companies, it said in a plan for a pounds 1.5bn overhaul of the continent's phone system. They should also be able to dial the same charge-free number - beginning with 388 - from anywhere in Europe to order goods or call for emergency roadside assistance.

The commission says the system needs overhauling to take account of competition and to give callers easy access to the ever-growing number of pan-European services. It said the price will be small compared with the benefits.

BT said the commission should be more ambitious and think of numbering in global rather than European terms. Reuter