While reading THE DAILY STAR newspaper today, I found out that all current mobile numbers will no longer need the 03 prefix (area code) , but will require the 71 prefix starting September 18, 2005.
Earlier this summer, mobile operators launched campaigns promoting mobile numbers with the 70 prefix.
Apparently, the new 70 & 71 prefixes are necessary to meet the increasing demand in mobile lines, previously restricted to some 800 000.
Although no official announcement has yet been made, I called my mobile operator alfa ( the Cellis substitute) and they confirmed the switch to the new code.
So if you used to dial 03-XXX XXX within Lebanon, you will have to dial 71-XXX XXX.
From outside Lebanon, you will have to dial 961-71-XXX XXX.
What intrigued me the most was the following:
In January of 2006, the ministry will release new nine-digit toll-free numbers for services such as gaming or calling television shows to vote for reality TV contestants. Later in 2006, "01" numbers will begin instead with "2," opening up more fixed lines. (Daily Star)
When I called the OGERO (the fixed lines operator) hotline number 1515 to ask about it, they had no idea what I was talking about.
I will update this story as soon as I get more info.
You can read The Daily Star article by clicking here.
1- The Daily Star
3- MTC Touch
5- Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications