By Prince Osuagwu
THE International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced that the international dialling code 211, has been assigned to the world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, following the country’s formal recognition as a UN member state.
The South Sudan Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services welcomed the code, which has significance for South Sudanese as representing the year in which the country gained independence (2011), the date of its referendum (which took place in the first day of the first month of 2011), and a symbol of good fortune.
The number had been specifically requested following a special Council of Ministers Resolution.
Senior Communications Officer of ITU, Mr Toby Johnson, quoted the union’s Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun Touré as saying that though “a country code may seem like a small thing, but it is a real signifier of sovereignty and independence.
We join with the international community in congratulating the government and people of South Sudan on achieving full nationhood.”
On independence and recognition by the UN General Assembly, a country can apply to ITU for a country code. In this case, ITU officials had been in contact with South Sudanese officials since January 2011 to explain the procedures in case of independence.
The global country code numbering system is defined in an ITU standard known as ITU-T Recommendation E.164. ITU communicates this information to other member states and the world’s telecommunication operators in the ITU Operational Bulletin, which details the numbering plan from the previous to the new country code.
In addition to the 211 code, South Sudan will be assigned a mobile country code (MCC) and a signalling area/network code (SANC). SANCs indicate how calls should be routed.