Mobile phone directory looks doomed, for now

The uproar from consumers over the recent UK launch of a mobile phone directory service would appear to have killed the project. Within days of being available, phone users attempted to access the 118 800 service online in order to have their mobile number removed from the directory fearing they would receive unwanted calls.

The deluge of removal requests caused the system to crash, with the company then announcing temporary suspension of its 118 800 service on July 10t--this provisional interruption would now appear to be more permanent with no information as to when the directory service will be relaunched--if ever.

However, Connectivity, the company that runs the mobile phone directory service, has been at pains to inform mobile phone users that anyone purchasing a phone number using its service would not be able to directly call the person they want to reach. Instead, a text message would be sent from 118 800 stating that someone would like to call them and are they happy with being put in touch.

The 118 800 service, which is searchable by name and UK town, acts as a brokerage and doesn't give out the mobile phone number. Those wishing to use the service are charged £1 per mobile number purchased.

While mobile phone user have long (falsely) believed their numbers are largely private, the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has stated that such services are likely to become more prevalent as directory services have been deregulated. A separate branch of Ofcom, PhonePay Plus, is charged with overseeing commercial services of this sort.

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