Old mobile phone prefixes finally phased out

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Old mobile phone prefixes finally phased out

Mobile carriers will start automatically converting the first three digits of mobile phone numbers among subscribers of 3G and LTE to 010 from today.

Around 1.156 million people are subject to the change.

Mobile phone numbers that start with the 011, 016, 017, 018 and 019 numbers will be automatically converted to 010, and phone users who subscribe to mobile messengers such as KakaoTalk, Line and Tictoc will have to go through the phone number verification process with the new numbers.

However, 69,000 users of mobile devices that do not offer the OTA (Over-the-Air) technology such as the iPhone 3GS and Optimus EX will have to visit mobile carriers or their websites to change over to 010.

The old numbers will stop working at midnight Jan. 1.

Among the 780,000 SK Telecom subscribers subject to the change, 20,000 users do not use phones with the OTA technology.

Those subscribers can use a number change information service for free. It will inform callers of the old number before the change.

Some smartphone users are expected to have trouble using mobile messengers or finance and banking apps with changed numbers.

For content app services such as movies, e-books and ringtones, users must delete the apps and download them again because they employ DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology based on the phone numbers to track the distribution or use of copyright-protected data.

Mobile phone users of 2G phones will not be subject to the change.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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