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Phony Long Distance Numbers

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip

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Posted: 4 Jun 1999

Remember the good old days when you could tell whether or not a phone number was a long distance call just by looking at? If you were in the same area code, it was a local call. If the number had a different area code, you had to dial 1 first, and start racking up those long distance charges. Well, as with most other aspects of life, it's just not the simple any more. Neither we nor our computers can tell what's a long distance call just by looking at the area code.

Here's what Windows does with the phone numbers you use for dialing out on your modem:

  • If the area code you are calling from is different from the area code you are calling to, Windows always puts the 1 at the beginning.
  • If the area code you are calling from is the same as the area code you are calling to, Windows does not put a 1 at the beginning. However, Windows does have a Dial as a Long Distance Call check box you can use to get the 1 put in front of a local-looking number that is really long distance.

Unfortunately, Windows doesn't cover the other exception to the old-fashioned long distance number rule. Nowadays, in heavily populated areas like Washington D.C. and parts of California, phone numbers can have different area codes but still be local calls. Windows stubbornly insists on inserting the 1 whenever the area codes are different. While this approach does complete the call successfully, it also starts racking up totally unnecessary long distance charges.

If you've never used GroupWise® Remote, you may be wondering what long distance phone number conventions have to do with GroupWise. But if you have ever downloaded a slew of messages and documents over a slow modem, you know you don't want to pay long distance charges if you don't have to.

One of our GroupWise Remote experts has provided this workaround to the Windows deficiency in handling phone numbers that look like they should be long distance but are really local. As an example, let's say you're dialing from 123-456-7890 to 987-654-3210 and that in spite of the different area codes, it's really a local call. Try this:

  1. In the Windows Control Panel, double-click Modems > click Dialing Properties.

  2. In the Area Code field, change the area code from your real local area code to the area code you want to call to as a local call. Your computer now thinks it's somewhere else.

    In our example, you're really dialing from area code 123, but you change it to 987 in the Dialing Properties dialog box.

  3. In GroupWise Remote, click Remote > Send/Retrieve > Configure > Connection Configuration > Connect To > select a connection > click Edit to open the Modem Connection dialog box.

  4. In the Area Code field, set the area code to the one you're calling to

  5. In the Telephone Number field, set the phone number to the full 10-digit number you want to call.

    In our example, you would set the area code to 987 and the phone number to 987-654-3210.

Since the area codes match, Windows doesn't add a 1. And since you've provided the full 10-digit phone number, GroupWise Remote dials out without any "assistance" from Windows. No, you can't use this trick to get around valid long distance charges. You're fooling Windows here, not the phone company.

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