A new circular that will change area codes in 59 provinces and cities starting March 1 has caused headaches for companies.

Nguyen Hong Minh, director of a taxi company, said that because of the change – put in place by the Ministry of Information and Communications – he would need to reprint or redo 400 million VND (18,600 USD) worth of invoices, billboards and calendars that were made with the current phone numbers on them.
If everything was not re-printed, customers might not be able to contact the taxi service, he said.

Similarly, Do The Gia Cake and Jam Company spent hundreds of millions of dong to print 20,000 packages of jam with its current phone number for the upcoming traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, said Do Thu Thuy, a company representative. To save money, the firm did not plan to reprint the packages, she said.

However, Tran Manh Hung, General Director of the Vietnam Post and Telecom Group (VNPT), said both current and new area codes will be able to be used for three to six months after the circular took effect, a move to give clients enough time to transition.

In addition, when making a phone call, people will receive instructions from VNPT's switchboard operators on using the new area codes, he said.

After three to six months, people will become familiar with the new area codes, and they will completely switch over, he said.-VNA