18 May 2012
According to the Today newspaper, Sint Maarten this week introduced the new ‘011’ dialling code for outgoing international calls. The process effectively signals the start of phase two of the country’s adoption of the North America Numbering Plan (NANP). Earlier this year phase one saw the introduction of the ‘721’ international access code for incoming calls, and the commencement of the gradual phasing out of the old ’599’ code, which belonged to the now-dissolved Netherlands Antilles, which is scheduled to be completed later this year.
Sint Maarten was issued with the ‘721’ prefix on 30 September 2011, whilst ‘599’ was retained by Curacao and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba). The northern, French side of the island, known as Saint-Martin, is part of the French West Indies, and has its own country code, ‘590’. As Sint Maarten is now part of the NANP, the country has to comply with a number of regulations by 1 October 2012.
Ryan Wijngaarde, the public relations officer at the Bureau of Telecommunications and Post (BT&P SXM) indicated that an island-wide public awareness campaign about the changes got underway this week, clarifying: ‘The 011 code is used to dial out of Sint Maarten to countries that are not in the NANP grouping, including the BES islands, Curacao, the French side and the Netherlands’.