Directory assistance

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A telephone information is used phone numbers , fax numbers or IP telephony to request -Nummern of registered participants. Value-added services also offer information on addresses, specialist shops, restaurants, etc. as well as the option of being connected to the desired telephone number. The inverse search was temporarily prohibited in Germany, but has been permitted again since 2004. In addition, most directory assistance services have the option of sending the desired phone number via SMS when calling from the cellular network .


At the time of the Deutsche Bundespost there were only two such public services: the domestic directory and the international directory. The domestic information desk could be reached on the telephone number 118 (later 01188), the international information on the number 00118. With the privatization, the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railways (BNetzA) has also approved other providers who can offer such services. In the course of this, directory inquiries were assigned the number range 118 XX . The number range 1180 XX has been reserved by the Federal Network Agency as a reserve when the five-digit numbers are fully used .

As of November 25, 2013, 48 providers of domestic and six foreign information providers were registered with the regulatory authority. Currently the best known and oldest information that has emerged from the former state-owned companies and the so-called " Fräulein / Frollein vom Amt " is Deutsche Telekom's 11833 .

Due to the scarcity of resources that has existed since around the end of 2005, consultations between the Federal Network Agency and market participants took place. A particular problem that has led to this shortage is that numerous providers use the telephone numbers assigned by the Federal Network Agency for information services as a memorable access to value-added telephone services. The value-added services offered are particularly in the area of ​​adult entertainment, with a much smaller proportion being other information services. Instead of a long phone number, the speed dial of a specific directory assistance service is given and the caller is asked to ask for a specific keyword. The referral rates vary between 0% and 98% depending on the directory assistance service. Some providers generally do not offer any referral.

The resources 118 XX and 1180 XX are abbreviated dialing numbers as defined by the Federal Network Agency.

Information numbers are allocated by the Federal Network Agency on request, the purpose of use for the respective number must be reported to the Federal Network Agency. In some cases, information services are provided fully automatically or semi-automatically (for example with operator callback in the event of problems). Some providers have introduced foreign language information services. In addition, several information services can also be reached from mobile phones via WAP or SMS . The WAP service is usually a fully automatic data service, while information requests via SMS are sometimes provided by agents.

The German directory assistance market is a duopoly in which Deutsche Telekom has over 50% and telegate a third of the market share. With high advertising expenditure, these providers also manage to seal off the market from newcomers. In addition, the Federal Network Agency has no obligation to connect to specific phone numbers for the operator. As a result, Telekom's information services have no longer been available to users of the O2 DSL connections since 2010, while E-Plus had previously blocked certain information and other voice services in its networks.

Thanks to high margins , the market is highly profitable, at least for telegate. Due to the high costs of information and the free Internet information, the information market has a relatively poor consumer image. This led to enormous decreases in the volume of information. Since the market liberalization at the end of the 1990s, the information volume in Germany has been reduced by more than half to around 250 million calls per year.

On March 24, 2009, the central number 115 for official information was introduced, which is initially operated by some cities and districts.


In Switzerland, directory inquiries were liberalized on January 1, 2007 in order to create the necessary framework for promoting competition and price transparency. The former directory assistance numbers 111 and 115x (international information) were permanently discontinued on December 31, 2006. Since the deregulation, the national and international directory assistance services can only be reached via 18xy short numbers. The numbers are assigned by OFCOM (Federal Office of Communications).

On January 1, 2007, 18 directory assistance services were registered with OFCOM, at the beginning of 2009 there were 16. Two providers are leading in the market: 1818 Directory Assistance AG and Swisscom 1811's directory assistance service.

According to OFCOM requirements, all providers must provide the same basic services: They must provide information about the entries of customers of all operators who offer basic services in all four parts of Switzerland (national directories). Providing international directory information is voluntary. The directory assistance services are interested in expanding the services that can be offered via 18xy short numbers. Additional services already offered are the establishment of a connection or the offline transmission of directory information (for example by SMS or MMS ).

1818 Informations AG is the operator of the number 1818. The number claims to be the successor to 111 in the liberalized market and offers national and international information. 1818 Informations AG is a subsidiary of the British The Number Inc., an independent provider of directory inquiries in several European countries.

After 1818 Informationen AG announced the closure of its call center and the outsourcing of the service from Nidau to Vienna and Marrakech in May 2015, AP Dialog GmbH started the new service 1820 information in October 2015 with employees who had been dismissed by 1818. 1820 offers a cheaper tariff than 1818 and guarantees that all calls in Switzerland will be answered.


In Austria, the market for telephone information services was liberalized in 2000. The numbers of the previous monopoly Telekom (1611 for Germany, 1612 for Germany, 1613 for all other countries) have also been reassigned and replaced by 6-digit telephone numbers starting with 118XXX. While Telekom practically did not communicate its new number 118200, the private call center provider CLC was able to make optimal use of the liberalization with its number 118899 and an accompanying extensive advertising campaign. In advertising, the Linz-based company always presented the "new information number" with the actor Wolfgang Böck , who was known at the time . The fact that this is not Telekom, but a new, private provider was wisely concealed. The large-scale advertising campaign and the telephone number (11 + 88 = 99), which is comparatively easy to remember in contrast to 118200, brought the call center operator enormous growth. The fact that CLC was able to achieve a 20% market share with 118899 in just six weeks ultimately led to a lawsuit by Telekom. Telekom later changed its number to 118877.

After the insolvency of the CLC and continuation of 118899 as an independent company, the company acts less aggressively and less successfully. In addition, another provider can be reached in Austria at 118811. An automatic, free announcement informs the caller of an information service about the current tariff (currently, November 2010, about 1.80 euros). Fees are only due once a call center employee reports. SMS services are also offered.

The official telephone directory is available on the Internet and as a print version (by federal state). Up until 2011, 11833 was the most popular telephone number in German-speaking countries with a turnover of around 160 million euros in Germany and around 12 million euros in Austria . The number was assigned in Austria by Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH to Andy and Andy LLC.

USA and Canada

In North America, directory inquiries can be reached on the toll number 411. The number 411- (area code) -555-1212 can be dialed for remote information or non-local directory assistance. However, the fixed network information 411 also provides information about national list entries.

Companies with freephone numbers (800 numbers) are issued by AT&T free of charge. The companies with such numbers pay the fees for each information provided. This regulation is required by law in the United States, and the telephone company has tried unsuccessfully to end the service.

A number of private providers meanwhile provide free telephone inquiries, whereby the financing often takes place through advertisements before the desired information.

Great Britain

In Great Britain, since the market was liberalized, directory inquiries have been reached via a series of privately managed, six-digit telephone numbers that all begin with the sequence 118. Before the liberalization on August 24, 2003, the information service was offered by the respective network operators under the number 192 for domestic inquiries and 153 for foreign inquiries. The state-independent telecommunications authority Ofcom is responsible for the supervision of the various providers.

The current providers get their information from the "Operator Services Information System" (OSIS), which is operated by BT . The database is supplied with data by telecommunications companies and is available for inquiries 6 days a week.


In mainland China, 114 can be dialed after the area code for information on telephone numbers in the same region.


In Ethiopia, directory inquiries can be reached on 8123, although the same service can also be used via the website of the state telecommunications company.

Web links

Wiktionary: Directory assistance  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Henning Gajek: O2 DSL: Only certain information services can be reached. Tel tariff, April 14, 2010
  2. cf. Annual reports and publications
  3. As a guest at the telephone information desk 111 (1980) On: SRF
  4. Article in BAZ Online.Retrieved on November 10, 2015.
  5. YouTube video from 118899
  9. ^ AT&T - Consumer Information
  10. Public Notice
  11. ^ The 411 on Directory Assistance
  12. 118 800 To Connect UK To Millions Of Mobile Numbers
  13. China Telecom
  14. Afalagi's findbusiness