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Coming soon: phone numbers in .tel

Kevin Murphy, September 17, 2013, 11:33:33 (UTC), Domain Registries

Will companies defensively register their phone numbers? Telnic is to start selling long numeric .tel domain names for the first time, so we’re about to find out.

The company plans to lift the longstanding restriction on numeric domains of eight characters or longer on October 15, according to a press release (pdf) this morning:

Registrants wishing to register strings such as 00442074676450.tel or 0207-467-6450.tel will be able to do so through ICANN-accredited Registrars from 15:00 GMT on Tuesday 15th October.

“Registrants now have an increased choice of registering a .tel name or a .tel number under which they can publish all types of contact information online,” said Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO of Telnic. “This means that if the customer knows either the business name or telephone number for a business, it can be reached online quickly in a mobile-friendly way.”

Telnic expects numeric .tel domains to cost the same as regular .tel domains, which varies by registrar but can be as low as about $15. There’s not going to be any special sunrise period.

Telnic has had the ability to do this since early 2011, when ICANN approved its Registry Services Evaluation Process request to lift its original ban on numeric-only second-level domains.

The RSEP was not without controversy. Telnic, remember, was one of two applicants for .tel back in 2003, and it won partly because its application committed the company to avoiding numerals.

There had been concern expressed by the International Telecommunications Union and others that phone number .tel domains might interfere with ENUM-based numbering schemes.

Those concerns had largely dried up by the time Telnic submitted its RSEP in 2010, when the only complaint came, weirdly, from Go Daddy.

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Comments (4)

  1. Acro says:

    Had no idea this Dodo of a TLD imposed limitations on such numeric domains. Is that a strategy to counter the current dropping trends?

  2. Alexander Schubert says:

    I can’t really imagine many companies registering their phone number in .tel. First: Which format to use? Imagine you are a US based company catering primarily to the national market. You would NOT register 001-202-123-1234, right? You wanted a national US format. So at least you had to register:
    202-123-1234 and
    202-1234567

    Now while hyphen domains are not completely unknown in the US they are definitely not mainstream. Hence you had also to register:
    2021234567 which looks extremely odd.

    So you sport three national .tel telephone number domains. What will you do with them? If you do not conduct active marketing around them NOTHING will ever happen. Hen and egg problem: .tel will not create the necessary “trend” around their new scheme, the average Internet user will not know about it. The companies are aware of that fact and see no need to register these domains (or market them actively). Which ensures that users never will learn about it. A devils circle in which all older new gTLD’s are trapped. Lets hope at least some of the new ones will tackle the problem. My guess: The majority will not.

    Alexander Schubert, Riga

  3. ABC says:

    Exciting news! I have been waiting for that for so long!

    Let’s hope I can get the names I want, where can I preregister them?

  4. Ali G says:

    As a business owner I would love for my customers to know that should they fail to contact me via my regular telephone number they can go online to my telephone number (.Tel or other) and find multiple ways to initiate contact, find departments, specific employees etc. I think that this this can revolutionize the concept of telephone numbering. It would need a massive PR push to get rolling but I believe that when it does it will snowball. I think that Tel is ideal for this because of the name (tel) and also the fact that it is template based and is very easily to populate and update.

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