Ofta expected to grant approval for Caller ID service in Hong Kong soon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 September, 1996, 12:00am

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) is soon expected to announce approval of caller ID display services in Hong Kong, after its July announcement that it had no major concern with the service which enables the receiver of a call to read the number of origin, Hongkong Telecom CSL's general manager for CPE marketing, Ernest Lee, said.

Mr Lee said a code of practice had already been set and that no telephone provider would be allowed to offer the service unless it introduced a blocking code feature. 'Users of the service who do not wish to have their number identified by the called party will have to enter a blocking code before dialling up,' Mr Lee said. The feature is said to tackle the privacy issues raised by the use of caller number display.

Mr Lee said display devices fitting existing telephones that did not have LCD display could be introduced and that he expected half of the telephones installed in Hong Kong to be upgraded within a year of approval. 'Tariffs for the device and the service will be announced when the time is ripe,' Mr Lee said.

In countries such as Singapore and Britain, caller ID display has been in service for more than a year. Mr Lee said although China would not be able to support the service until its telecoms network is fully digitalised, he did not expect any embargo on the service after the handover next year.

Basically, caller number display was triggered by customer demand, mostly from home delivery companies tired of preparing orders for customers making false calls. It was introduced in the US back in 1987.

The service is particularly suitable for customer-oriented businesses which can answer phone calls more efficiently. When combined with computer telephony integration (CTI) software, caller number display feature grabs the calling number at the first ring and matches it automatically with the customer file. Information appears on a computer screen enabling the operator to handle the call in a more appropriate way.

CTI and caller ID display are among the new features offered by Partner II, the second generation of keyline business communications systems introduced by Lucent Technologies and Hongkong Telecom CSL last week.

The system comes with new telephone sets equipped with a large LCD display. With a maximum of 48 extensions, the system features double the number of lines provided by Partner - Lucent Technologies' existing keyline systems for small and home offices.

It comes with a optional software packages, including CTI software Passageway, Partner Reporter, a software analysing call activity data, and a voice messaging system Partner Mail VS.

CALL OPTION Go ahead expected for service allowing receivers of calls to identify the caller's number Ofta should give approval as privacy issue has been tackled by blocking code Caller ID has been in operation in Singapore and Britain for many years