Originally Posted by melgross
I'm not quite sure of what you're saying, but if I do understand it, it isn't quite correct.
In the beginning of cell use here in the States, all cell numbers started with 1-917. That was the prefix only assigned to cell users. As cell usage became more common, and as the States has a much larger population that any of the European countries with their own country codes, we began to run out of that cell only prefix. Now, you can choose to have your local code used instead, as I , and the rest of my family have. My landlnes start with 1-718, and so do our cells.
So, that is not a reason for how it's been done.
OK, let me try again.
It might have been "917" in the beginning, but now, for all practical purposes, US mobile phone numbers share the same area codes as landline numbers (just as your 718" area code now does).
But the ROW still has separate area codes for mobile.
I am pointing out that "local" calls made from a landline in the US to mobile phones are not charged differently fro landline-to-landline calls. Say "A" is the landline provider and "B" is the mobile provider. The "local" call (which I am defining as within the same area code) from A to A is "free" (they are regional monopolies, so you are calling from/to the same company) and there are no revenue-sharing issues; but landline-to-wireless calls can go from A to B, and it gets into issues of revenue sharing. Keeping track becomes a mess since, as a caller, you cannot tell them apart.
In most of the ROW, you, as a caller, know
when you are calling a mobile number and which service provider (since usually, the area code is also provider-specific). You are charged a higher rate when calling mobile phones, and an even higher rate if the call goes outside the provider's network. The caller willingly agrees to pay the higher charge because (s)he is presumed to know the call is being made to a mobile phone and in/out of network.
In the US, a caller cannot tell whether (s)he is calling a mobile number, nor can (s)he tell whether in or out of the network. For instance, not including my work number, I have three telephone numbers (one landline, two mobile phones) in area code "123". They go as follows: (123) 643-ABCD; (123) 667-EFGH; and (123) 738-IJKL. If you were to call me in one of those numbers, you have no idea which one is mobile and with which provider. All you can tell is that you are calling me in area code 123. As a result, you cannot be charged different amounts, other than for the fact that you know 123 is a different area code, and you will be charged (a fixed, presumably) long distance charge. To make up for the lost revenue to the receiver's service provider, the receiver pays a share.
I am also saying that the ROW is a much more sensible system. For intsance, we should have just gone to, say, a four- or five-digit area code for all mobile calls and this problem might have been obviated.