Telcos no longer required to provide residential listings in phone directories: IDA

From April 1 next year, telcos will no longer be required to provide residential listings in telephone directories, whether in physical or electronic form, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Fixed-line residential subscribers will no longer need to pay to unlist their phone numbers from directories. Telcos may continue to provide the residential listings if they choose to, but will have to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act which took effect on Jan 2, and seek consent from subscribers who sign up for any fixed-line telephone services.

To mitigate the impact of doing away with residential listings, telcos must provide three free directory enquiries each month for those for want to check on residential phone numbers.

Telcos will still be required to provide business listings in the directories. The "Service 100" Directory Enquiry service to request for phone numbers will still be in use.

The changes come following completion of a review by the IDA, taking into account public feedback. Their findings showed that collection of the directories by subscribers had fallen dramatically since 2008.

The IDA also noted that publication of the residential listing may give rise to privacy concerns over the disclosure and use of individuals' personal information.