Over 2000 New Zealanders have called the 0800 number Telecom New Zealand set up on Wednesday for people with family and friends in the United States.
The number - 0800 USA 111 – can be used at any time of the day by people in New Zealand wanting to find out information. Telecom general manager sales and service Kevin Stratful says over 2000 New Zealanders have used the number and calls remain heavy.
Calls from New Zealand to the US have been running at two and a half times the volume of calls that are usually made. Telecom was able to maintain service to the US but has asked New Zealanders to limit their calls as much as possible.
New Zealand Police staffed the 0800 number until 4pm Wednesday, when Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) staff took over answering calls. If MFAT staff get overloaded with enquiries at any stage, calls will be automatically switched through to 120 Hamilton-based Telecom 123 customer enquiry staff, who have volunteered to answer calls on MFAT’s behalf on a 24-hour basis.
Clear has offered free calls to the United States for its residential and Ztalk customers until midnight tonight (see Clear offers free toll calls to US).