Controversial 118 800 mobile phone directory service is still unavailable a full month after announcing the temporary suspension of its service. The mobile phone directory service launched in mid-June but decided to suspend its website and phone-based service on 10 July.
Speculation that the service was overwhelmed by the volume of traffic to its site as consumers clamoured to log their request to opt out from its directory seems to have been borne out. Recent communications with the organisation behind the service suggest emailing them ex-directory requests instead.
When the service first shut down, a statement on the 118 800.co.uk website suggested the closure would be until the next day. A few days later, a new message appeared acknowledging that the service would be out of commission for some time while changes were made to the way the directory is managed.
The service left consumers aghast at the prospect of their private mobile phone numbers being given out to organisations and individuals without their knowledge. As a result, the 118 800 website was deluged with requests from people wanting to be made ex-directory. This can be done by lodging a request at the website and prefacing your phone number with an E.
However, Connectivity, the company that runs the mobile phone directory service, has been at pains to point out that someone purchasing a phone number using its service will not be able to directly call the person they want to reach. Instead, a text message will be sent from 118 800 stating that someone would like to call them and are they happy with being put in touch.
118 800 brokers the call rather than giving out the mobile phone number. The service costs £1 per number bought. The UK mobile phone directory is searchable by name and town. Connectivity has been told it must not list the numbers of anyone under the age of 18 and must make it as easy and transparent as possible for consumers to opt out of the service.
According to a boilerplate email received from the company behind the 118 800 service received in response to a request for details of when the site and the service will be back up and running, the service is unlikely to reappear soon.
"Our ex-directory system is currently unavailable due to the developments we are making to improve our service to customers and we expect this to continue for a little while yet. However our mobile phone connection service is also unavailable currently so no enquirer will be connected to a mobile phone for now."