To avoid 050 hassle, read this

From December 15th all mobile numbers in the UAE will have to be dialed using the prefix ‘050’. If you live in the Emirates, own a mobile, and are thinking this won’t affect you much however, think again. Consider how many mobile numbers are in your phone and then think about the process of changing them all; you’re looking at a whole afternoon’s button bashing right there. Surely there must be a quicker way than amending one contact number at a time, right? There are several…

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By  Matthew Wade Published  November 16, 2006

|~||~||~|Having been struck by the potential enormitude of this brain-draining task a couple of weeks back, I’ve contacted several of the region’s mobile phone vendors to find out whether any easier ways of prefixing numbers exists. The findings are interesting; whilst there’s no way to press one set of buttons and change all your numbers, there are ways to speed up the process. Bad news first: if you own a standard (read: basic) mobile handset, such as those produced by Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, I’ve spoken to all these firms and the answer is that there isn’t a quick way of changing your numbers, at least using your mobile alone. The answer is to bring in third-party help, as there’s actually a relatively simple, PC-based method of making the 050 change. If you’ve 85 dirhams to spare and you’re near a CompuMe store (or a small independent computer accessory retailer, such as those down Bur Dubai way), I advise you to hunt out and buy idream Multimedia’s 'SIM Card Reader/Manager' product. This is effectively a modified flash disk. You just slot your phone’s SIM card into the disk, plug it into your PC’s USB slot, and use the supplied PC software to save all your contacts onto your computer. Your mobile contacts can then be amended in turn by simply pasting 050 in front of each mobile number and thereafter saving your numbers back onto your phone’s SIM card. (I know it’s still niggly, yes, but it’s much quicker than amending each contact in turn on your phone your phone’s handset.) If you’re lucky enough to have a mobile phone that can connect to your PC, the chances are that the supplied PC syncing software includes contact synchronisation features. This means you can download, view and amend your contact numbers on your PC, as with the product above. Nokia’s ‘PC Suite’ for example can certainly speed up your number crunching in this way. The star company when it comes to the big number change however - providing you own one of its handhelds – could be i-mate, which is developing an application specifically to deal with the 050 changeover. How inspired is that? The firm’s tech team, led by its director Jon Moss, is apparently putting together an easy-to-use app that will make the transition simple for users of its Windows Mobile-based PDAs and smartphone. At the time of writing, no more info was available, but if I were an i-mate device owner I’d be sure to check its customer website before December the 15th. ||**||

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