Sprint Phone Bills Will List All Calls to Israel as Being Calls to “The Palestinian Authority”–Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A lengthy email that claims to have documented the fact that on its phone bills, Sprint is listing calls to Israel as being calls to “The Palestinian Authority.” The sender of the email claims to have checked with other long distance services and that AT&T said there is a new area code for Israel that is listed as Palestine, but that AT&T turned down the opportunity to use it because they could not find any country on the map called “Palestine.” The email claims that the area code change was because of action by the International Telecommunications Union, which is not a government agency and has no regulatory authority. The writer of the email then says that the International Telecommunications Union is located in Geneva, which is a hang-out for Arabs. The email urges you to cancel your Sprint account in protest.
This eRumor gets a little complicated but the main fear of those who circulate it is that Sprint has made a political statement in the midst of controversy in the Middle East.
If Sprint really had decided to list all phone calls from places like Jerusalem as having been placed from “The Palestinian Authority,” it would have been a significant slap at the Israelis.
According to its website, the International Telecommunications Union is an organization that helps coordinate the complex world of telecommunications. In a move that was opposed by Israel, the ITU decided in 1999 to grant a separate area code (970) to the areas from parts of Jerusalem to the Jordan river on the east that are sometimes referred to as the “Occupied West Bank.” The Palestinian authority is the entity that handles practical governmental affairs for the Palestinians, so the area code is listed that way. If you dial into areas that are regarded as being under the umbrella of The Palestinian Authority, your Sprint phone bill will reflect that. In the same way, if you dial into Israeli areas outside of that, your Sprint bill will say that you called Israel.
A Sprint representative told TruthOrFiction.com, that Sprint uses the codes designated by the ITU and “…in no way expresses political or any other statements through its provision of service.”
According to the folks at Sprint, there was another, temporary, problem with the listing of locations in the Middle East. When the new 970 area code came into being, there was a brief period when it was accidentally listed on their website as the code for “Palestine,” but was quickly changed.