get2Clouds

History of the '555' number - and how you can finally get one

2018-01-03
marilyn

When registering get2Clouds® and using its end-to-end encrypted messenger, users can register their mobile number or create a “555” number. This is great for SIM-less devices, or to protect anonymity.  It also means users can have different get2Clouds profiles for different devices, as users can register as many devices as they want.  

The idea of customers creating their own number to register came to NOS Microsystems when messaging apps could not be used in SIM free devices. So, looking to American movies and TV shows for inspiration, the anonymous 555 number was born. When watching shows from the US, you know that when phone numbers are uttered on screen they will always start with the prefix “555” as real numbers in the US do not start with those digits.  

Telephone companies had encouraged TV and movie producers to use the 555 prefix for fictional telephone numbers since the early 1960s. The phone providers wanted to stop their customers being prank called by enthusiast viewers. Pity they didn’t sent the memo to the 1980s group Tommy Tutone’s who had a hit single with “867-5309/Jenny”, causing no end of annoyance to people in each area code who happened to really have that number.

The 555 prefix became such an on-screen staple that it’s joked about in the 1993 movie Last Action Hero where the main character, a boy, gets transported into an action film. To convince Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character that they’re in a movie he asks passersby their phone number. Their answers all begin with 555, and he then explains that the only people who have numbers with 555 are in the movies.

Dialing 555-2368 will get you the Ghostbusters, the hotel room from Memento, Jim Rockford of The Rockford Files, and Jaime Sommers from The Bionic Woman, among others.

In 1994, 555 numbers were made available for personal or business use in the US—except for 555-0100 through 555-0199, which were held back for fictional use. Attracted by the prospect of catchy nationwide numbers like 555-TRIP for travel reservations or 555-TAXI for cab service, applications poured in from newspapers, airlines and radio stations, but they soon learned that owning a phone number isn’t all that useful if you don’t also own a phone company that can connect the number. Phone companies protested that setting up these services would be wildly expensive; in 2003 Verizon told The New York Times that adding the nationwide 555 service to its systems would cost the company $108 million. Verizon did offer to hook up the 555 numbers for owners, but the same Times story noted that the service usually required a $2,500 set-up fee per area code.

For those who covet their own catchy 555 number, that’s FREE to set up and will actually work, they can download get2Clouds, and enjoy a secure messenger, secure cloud, secure large file transfer. get2Clouds delivers the most complex encryption and data protection to the most simplistic and intuitive user experience.