Even international political news can have geeky technological implications.
On July 15, 2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced that the world's newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, has been assigned the international dialing code 211, following the country's formal recognition as a United Nations Member State.
The South Sudan Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services welcomed the new code, which has particular resonance for South Sudan's citizens as representing the year in which South Sudan gained independence (2011), the date of its referendum (which took place in the first day of the first month of 2011), and a symbol of good fortune. The number had been specifically requested following a special Council of Ministers Resolution.
On independence and recognition by the UN General Assembly, a country can apply to ITU for a country code. In this case, ITU officials had been in contact with South Sudanese officials since January 2011 to explain the procedures in the case of independence, which meant the country code could be pre-allocated and assigned as soon as the UN General Assembly gave South Sudan recognition.
The global country code numbering system is defined in an ITU standard known as ITU-T Recommendation E.164. ITU communicates this information to other Member States and the world's telecommunication operators in a publication called the ITU Operational Bulletin, which will also detail the transitional numbering plan from the previous to the new country code. In addition to the country code, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan will be assigned a mobile country code (MCC) and a signalling area/network code (SANC). SANCs facilitate all telephone calls by indicating how calls should be routed.