Telia closes down telephone traffic to Diego Garcia

On March 2, 2004, Telia is discontinuing automatic telephone traffic to the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean because of growing problems with modem hijacking, which results in large phone bills for people with dial-up modem connections. Call traffic to the island will be closed until further notice.
At the end of 2003, Telia noticed a sharp increase in the number of calls to Diego Garcia. Because the island is not a regular destination for Telia's customers to call, Telia started to investigate the reason for the growing traffic and concluded that it was a question of modem hijacking. Telia has therefore shut down certain phone number series to the island.
"We have decided to close all automatic traffic to Diego Garcia to protect our customers," says Ralph Arnestig, head of customer relations at TeliaSonera Sweden. "But there is a risk that the modem hijackers will move their operations to other countries. As long as the hijacking does not affect ordinary foreign destinations, we are prepared to close down traffic to other countries where modem hijacking occurs."
Telia's closing of traffic to Diego Garcia does not affect calls made with other operators, calls from mobile phones to the island, or calls that customers make through the Telia Mikrosamtal service. Calls can still be connected to Diego Garcia through phone directory service companies with call forwarding service.
In Sweden, Telia's Telia Kod service, which is free of charge, provides good protection against modem hijacking. With Telia Kod, customers can block their phones for toll calls (0900 numbers) and for calls to countries outside the Nordic region that are billed by Telia.
There are several pages on the Internet that invite customers to click on links to different services, such as to download ring tones for their mobile phone. Although warnings are displayed on a number of these pages, many customers miss reading this information. The warning states that if you decide to click on the link, you are authorizing a new connection to a number that goes to Diego Garcia. The regular long-distance connection is changed until the customer changes it back to the ordinary one. Calls to Diego Garcia cost SEK 10.95/minute.
Hans G. Larsson, Press Manager, Consumer Segment, TeliaSonera Sweden,
phone + 46 8 713 58 30.
Ralph Arnestig, Head of Customer Relations, TeliaSonera Sweden,
phone +46 8 713 58 30.
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