The printed phone book is giving way to the digital age

The demand for printed telephone directories is decreasing in Switzerland. Keystone / Str

Private telephone numbers in Switzerland will only be listed on digital platforms from next year, as the iconic printed telephone directory will be discontinued, ending 142 years of existence.

This content was published on September 14, 2022 – 16:35

swissinfo.ch/mga

The first Swiss telephone directory “Pages Blanches” was printed in 1880 with only 98 entries. This figure rose to one million entries in 1959 and peaked at 4.2 million telephone numbers in the 1990s, before reducing in magnitude at the turn of the millennium.

The advent of the internet and smartphones, along with an increase in annoying cold calling from advertisers, has reduced people’s demand for their private numbers to be listed in a directory, the publishing company said. Localsearch.

But perhaps the most significant change was an amendment to Swiss law in 1997 that had previously made it mandatory to list household telephone numbers on the printed pages of a directory.

Technology also played a role in the demise of the printed phone book. The arrival of mobile phones has reduced the number of Swiss fixed lines by three million since 2000.

In 2017, Swiss public broadcaster SRF said the number of entries in the white pages was decreasing by around 5% per year. The printed directory is getting thinner and less popular – and by the end of 2022 it will disappear completely.

The rise of telemarketing and stricter rules to protect private data have encouraged more people to keep their private numbers secret. It also reduced the number of private phone numbers listed in digital directories.

From early 2023, the White Pages will cease to exist, but the Yellow Pages directory of business numbers will continue for the foreseeable future, Localsearch said.

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