I think the only reason this hasn't happened in the phone system is due
to resistance by humans to reading, writing, and entering very long
strings of digits. Unfortunately, computers aren't as fussy.
My experience is that as people become more (internationally) mobile their
use of IDD +xx aaaa bbbb form number spec becomes more common.
Likewise with major slices of the UK and Australia recently renumbered, people
were forced to ditch their paper investment in old numbers and dropped into
line in a semi-standard form of representation which has to be full-number
aligned, because the new digits are in front of the old semi-optional prefixes.
In other words, the old '7 digits is all people can handle' rule is melting
in the face of a larger pool of people who have to use longer digit strings.
George Michaelson | DSTC Pty Ltd
Email: ggm(_at_)dstc(_dot_)edu(_dot_)au | University of Qld 4072
Phone: +61 7 3365 4310 | Australia
Fax: +61 7 3365 4311 | http://www.dstc.edu.au