Bedtime reading – the telephone directory

I managed to get my hands on the new Timor-Leste telephone directory for 2007-2008. It was released on 4 December 2007. There was a previous one but I only occasionally got my hands on it. The new one is slightly smaller than B5 size (170×240 mm) and is about 5 mm thick. It is in both Portuguese and English and runs to 156 pages. I read it as bedtime reading in one go.

The breakdown is :

  • Commercial yellow pages section organised by business type … 34 pages
  • White pages section organised alphabetically (and repeating many of the yellow page entries) … 30 pages, including 4 pages of government phone numbers at the start and repeated again in the alphabetic section
  • Preliminary guff on Timor Telecom services, how to make phone calls, tariffs, international phone number prefixes etc. … runs to 94 pages
  • The Dili section of the white pages runs to 20 pages and seems to include every number assigned to large organisations who probably pump most of them into their pabx systems. Other numbers associated with these larger entities are probably staff houses. Its all there.

I am not sure if unlisted numbers are an option and I suspect a number of people will be clamouring to get rid of their listing.

Rather than do a sudoku puzzle, I counted the number of unique organisations/people in the Dili white pages section and it came to 848. If one takes into account the total number of phone lines, the figure is probably around 1200. Most people use mobile phones and I would think the number of mobiles is at least a couple of thousand.

There are no entries for any of the major political figures here.

This is probably the only time in my life I will have read and summarised the entire phone book as bedtime reading in one hit. Yes I know … get a life.

7 thoughts on “Bedtime reading – the telephone directory

  1. is an interesting site for a similar survey of Timor’s telecommunications infrastructure at an IP layer.

    TT is advertising a total of 1024 IP addresses, the vast majority of which are still unused or are used internally. I’d be surprised if they had more than 150 permanent customers (plus dial up).

    It partly explains why the net is so bad over there – TT just doesn’t have a large enough customer base to make upgrading their external IP connectivity commercially interesting.

  2. James,

    Feel privileged. You are the first real human who I have ever unspammed.

    In one sense, you are probably right but give TT a competitor and even if bandwidth does not increase, there might be a little price competition.

  3. I think it’s rather cute. And sad. Will no doubt become a collector’s item once fair competition has broken the TT stranglehold on the country.

    Try this link for all tourism-related businesses:

    It’s still a work in progress, but already useful. The same publisher is working on a complete, general business directory too.

  4. Hi and thanks,

    I read your article on the Dili phonebook with interest. Currently I’m searching for the Timor-Leste Chamber of Commerce and Industry contact data – no information at all. Do you’ve any advice where to get it.

    Andreas from Jakarta

  5. Good god, Andreas

    Someone is ACTUALLY interested in an article about phone books !!

    As for TL Chamber of Commerce, the tourism sector is pretty much the front door to the chamber of commerce. Try any contacts at the following URL :

    I guarantee this will get you to the right place.

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