(Please mask my email address. Thank you.)
This was, at least in france, a means of giving alternate phone companies the opportunity to serve customers. Thus, a number 01-1234-6789 would use france telecom, 41-1234-6789 would use tele2, etc. The first figure, 1, is reserved and used for emergence calls, e.g. 112 to call emergency, 116 to call paramedics, etc.
-er***** Moderator's Note *****
PLEASE put a request in the subject AND in the first line of your post if you want me to obfuscate your email address.
Bill Horne Temporary Moderator
(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)