Hello From The Other Side: Sweden Invites The World To Talk To Its People
Can you think of a country that has its own personal phone number? In an act that can only be described as one of the most peculiar ways to celebrate an anniversary, Sweden has become the first country to roll out its own phone number- and it’s for anyone in the world to dial up and talk about anything to a citizen or resident in the country. Launched by the Swedish Tourist Association, the hotline is in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the country abolishing censorship and passing a law to guarantee freedom of the press in 1766. The association seeks to “spark people’s curiosity about Sweden,” calling out Swedish residents to participate by registering as an ambassador and downloading an app (available on both iOS and Android) to receive international calls from all over the globe. If you’re iffy about privacy, the website states that conversations may be recorded for security reasons, although calls and phone numbers are anonymous and never shared.
How does it work? Outside callers who dial the Swedish number will be transferred through a switchboard that will be randomly connected to a Swede who has volunteered to be a cultural ambassador via the hotline. Some countries such as United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, USA, Brazil, Germany, France, Netherlands, Finland and Norway will have the privilege to call Sweden at the cost of a local phone call, while other international calls will be charged depending on the telco. Since launching on April 6, as of April 10, the service had received more than 36,542 calls, amounting to 90 days and 10 hours with 40% of the calls originating from the U.S., follow by the U.K. with 9%. Not long after the announcement, a reporter from The Verge tried it and commented it was a way to get a “better sense of Sweden.” What are you waiting for? Call the Swedish number yourself at +46 771 7193 336.
Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.