Speaking about...
Landis & Gyr factory, service and test phonecards

ervice cards are for the use of the cardphone engineers and are not available to the public in unused condition. Some unused specimens do, however, fall into the hands of collectors in some countries. The cards are used from outside the cardphone to test the functionality of the card-reader but they cannot be used to make calls.
est cards are normally used by the telephone engineers to adjust the parameters of the card reader which requires that the telephone front be opened for access. They can be used around 30 times and are then discarded. Test cards are not cancelled in the normal way by the hot probe but it can be seen whether they have been used or not from the entry marks on the front of the cards where the metal 'fingers' which hold the cards down flat rub against them.
actory cards are cards which are not printed for any particular telco but have "Landis and Gyr" and often the words "SODECO" and "Phonocard" on them. They are often, but not always, blue and they have arrows in the top corners with numbers in them. These are called factory cards because they are mostly used within the factory at Zug for testing but they are also used as gap fillers when cards are urgently needed and for trials. The best known of these are the two Israel cards, one the "Welcome to Israel" cards given out to immigrants on arrival so they can tell people they have arrived and the other briefly used on buses between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They were also used in Poland (I think in a hotel) for it a while, in Finland and no doubt in other places. More significant are the Service and Test cards of the same type. Some big users of Landis and Gyr cards have their own Test and Service cards in their own colours and with their own logos but many telcos do not. These use the "Factory" Test an Service cards, always blue, but with the number corresponding to their own encoding in the corner so that the right cards can be supplied for their system. Many people have telephoned me over the years wanting to know which country a card they have found was intended for. Now it can be told and the numbers are as follows:

1 is Canada 2 is Israel
3 is Switzerland 4 is Belgium
5 is the USA 6 is Brunei
7 is Britain or Gibraltar 8 is Austria
9 is the Netherlands 10 is Malaysia
11 is Portugal 12 is Turkey
13 is Russia 14 is Malaysia again
15 is Taiwan 16 & 23 are Thailand
17 is Morocco 19 is Pakistan
and 22, the one most commonly found, is Miscellaneous meaning factory use, smaller users and anyone not included above.

Text by Steve Hiscocks.

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