Citation required re long distance calls edit
I worked for Northwestel in the Yukon, and until about 1991, we did indeed use mark sense cards (IBM 22134) to record the details for billing of long distance calls that did not fit within the strict standard of calls tracked automatically using electronic toll ticketing. We used them for manual mobile telephone service calls (VHF and HF-SSB), conference calls, and calls to and from persons communicating over the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) with the outside world. The cards were also used to set up credits for unsatisfactory ETT calls - poor signal, cut-off, wrong number.
Thousands of these cards were processed weekly, until ETT could replace it in the early 1990s. I did not fill these cards out myself, but from my early years with the company around 1981, I pulled individual tickets to answer customer inquiries about a call, and in 1985-86, I was involved in processing the cards from the operators so the data became available to the computer for billing. The cards came in batches, and I ran them through a card reader, then ran them through a keypunch machine to type the two-letter-eight-number serial number on each individual card so that the serial number on the customer bill could be followed to a particular card on the racks adjacent to the Toll Investigation department. The machine could be very temperamental, and jam and damage the cards, though I never lost a card completely to damage.
The front side of the cards, which were used vertically rather than horizontally, had 40 rows of twelve columns. From left to right the columns were 0 (or sometimes 10), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and the two zone columns with special purpose bubbles. The rear of the card had places for handwriting of information and a place for time stamping of a rotary-shaped stamp indicating start and finish times. The handwritten information would include details that could not be encoded, such as personal names, mobile identifiers and the locations of the different parties to a conference call.
On the front side, the first ten rows were used for the destination phone number.
The next ten were used for the third-number billing when appropriate.
Three rows were used in certain ways to indicate mobile identifier formats abnormal to Northwestel, such as "N41" in BC Tel mobile customers' identifiers.
Two rows for the Operator Number.
One row for the for the call type (1 was Operator handled, 2 was third-number billed, 3 was "credit card" (actually a long distance calling card, not a Visa card), 4 was collect, 5 was Zenith, 6 was sent-paid (paid at the originating point), and I don't remember what 7, 8 and 9 were for, though 7 was often known as "received paid", 8 may have been coin-paid.
One row for the hour the call was made (the columns were 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12), with AM and PM bubbles nearby, and a 30 bubble to indicate it was more than half past the hour.
Seven rows were used for the originating number (we had two area codes, so we kept cards from each area code in a separate group).
Two rows to indicate minutes - up to 99, with a 100 bubble and a 200 bubble, to allow marking up to 399 minutes.
Four rows to indicate the charge for the call, with $100 and $200 bubbles, a Time&Charges bubble, a Directory Assistance bubble, and ones rarely used for per minute rate.
Other supplemental bubbles were for Coin, Hotel, Radio, SSB, Cut-off, Poor Transmission, Wrong Number, Dial rate. Adaptations over the years resulted in the "Conf" bubble being used for "overseas". Station, Person-to-Person and Person-Call Back bubbles.
Calls into and out of the DEW line used an "889-391" mark code for identifying the location, and on the back of the card, the caller or called party's actual location - PIN 3, CAM Main, etc. - was handwritten, and I once saw "Sondre stromfjord", a location in Greenland! Outgoing calls were billed to a special calling card issued by Northwestel to personnel stationed along the line. (889, as well as 888, 887 and 886, were used until the 1990s to indicate locations in North America that were not identified by a direct dial exchange. 881, 882, 883 and 885 served a similar function for non-dialable locations in Mexico. Each of these fake "area codes" was followed by a three digit code, which could begin with 0 or 1, to indicate a particular location, for example, 889-949 was the mobile radio channel for Lake Laberge, 889-959 was the Mickey channel, 889-947 was the Fox channel, and 889-391 was Lady Franklin Point or the DEW line. Some of these special points indicated a single phone on a ranch in Nevada, for example, that was far from any town.)
The need for the mark sense cards came to an end around 1991 when the cord-board positions for mobile operators were taken out of service, and the manual mobile base stations were tied into the TOPS-MP system supplied by Nortel, and the ticketing function for such calls handled directly off the DMS-200 switch. An operator would dial a two-digit code to indicate voice-call or selective-call mobile number, a three digit code to identify the mobile base station, and five digits to identify the mobile. Voice called mobiles were verbally announced by the operator, while the DMS switch supplemental equipment would pulse out the five digit numerics for a selective-call mobile, all of this activity as well as incoming calls from mobiles now recorded on the DMS switch from information keyed by the operator at the TOPS console.
I don't know how the DEW line billing changed. Calls on that system may have simply stopped as the North Warning System brought in a superior call system, perhaps the Defence Switched Network with direct dial capability.
I have scanned two cards in my possession and can post them if desired.