Using 900 numbers for adult entertainment lines was a prevalent practice in the early years of the industry.
This practice continues, along with the use of these numbers for things such as software technical support, banking access, and stock tips.
For example, a "psychic hotline" type of 1-900 number may charge .99 for the first minute and 99 cents for each additional minute.
Initially, consumers had no choice regarding the accessibility to 900/976 numbers on their phones.
A call to either one of these numbers can result in a high per-minute or per-call charge.
Other services include directory enquiries, weather forecasts, competitions and voting (especially relating to television shows).
Diplomatic services, such as the US Embassy in London or the UK Embassy in Washington, have also charged premium rates for calls from the general public.
One early use was by Saturday Night Live producers for the sketch "Larry the Lobster", featuring Eddie Murphy. AT&T and the producers of SNL split the profits of nearly 0,000.
Earlier, 976 numbers used 976 as a local prefix (970 or 540 in some markets like New York state), though it was not assigned to a specific telephone exchange like other prefixes.