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Encyclopedia > Telephone numbering plan

A telephone numbering plan is a plan for allocating telephone number ranges to countries, regions, areas and exchanges and to non-fixed telephone networks such as mobile phone networks. A typical dialed telephone number comprises digits that need not always be dialed (codes) and digits that must always be dialed (local number).



The structure is:

  • Access code (either international or national) - only necessary when dialing international and "national" (non-local domestic) calls. The national access code is often quoted as if it were part of the telephone number. One of these access codes must be dialed from mobile phones. The most common national access code is "0", and the most common international access code "00"; in the United States and Canada, however, "1" and "011" are used, respectively.
  • Country code - only necessary when dialing to phones in other countries. It is often quoted together with the international access code which must precede it in the dial string, especially in the United States and Canada (e.g. "011-XX-YYY-ZZZ-ZZZZ"). In international usage, telephone numbers are typically quoted with the country code preceded by a "+", and spaces in place of hyphens (e.g. "+XX YYY ZZZ ZZZZ"). (On GSM networks, "+" is an actual character that may be used internally as the international access code, rather than simply being a convention.)
  • Area code - only necessary dialed from outside the code area, from mobile phones, and (especially within North America) from within overlay plans. Area codes usually indicate geographical areas within one country that are covered by perhaps hundreds of telephone exchanges. It must usually be preceded in the dial string by either the national access code or the international access code and country code. Non-geographical numbers, as well as mobile telephones outside of the United States and Canada, do not strictly speaking have an area code even though they are usually written as if they do.
  • Local number - must always be dialed in its entirety. The first few digits in the local number typically indicate smaller geographical areas or individual telephone exchanges. In mobile networks they indicate the (original) network provider. Callers from a number with a given area/country code usually do not need to include this particular area/country code in the number dialed, which enables shorter 'dial strings' to be used. This is an issue when the number must be keyed by hand, but where the dialing is automated (increasingly common) it is not an issue - and it is arguably better to include the full number with access codes in devices that dial automatically.

A Verizon Central Office in Lakeland, Florida at night. ...


Although the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has attempted to promote common standards among nation states, numbering plans take different formats in different parts of the world. For example, the ITU recommends that member states adopt 00 as their international access code. However, as these recommendations are not binding on member states, some have not, such as the United States, Canada, and other countries and territories participating in the North American Numbering Plan. Monument in Bern, Switzerland. ... The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is a system for three-digit area codes and seven-digit telephone numbers that direct telephone calls to particular regions on a public switched telephone network (PSTN), where they are further routed by the local network. ...

The international numbering plan establishes country codes, that is, area codes that denote nations or groups of nations. The E.164 standard regulates country codes at the international level and sets a maximum length limit on a full international phone number. However, it is each country's responsibility to define the numbering within its own network. As a result, regional area codes may have: To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Generally the area codes determine the cost of a call. Calls within an area code and often a small group of adjacent or overlapping area codes are normally charged at a lower rate than outside the area. Special area codes are generally used for free, premium rate, mobile phone systems (in countries where the mobile phone system is caller pays) and other special rate numbers. There are however some exceptions, in some countries (e.g. Israel), calls are charged at the same rate regardless of area and in others (e.g. the UK) an area code is occasionally treated as two parts with different rates. A toll-free telephone number (or Freephone number in the UK) is a special telephone number, in which the calling party is not charged for the call by the telephone operator. ... Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers for telephone calls during which certain services are provided, and for which prices higher than normal are charged. ...

Open dialing plans

An open dialing plan is one in which there are different dialing arrangements for local and long distance telephone calls. This means that to call another number within the same city or area, callers need only dial the number, but for calls outside the area, an area code is required. The area code is prefixed by a trunk code (usually "0"), which is omitted when calling from outside the country. To call a number in Amsterdam in the Netherlands for example: Defining the dial plan A dial plan establishes the expected number and pattern of digits for a telephone number. ... Long distance in telecommunications, refers to telephone calls made outside a certain area, usually characterized by an area code outside of a local call area. ... Trunk code (ТС) is a digit or a combination of digits, used prior to the subscriber number for long distance dialling, not including the national prefix, which identifies uniquely a numbering area in a given country. ...

 xxx xxxx (within Amsterdam- no area code required) (020) xxx xxxx (outside Amsterdam) +31 20 xxx xxxx (outside the Netherlands) 

In the United States, Canada, and other countries or territories using the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), the trunk code is '1', which is also (by coincidence) the country calling code. To call a number in San Francisco, the dialing procedure will vary: This is a list of country calling codes, also known as international direct dialing (IDD) codes, which are needed to access international telephone services. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ...

 xxx xxxx (local calls, no area code required) 1 415 xxx xxxx (outside San Francisco) 415 xxx xxxx (mobile phones within NANP) +1 415 xxx xxxx (outside NANP) 

However, in parts of North America, especially where a new area code overlays an older area code, dialing 1 + area code is now required even for local calls, which means that the NANP is now closed in certain areas and open in others. Dialing from mobile phones is different in that the trunk code is not necessary. (Most mobile phones today can be programmed to automatically prepend a frequently-called area code as a prefix, allowing calls within the desired area to be dialed by the user as seven-digit numbers, though sent by the phone as 10-digit numbers.)

Open and closed dialing plan should not be confused with open and closed numbering plans. A closed numbering plan, such as found in North America, features fixed length area codes and local numbers. An open numbering plan, as found in assorted countries that have not yet standardized, features variance in length of area code or local number, or both. Closed dialing plans are rare where numbering plans are open.

Closed dialing plans

A closed numbering plan is one in which the subscriber's number is a standard length, and a closed dialing plan is one in which the subscriber's number is used for all calls, even in the same area. This has traditionally been the case in small countries and territories where area codes have not been required. However, there has been a trend in many countries towards making all numbers a standard length, and incorporating the area code into the subscriber's number. This usually makes the use of a trunk code obsolete. For example, to call Oslo in Norway before 1992, one would dial: 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ...

 xxx xxx (within Oslo - no area code required) (02) xxx xxx (within Norway - outside Oslo) +47 2 xxx xxx (outside Norway) 

After 1992, this changed to a closed eight-digit numbering plan, eg:

 22xx xxxx (within Norway - including Oslo) +47 22xx xxxx (outside Norway) 

In other countries, such as France, Belgium, Switzerland, and South Africa, the trunk code is retained for domestic calls, whether local or national, eg:

 Paris 01 xx xx xx xx (outside France +33 1 xxxx xxxx) Brussels 02 xxx xxxx (outside Belgium +32 2 xxx xxxx) Geneva 022 xxx xxxx (outside Switzerland +41 22 xxx xxxx) Cape Town 021 xxx xxxx (outside South Africa +27 21 xxx xxxx) 

While the use of full national dialing is less user-friendly than only using a local number without the area code, the increased use of mobile phones, which require full national dialing and can store numbers, means that this is of decreasing importance. It also makes easier to display numbers in the international format, as no trunk code is required- hence a number in Prague Czech Republic can now be displayed as: Prague (Czech: Praha (IPA: ), see also other names) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. ...

 +420 2xx xxx xxx formerly:[1] 02/xx xx xx xx (inside Czech Republic) +420 (0)2/xx xx xx xx (outside Czech Republic) 

Satellite phone numbering plans

Satellite phones are usually issued with numbers in a special country calling code. For example, Inmarsat satellite phones are issued with codes +870 through +874, while Iridium satellite phones are issued with codes +881 6 and +881 7. Some satellite phones are issued with ordinary phone numbers, such as Globalstar satellite phones issued with U.S. telephone numbers. Inmarsat is an international telecommunications company founded in 1979, originally as an intergovernmental organization. ... An Iridium phone (without the aerial) The Iridium satellite constellation is a system of 66 active communication satellites and spares around the Earth. ... Globalstar is a low Earth orbit satellite constellation for telephone and low-speed data communications, similar to (and competing with) the Iridium satellite system. ...

+870: SNAC (Single Network Access Code)
+871: Atlantic Ocean Region – East (AOR-E),
+872: Pacific Ocean Region (POR)
+873: Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
+874: Atlantic Ocean Region – West (AOR-W)

Inmarsat is an international telecommunications company founded in 1979, originally as an intergovernmental organization. ... ICO Satellite Management, LLC, formerly ICO Global Communications, plans to offer S-band mobile satellite services (MSS) via a satellite in geostationary orbit and auxilliary ground-based relays. ... An Iridium phone (without the aerial) The Iridium satellite constellation is a system of 66 active communication satellites and spares around the Earth. ... Globalstar is a low Earth orbit satellite constellation for telephone and low-speed data communications, similar to (and competing with) the Iridium satellite system. ... A Thuraya satellite phone Thuraya is a regional satellite phone provider, mainly focused on the Europe, Middle East, and Africa. ...

Special services

Some country calling codes are issued for special services, or for international/inter regional zones. This is a list of country calling codes defined by ITU-T recommendation E.164. ...

  • +388 – shared code for groups of nations
+388 3 – European Telephony Numbering Space - Europe-wide services

A toll-free telephone number (or Freephone number in the UK) is a special telephone number, in which the calling party is not charged for the call by the telephone operator. ... Shared Cost Service is an intermediate level of telephone call billing where the charge for calling a particular international phone number is partially, but not entirely, paid for by the recipient. ... Universal personal telecommunications (UPT) refers to a special segment of the international telephone number space which has been set aside for universal personal telephone numbers. ... The Global Mobile Satellite System (GMSS) is a general term referring to the selection of satellite phone providers available to private customers. ... International premium rate service (IPRS) refers to internationally available telephone-based premium services. ...

Numbering plans by global regions

// Main article: North American Numbering Plan Country Code: 1 International Call Prefix: 011 In the United States (including its territories), Canada, Bermuda, and 16 Caribbean nations, area codes are regulated by the North American Numbering Plan. ... Main article: Australian telephone numbering plan Country Code: 61 International Call Prefix: 0011 Telephone numbers in Australia consist of a single-digit area code (prefixed with an 0 when dialing within Australia) and eight-digit local numbers, the first four, five or six of which specify the exchange, and the... // Proposed Country Code: 3 In 1996, the European Commission proposed the introduction of a single telephone numbering plan, in which all European Union member states would use the code 3. Calls between member states would no longer require the use of the international access code 00. This proposal would have... // The Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions have their own separate country codes and telephone numbering plans. ... Country Code: 234 The area codes in Nigeria vary between 1 (Lagos and Ibadan) and 3 (for GSM networks) digits long. ...


  1. ^ (25 September 2000) "Číslovací plán veřejných telefonních sítí" (PDF). Telekomunikační věstník 9/2000. ISSN 0862-724X. Retrieved on 2006-10-13. (in Czech language)
    Numbering Plan for Public Telephone Networks - annotation of the article in English

PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Czech (čeština []) is one of the West Slavic languages, along with Slovak, Polish, Pomeranian (Kashubian), and Lusatian Sorbian. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
UK telephone numbering plan at AllExperts (2989 words)
The UK telephone numbering plan, also known as the National Numbering Plan, is regulated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which replaced the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) in 2003.
Note that the initial "0" of a telephone number (called the trunk prefix) is not properly considered part of the area code but is, rather, the national long distance calling prefix, and thus (for example) 023 is a "two-digit" area code.
This is similar to the use of fictitious telephone numbers in the United States and Canada with the digits 555.
Ofcom plans future of UK telephone numbering (637 words)
Telephone numbers are essential to UK households and businesses, and Ofcom must ensure the most effective use of this important national resource.
Ofcom plans to avoid changes to anyone's geographic number in the future, primarily by improving the efficiency with which numbers are allocated.
Telephone numbers will not be allocated to providers whose previous conduct points to a risk that they will be involved in future telephone scams.
  More results at FactBites »



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