Telephone numbers in Bulgaria
Telephone numbers in Bulgaria are under an open dialing plan, similar to those of Germany and Austria. Area codes should only be dialed when necessary. Area codes are prefixed with a trunk code of 0 when dialled domestically.
Domestic numbers are limited to eight digits in length. Area codes vary in length from one to five digits. Subscriber number lengths vary accordingly, from seven digits down to three digits. Sofia lines on digital switches have seven-digit numbers, those on analog switches have six; in Plovdiv, Varna and Ruse both are six digits; and in most other province capitals lines on digital switches have six-digit numbers and analog have five.
For a very long time, the state-owned Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) had a monopoly on fixed telephone networks. However, this ended when a special law was adopted. BTC was privatized in 2004 and competing operators appeared.
Larger areas, such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas, are subdivided into zones. Although one cannot further reduce the number of dialed digits, the number itself shows which zone it is located in. For example, in Sofia, numbers starting with 2, 82, 92 are located in the Western suburbs, 7, 87, 97 in the Eastern suburbs, and 98 in the central area.
In the recent decade[when?] there has been an intensive process of replacing the old analog switches with modern digital ones. In areas where both analog and digital switchers are operating, a subscriber number shows by its first digit if it is connected to an analog or a digital switch. In some areas it is even possible to guess if a subscriber number was changed from analog to digital during its existence or was subscribed as digital initially. For example, in Blagoevgrad a number starting with 88 was subscribed as digital, and a number starting with a single 8 was analog before.
The first digit also shows if a particular subscriber number is operated by BTC or another operator.
The area codes are always cited with the trunk code. However, within the area, or when the Sofia code of (0)2 can be guessed from the context, it is omitted. As of 2012, "old" numbers in Sofia (i.e. ones beginning with an 8 or a 9) could still be dialed from within the capital without the city code; however, "new" numbers (ones beginning with a 4) invariably require the 02 city code.
Until 20 July 2003 GSM networks used six-digit subscriber numbers in accordance with the limit of eight digits for the domestic part of a number. With the increase of subscribers (and an international requirement), all (except Vivacom, which started operations in 2006) acquired new access codes. On 20 July 2003, Mobiltel used three codes ((0)87, (0)88, (0)89) and Globul used two ((0)98 and (0)99). When these limits were also to be overwhelmed, seven-digit subscriber numbers and single access codes per operator were introduced, hence M-tel reverted to 088 (+7 digits) only, while Globul took the old M-tel code 089 (+7 digits), and the rest were freed up. (Mobikom had gone through a similar change in the mid-90s – from (0)799 to (0)48).
This change provokes an error in citing mobile numbers, quite similar to that of erroneous UK telephone codes. The first digit of the subscriber number is most often cited as part of the access code, e.g. (0)887 XXXXXX, instead of the correct (0)88 7XXXXXX. This error remains for new subscriber numbers even for Vivacom (which entered the market with the 087 (+7 digits) code and has always remained so). However, unlike the situation in UK, this error has no effect since a mobile number must always be dialled with the access code.
Dialing to a mobile network requires the access code together with the 0. Dialing from a mobile network requires either an area or access code with the trunk or international format ((0)YY YXXXXXX or +359 YY YXXXXXX). The latter becomes a normal practice, since most people use number lists of their handsets, more people use their phones in roaming and all four operators show the caller ID in international format.
As in many countries, an area code is often written with the dialling code 0 prepended as if it were part of the area code itself.
|Code||Area or service|
|17x||Paging services (six digits, not active: 177: Link Paging, 178: Varna Page, 179: Mobipage)|
|30x||Smolyan Province codes (301: Smolyan, 309: Pamporovo)|
|31x||Plovdiv Province codes|
|33x||Plovdiv Province codes (331: Asenovgrad)|
|35x||Pazardzhik Province codes (350: Peshtera, 359: Velingrad)|
|36x||Kardzhali Province codes (361: Kardzhali)|
|37x||Haskovo Province codes (373: Harmanli, 379: Svilengrad)|
|39x||Haskovo Province codes (391: Dimitrovgrad)|
|41x||Stara Zagora Province codes (316: Chirpan)|
|430||Tetra mobile network|
|43x||Stara Zagora Province codes (431: Kazanlak)|
|45x||Sliven Province codes (453: Kotel, 457: Nova Zagora, 454: Tvarditza)|
|47x||Yambol and Haskovo Provinces codes (470: Topolovgrad, 478: Elhovo)|
|48||NMT mobile network Mobikom (six digits), disused|
|51x||Varna Province codes (518: Provadiya, 519: Devnya)|
|53x||Shumen Province codes (537: Novi Pazar, 538: Veliki Preslav)|
|55x||Burgas Province codes (550: South coast zone 1, 554: Nesebar)|
|57x||Dobrich Province codes (570: Kavarna, 579: Balchik)|
|59x||Burgas Province codes (590: South coast zone 2, 596: Pomorie)|
|60x||Targovishte Province codes (601: Targovishte, 608: Popovo)|
|61x||Veliko Tarnovo Province codes (610: Pavlikeni, 618 Gorna Oryahovitza)|
|63x||Veliko Tarnovo and Pleven Provinces codes (631: Svishtov)|
|65x||Pleven Province codes (650: Levski, 658: Belene)|
|67x||Gabrovo and Lovech Provinces codes (670: Troyan, 675: Sevlievo)|
|69x||Lovech Province codes (697: Lukovit)|
|700||Local rate numbers (five digits)|
|70x||Kyustendil Province codes (701: Dupnitsa)|
|71xx||Sofia Province codes (720: Etropole, 721: Kostinbrod, 722: Samokov)|
|74x||Blagoevgrad Province codes (745: Petrich, 746: Sandanski, 747: Razlog, 749: Bansko)|
|75x||Blagoevgrad and Sofia Provinces codes (750: Borovets, 751: Gotse Delchev)|
|77x||Pernik Province codes (777: Radomir)|
|79xx||Kyustendil Province codes|
|799||NMT mobile network Mobikom, disused, replaced by 048|
|800||Toll free numbers (five digits)|
|81x||Ruse Province codes (817: Byala)|
|83x||Razgrad Province codes (838: Kubrat)|
|85x||Silistra Province codes (855: Dulovo, 857: Tutrakan)|
|87||GSM/UMTS mobile network Vivacom (seven digits) *|
|88||GSM/UMTS mobile network MTel (seven digits)|
|89||GSM/UMTS mobile network Globul (seven digits) *|
|900||Value added services (five digits)|
|91x||Vratsa Province codes (910: Mezdra, 915: Byala Slatina)|
|93x||Vidin Province codes (936: Belogradchik, 938: Kula)|
|95x||Montana Province codes (953: Berkovitsa)|
|97x||Vratsa and Montana Province codes (971: Lom, 973: Kozloduy)|
|98||MVNOs on GSM/UMTS mobile network MTel (seven digits) †|
|999||WiMAX network MAX Telecom †|
* Until 2003, the codes 089 and 087 were used by M-Tel † Until 2003, the codes 098 and 099 were used by Globul – see above.
|112||general emergency call|
|120||wake up call|
|121||operator for long-distance calls within Bulgaria|
|123||operator for international calls|
|124||operator for international calls|
|125||operator for international calls|
|130||phone lines problems|
|143||emergency road service & road assistance|
|144||telephone information service|
|146||emergency road service & road assistance|
|147||area codes within Bulgaria|
|148||area codes within Bulgaria|
|149||area codes within Bulgaria|
|152||BTC local calls rates|
|153||BTC long-distance within Bulgaria calls rates|
|154||BTC international calls rates|
|157||BTC international calls rates|
|159||cultural events guide|
|164||shipping information (in Bourgas and Varna)|
|168||National Radio schedule|
|171||theater schedule (by city)|
|172||currency exchange rates|
|173||tales for kids|
|174||trains time-table (by city)|
|177||tales for kids|
|179||currency exchange rates|
|182||tramp shipping information (in Bourgas and Varna)|
|183||ocean shipping information (in Bourgas and Varna)|
|184||tanker shipping information (in Bourgas and Varna)|
|185||line shipping information (in Bourgas and Varna)|
|186||BTC digital services information|
|187||send a telegram|
|190||BTC rates guide|
|191||cinema schedule (by city)|
|196||sport lottery results|
|197||international dialing codes|
|198||BTC terms of payment|
|199||automatic telephone information guide|