Talk:National conventions for writing telephone numbers

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New page[edit]

I've created this page because there doesn't appear to be any reference for how to format numbers correctly for a country.

The other "Telephone numbers in X" pages on wikipedia don't explicitly document how they are written, so a page listing everything briefly and accurately seems useful. The emphasis is different to documenting the structure of the telephone systems, which write the numbers in what appears to be a global standard of spaces separating groups.

It's difficult to find this information on the web. I hope that residents of countries will document their local conventions on this page.

I am a little uncertain about the NANP conventions. Official documents seem to use the 1-AAA-BBB-BBBB form, but many phone numbers written use spaces not hyphens. I think it best to match the NANP docs, as it won't look out of place to a resident, and is likely to be more correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benxnine (talkcontribs) 08:28, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

UK erroneous form[edit]

It's quite common in the UK to see attempts at writing a hybrid international/national form as +44 (0) AAAA BBBBBB. Whilst this is wrong, it's probably common enough that it should be mentioned, particularly to help non-Brits to interpret these. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

DONE ( (talk) 10:20, 18 October 2009 (UTC))
See also, article: It is not +44 (0)207 123 4567, it is +44 20 7123 4567 (2009-11-08 21:45 (UTC))
and this article: (0) in phone numbers - (talk) 20:43, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

I have removed the assertion that this representation is wrong; as a British person I have very rarely encountered phone numbers including the international code expressed in any other way, and "wrong" in this context at best means "unconventional", which this representation certainly is not - a statement that the most common representation is unconventional should at the very least be cited. (talk) 10:39, 18 March 2014 (UTC) I've modified my previous edit to include the statement from the article above that this representation is inconsistent with the international standard. (talk) 11:22, 18 March 2014 (UTC)


I think that 0AAAA/BBB is in Germany popular. I know many people who use it --Nandus (talk) 16:38, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Jesus Murphy!![edit]

Minor alteration to headline under UK entry[edit]

A small ammendment was made today to the former subheading in the UK entry in order to avoid accusation of 'Londoncentricity' - the misquoting of area codes is much worse in Bristol and some fo the '011x" areas than it is on the '020' area, so I have remodelled the headline to suit a UK-wide picture. Please feel free to ameliorate if you can find a better wording. Mapmark (talk) 21:53, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Business extensions?[edit]

In North America at least, it's fairly common for a business to use an extension number for reaching a specific employee. (e.g. dialing a business and hearing the automated message, "If you know the extension of the person you wish to dial, please enter it now, or dial 0 to speak to an operator.") Is there a standard way to render telephone numbers which include an internal extension number? I have seen many variations, for example: 416-555-1234 extension 123, or 416-555-1234 ext 123, or 416-555-1234x123... etc. -- Mecandes (talk) 04:13, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Leading 1 in North American numbers[edit]

The article states

The format AAA-BBB-BBBB or sometimes 1-AAA-BBB-BBBB is often seen; the number 1 is the long-distance access code, and is usually required before the area code when calling long distance. While this appears to be a dialling pattern, it is actually part of the directory number, because the country code for the NANP is 1.

While it's true that the country code for NANP countries is 1, the Dial-1 access for long distance dialing dates from decades before international direct distance dialing was available. I believe this is a dialing pattern which by coincidence is the same as the country code. (I concede this may well be an engineered coincidence, especially if it were the Americans who initially divvied up the codes.)

I cannot dial 011-1-212-555-1212 (from the US) and expect it to connect. Further, if I dial 44-20-7777-8888 I'll ring up local number 442-2077 (if I'm allowed 7D dialing) or +1 442 207 7778 (if I'm allowed 10D dialing). My conclusion is that I'm not dialing a country code when I dial 1-212-555-1212.

Can anyone produce a reference straightening this out? Co149 (talk) 17:17, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't have a reference, but you are correct that the 1 that precedes an area code in intra-NANP dialing is not intrinsically the same as the country code 1. It may have been contrived that way, though. Doug Ewell 20:49, 18 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by DougEwell (talkcontribs)

USA format - minor consideration[edit]

I do not know how much of the following you may consider using, but I am posting it here to allow those that make the decisions to decide how to use or not use the information presented.

The USA format is divided into four groups. Long Distance Code = 1 (country code if calling from outside the USA) Area Code = AAA Prefix (also known as the exchange) = BBB (all twisted pair numbers with the same exchange are served from the same land line telephone office) Number = CCCC 1AAABBBCCCC would be the number as you would dial it. Variations in telephone service may require the exclusion of groups of digits.

To improve human readability, the following formats are commonly used: 1 AAA BBB CCCC (usually on the internet, but seen in print and is easy to enter) 1-AAA-BBB-CCCC (most popular and used in most phone books and advertisements) 1(AAA)BBB-CCCC (archaic and becoming less popular) 1AAABBBCCCC (usual format for computer database storage and becoming more popular especially on the internet for searchable phone numbers)

There are many other variations, but I believe these to be the most popular in common use. I have seen mixes of spaces, commas, hyphens, slashes, etc being used, but once all the extraneous characters are stripped away, you get back to the 1AAABBBCCCC format. Try entering your telephone number in that format in your favorite search engine and see what comes up, then try using your favorite format. (talk) 13:39, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Letters in telephone numbers[edit]

Something should be added (perhaps it's elsewhere, in which case it needs a link) about the practice seemingly common in the USA of businesses choosing numbers which can be remembered by the letters on alphanumeric telephone keypads (e.g. "call 1-800-YUM-PIZZA for pizza delivery!"). When did this arise? Is it used anywhere else? Anything more to say about it? In the UK, where I am, you very rarely hear something similar, and when I have noticed attempts to introduce it the business in question has generally spelt out the real number for those who are utterly confused. For example there is a commercial service for reverse charge calls whose number is 0800 REVERSE, but I remember their TV ads also saying 0800 7383773. Beorhtwulf (talk) 21:01, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

- Beorhtwulf makes a good point, I agree with this ideaMapmark (talk) 10:26, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Dotted separators origin[edit]

Who started the stupid dotted convention of writing telephone numbers? I'd really like to know. Dread Lord CyberSkull ✎☠ 13:25, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


The entire continent of Africa appears to be missing! I came here looking specifically for formats for various African countries. --Coconino (talk) 16:22, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

You'll probably have to add it. My country (Ukraine) is missing too. -- (talk) 18:53, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Individual country information can still be found through the details in the telephone numbers by country category. -- (talk) 17:07, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

(0) in US and Canada[edit]

Can anyone explain when the zero is dialled in these US and Canadian numbers?

e.g. +1 (0) 888 555-7777, see: search result 1 and search result 2.

Is this a local format for particular states? -- (talk) 17:15, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the search-result links you provided, it would appear that the (0) is superfluous. The examples on those pages all appear to be of the form +1 (0)NPA NXX-XXXX. I don't know why someone would write this form. You shouldn't be dialing that 0 either within the North American country, nor should you dial it when calling from other countries. I can only assume it's a mistake, borrowed from other countries where a zero-prefix for the NPA is significant. Shamino (talk) 13:12, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Zero as a prefix in NANP numbers is used only for operator assistance - for example, if I needed to call a spouse or a parent in an emergency, from a payphone, and had no way to pay for the call, I would prefix the 10-digit number NPA-NXX-XXXX with 0, the operator would pick up, and I would indicate that I wanted to reverse the charges. There is no other use for a 0 prefix in NANP numbers, and NANP numbers should not be written with a 0 prefix. (talk) 00:08, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Why is ISO8601 referenced in the Germany part ?[edit]

"The most prominent is DIN 5008 (ISO 8601) but the international format E.123 and Microsoft's canonical address format are also very common."

ISO8601 is "Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:31, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Middle Eastern countries[edit]

I don't see any Middle Eastern countries. I don't have this information to add it myself. I already saw the "Africa" talk topic above and checked out the categories link, but there are none there too. Could anyone add this? -- ADTC Talk Ctrb 08:37, 29 July 2014 (UTC)