Talk:Telephone numbering plan

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Telephone numbering plan:
  • Put international call prefix at top of all sections.
  • Undersized Sections with articles that can be used as source material for a summary here.
    • Argentina
    • Austria
    • China (PRC)
    • Colombia
    • Cyprus
  • Country codes with no section either here or in a seperate article
    • Belgium
    • Denmark
    • Macau
    • The Former Yugoslavia (except Serbia/Montenegro)
  • Sections in need of reduction
    • North America. Some information on the US is duplicated within the article or excessive detail.


I just edited the part at the end of the Australia section, which claimed that the numbering system was 'not perfect' as it didn't exactly follow state boundaries. There are valid reasons why it doesn't, due to regional variations, and I explained these in the article itself. 05:59, 24 August 2006 (UTC)


Japan's telephone numbering plan -- I just submitted a section on it and it's a bit long. Should I make an independent article about it? (Heian-794, 2004-08-30) - 21:00, August 29, 2004 (UTC)

New entry to this page[edit]



Actually, there is a difference in open and closed between dialing plans and numbering plans.

An open numbering plan means that there is no uniformity of number and area code length. Britain still is, to some extent, an open numbering plan.

A closed numbering plan means that there is uniformity. North America and Australia are examples of a closed numbering plan.

An open dialing plan means that the area code is not always required in dialing. North America and Australia are examples of an open dialing plan.

A closed dialing plan means that the entire "national number" must be dialed on all calls, including local calls, throughout the national numbering plan. France would be an example of a closed dialing plan. North America does not yet qualify, as there are still vast areas where the area code does not yet need to be dialed for local calls. For long distance purposes, North Americans must always dial the area code.

Some people in the numbering authorities of the North American Numbering Plan assume that a closed dialing plan will eventually be in place, and would be a prerequisite to the Expansion Plan that they recommend. This plan involves adding two digits between the area code and central office code, using 0s and 1s, thus creating eight digit "local" numbers that begin with a 0 or 1. Since, in their view, 10-digit dialing would already be mandatory, people should not be thinking of their phone number as just seven digits any more, anyway. Nevertheless, in non-overlaid area codes, people will still think of their numbers in the shorter form, and may question or resist a local number that begins with 0 or 1 in quotation, wondering if it is a long distance call and requires four or five additional digits. (e.g. 993-9225 in Dawson City becomes 0993-9225 - but is that actually 0-8670-0993-9225? Or 0-8670-993-9225 or 0-867-993-9225?)

There are superior options to expansion of the North American Numbering Plan that make use of the 80 reserved area codes that have a nine as the middle digit. By using these codes, it is possible to continue (as a flash cut from 7 to 8 digit) local dialing without area code in non-overlaid areas. New York 212 would become 2912, with no ambiguity since there is no 291 area code. At the same time, a 3 could be added in front of the local number, so 212-646-1234 would become 2912-3646-1234. At the end of permissive dialing, some 720 new area codes would become available, including 2812, 2712, 2612, 2512, 2412, 2312, 2212 (since 281, 271, 261, 251, 241, 231 and 221 would no longer exist), and even 2120, 2121, 2122, etc., since 212 would no longer exist. Choosing 3 to add to local numbers makes it an easy slogan to promote the change: 9 plus 3 equals 12 digit numbers.

Until the assignment of 440, 441 and 443 as area codes in the mid-1990s, there actually was another option that could have been employed: the prefixing of 4 in front of all existing area codes. (Once the first 4NX area code was assigned, this option was lost.) The slogan at the time could have been, for the new 12-digit numbers, add a 4 to make the area code four digits, and an 8 to make the local number eight digits. (2005-May-6) - 23:14, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Area codes and rates for calls[edit]

Area codes have absolutely no effect on the rates for a call, and when new area codes are introduced, phone companies advise their customers that rates will not change.

Area codes and central office codes, however, are used as reference identifiers to a set of coordinates known as V & H Coordinates. An area code may change, but the V&H coordinates do not. For example, when Hamilton, Ontario, changed in 1993-94 from NPA 416 to NPA 905, the V&H stayed the same, but the reference identifier changed from 416-522 to 905-522, for example, in the case of the 522 exchange in Hamilton.

When a call is completed, the exchange closes a record that includes the originating number, the destination number and assorted other billing instructions. This record is immediately, or in a batch transfer a few times a day, transferred to the billing computer.

When a call record arrives in the billing computer, the computer analyzes the record. In the NANP, it takes the first six digits of the originating and destination number and references the computer's database for North America to find the details of those locations. For points within Canada and the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, the V&H coordinates are obtained for each of the two points, and the distance is calculated using the differences between the two V coordinates and the two H coordinates. A formula works out the diagonal mileage between them.

This mileage figure is checked against a table of rates. For example, Bell Canada would have an "intra-company" table for calls within its operating area, a "trans-Canada" table for calls to points in most of the rest of Canada, a "Northwest" table for calls to the far north, a Hawaii table, an Alaska table and a United States table. Each table specifies a per-minute rate for a given mileage band (e.g. 0 to 16, 17 to 24, 25 to 40, 41 to 80, 81 to 160, 161 to 300, etc.).

For calls outside Canada/USA, the location is identified differently: each Caribbean nation and each point outside the NANP, for example, has a fixed rate regardless of the distance from the location in Canada or the USA. Some companies in the United States may still be using a two-line rate for calls to Mexico: one rate to a point on the US/Mexico border, and another rate for that point onward inside Mexico, then add them together.

St. Louis and East St. Louis are in different area codes, but the rate is much lower than from East St. Louis to points clear on the Indiana border to the east, although that area code (618) stretches across Illinois. If 618 is split, the rate will not change for calling Grayville on the Indiana border. Area codes simply reference the real rate drivers: the V&H coordinates.

GBC 06:52, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

This is of course highly system specific. There are many billing systems, with many modes of operation.

That's a nice explanation, GBC. I don't know if you're around eight years later, but thanks.
The article, like this talk-page section, uses the term "V&H" without defining it. I've heard it explained that that stands for "vertical and horizontal" geographic coordinates, which are like latitude and longitude, respectively, but based on the assumption that the Earth is flat. The V&H of the ends of a call can be plugged into the Pythagorean theorem to find the distance covered. The coordinates are given in units of miles (though, of course, the math works the same for any units -- kilometers, furlongs, parsecs, ells, what-have-you).
I'm not sure I have all the right. I'm less interested in that than in asking, is it explained anywhere on Wikipedia? Or is there an authoritative source to cite? Doesn't it merit an article (or coverage somewhere), since it's relevant to this article at least? TypoBoy (talk) 18:24, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Jennifer Stewart Jennstewart (talk) 11:18, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Jennifer Stewart Jennstewart (talk) 11:18, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

London, United Kingdom[edit]

London is now stable at eight-digit numbers, and since introduction of "020" to replace "0171" and "0181", the former seven digit numbers are extended to eight digits with the prepending of the 7 or 8. This is the last "wrenching" change that Londoners are subject to for many years to come. You cannot dial within London with only seven digits... you must dial eight digits, or 020 plus eight digits. Since all existing numbers begin now with a 7 or an 8, additional initial digits can now be employed, and 3 is the first additional digit to be introduced.

A crude analogy would be if, say, in New Mexico, Albuquerque had central office codes beginning only with 2, 4, 5 and 7 (e.g. 261, 438, 527, 709), while rural New Mexico had 3, 6, 8 and 9, then a code split occurred. Now, Albuquerque starts to get numbers beginning with 3 as well (e.g. 381).

A short history for London: originally it was 01 plus seven digits. In 1990, growth demanded the split, and it changed to 071 and 081. Then, nationwide, on phONEday, 1 was added after the first zero on all area codes, although specialized phones like cellular and toll free were treated differently. 071 became 0171 and 081 become 0181. The final change came circa 2000 when 0171nxxxxxx and 0181nxxxxxx were changed to 0207nxxxxxx and 0208nxxxxxx, with 020 serving as London's single code the way 028 is Northern Ireland's single code.

If the North American plan allowed such a change to happen (i.e., variable length phone numbers), one could imagine New York's five area codes amalgamated into one new code, e.g. (212) becomes (59)2, 347 becomes (59)5, 646 becomes (59)6, 917 becomes (59)7, 718 becomes (59)8, and the last digit is shifted to the local number, so all of New York is area code 59, with eight digit numbers. Then, in time, 3xxx-xxxx, 4xxx-xxxx, 9xxx-xxxx numbers are introduced.

GBC 04:09, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Hong Kong[edit]

This is a disagreement on how Hong Kong should be presented. User:Huaiwei changed [1] [2] [3] Hong Kong from a section to a subsection under China. She/he asserts that her/his point of view is the correct one, and should prevails. She/he later took one more step to remove Hong Kong from the article [4]. Although Hong Kong is part of the PRC in terms of sovereignty, it is assigned its own country code. In my opinion, on a list of numbering plans by country, there is no problem for Hong Kong to stand alone, as on many other lists. When there is a disagreement, the version prior to the contentious edit shall be displayed. — Instantnood 09:15, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

To put it simply, I am merely heading to your requests to follow your "policy" in un-doing contentious edits. Or are you saying that edit is not contentious?--Huaiwei 10:10, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
Please kindly remove Hong Kong from all similar lists by countriesy if you're serious with your point of view that presenting Hong Kong as a standalone section is contentious. At the same time, please bear in mind not to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. Thanks. — Instantnood 10:31, August 30, 2005 (UTC) (modified 12:06, August 30, 2005 (UTC))
First, you ask me not to disrupt wikipedia to make a point. Than you ask me to go remove HK from all country lists. I am utterly confused. What would you like me to do?--Huaiwei 11:36, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
It is confusing, but that's what you should be doing if you're serious with your point of view. (Please note I did not request you to remove Hong Kong "from all country lists", but "from all similar lists by country". Some lists by country does not share much smiliarities with this article, and may not be appropriate to be dealt with in the same way.) — Instantnood 12:06, August 30, 2005 (UTC)
And what exactly is "my point of view" in your books? Meanwhile, mind telling what is the difference between "from all country lists" and "from all similar lists by country"?--Huaiwei 12:35, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
Your point of view is precisely stated in this edit summary [5]. You said before on other discussion pages that Hong Kong is a "sub-entity" (subnational entity) instead of a dependent territory, and you tended to equate the definition of "country" with "sovereign State". The difference between the two is already mentioned. — Instantnood 12:59, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

Hong Kong is a special administrative region under Chinese sovereignty, and so is Macao. Functionally, it has a separate country code, and therefore, for the purposes of Telephone Numbering Plan, it is a distinct entity. I suggest that Hong Kong be retitled, "Hong Kong, China" in the shortest form, or if Wikipedia administrators are agreeable, "Hong Kong (special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)". If at some future date, Hong Kong is integrated into China's national numbering plan, there would then, of course, have to be harmony between the two plans in terms of internal numbering structure and routing digits. At that point, the 852 country code would be phased out. A similar situation may well prevail if the Republic of China/Taiwan is at at some point reunited with the People's Republic, and, as seems likely in such a circumstance, the "unofficial" 886 code is eliminated; there would have to be harmonization of the internal numbering structure and routing digits. In the near term, I would say that Macao is the most likely one to be integrated from 853 into 86; I say Macao, because it has the shortest internal telephone numbers that can easily be prefixed with a national area code, and because it is already functional under Chinese sovereignty. Hong Kong numbers are very long, and would require a two- or one-digit area code under +86. Taiwan numbers are also fairly long, and Taiwan still asserts separate governance, making integration unlikely at the present time. GBC 03:06, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

So far no plan has been revealed for the Hong Kong or Macao number plans to be integrated to be that of mainland China, and it's unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, the same as their own participation in international organisations and sport events. — Instantnood 09:02, August 31, 2005 (UTC)
But that is mere speculation. No one at this point in time can forsee how much the two SARs will intergrate back into the PRC over time, but logic tells us it can only go one direction, and not the other, unless, of coz, the two SARs decides to go independent. Irregardless, I agree with Gcapp1959 to have the two SARs listed as "XXX, China" as per how the UN lists it in country lists alongside the PRC.--Huaiwei 09:09, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
Right. No one can forsee if Wikipedia will still be working tomorrow, or if George W. Bush will still be alive the next hour. Since only sovereign states are members of the United Nations, the non-sovereign territories are listed according to the requests of members representing their interests. This is not a list of UN members, nor a publication of the UN. — Instantnood 09:27, 7 October 2005 (UTC) (modified 09:58, 7 October 2005 (UTC))
I find this comment "non-sovereign territories are listed according to the request of the members" highly disturbing. So theoratically, any unrecognised territory of the UN has greater liberty to assert its autonomy or independence by choosing to present itself in anyway it so chooses, including in a format usually reserved for independent, recognised countries? The UN is a representation of the world's independent states (and that of non-indendent states via representation by their controlling state. HK is represented in the UN by the PRC), and has long been seen as the most nuetral organisation with practices which wikipedia can sometimes follow for the sake of its NPOV guidelines. The UN dictates, that listing "Hong Kong, China" alongside the "People's Republic of China" does not contravene the political statuses of the two entities, and has the blessings of the PRC. There is no reason why we should not adopt this standard, unless certain political motives are in play here.--Huaiwei 09:51, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
So are you trying to say "Hong Kong" is not neutral, and "Hong Kong, China" is more neutral? Tell me in what way is the sovereignty of the PRC over Hong Kong not sufficiently acknowledged in the current way of presentation? — Instantnood 09:58, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
"Hong Kong" itself being nuetral or not is of no significance when there is no context to examine it with. Listing "Hong Kong" in a country list together with other independent states is, however, not nuetral. In this list, having "China" listed together with "Hong Kong" suggests that Hong Kong is an independent state on the same level as the country "China". This is of coz not taking into account the line "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China" being added later. I would propose removing this line, and simply changing the Hong Kong subheading to "Hong Kong, China".--Huaiwei 10:50, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
To average readers who are not familiar with Asia and China, your proposal may look like there's a place called "People's Republic of China", and another place called "Hong Kong, China". IMO this is not as clear and sufficient as the present way of presentation to acknowledge the sovereignty of the PRC over Hong Kong. And, please, bear in mind that these are lists by countries, not lists by sovereign states. — Instantnood 10:55, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
Aa far as all members of the United Nations and all of its constituent bodies, to the central Chinese government in Beijing, as well as the SAR government in HK, listing "People's Republic of China" and "Hong Kong, China" together in country lists is considered acceptable and preferred by law. Wikipedia is not meant to be a reflection of a single confused wikipedian who thinks others will consider seeing "China" and "Hong Kong" is a country list any less confusing and more nuetral. As for definitions of what a country is, it can be left for another day. A D-day so to speak.--Huaiwei 11:02, 7 October 2005 (UTC)


What about PHILIPPINES? There nothing about the Philippines in this article. :( - 00:42, September 11, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs changing, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit this page link. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to...) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use out the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. --cesarb 00:51, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Within area-code calls[edit]

Is it still the case in some places that users do not have to dial area codes to call other numbers in the same area code? I've mostly lived in urban areas of the US, where 10-number dialing (even within an area code) are the norm. If the rest of the world is moving this way, we should change the article.--BK 19:58, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

  • yes in the US, and local call ten digit dialing didn't work until rather recently, actually. SchmuckyTheCat 22:04, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

It's inconsistent. Most places allow 1+10D, places with overlays usually allow 10D for local and 1+10D for toll, but in NYC it is 1+10D for everything.

looking through the list most countries seem to have gone for a variable split between area code and local number. For example in the uk you have areas with a 4 digit (not including the 0 prefix) area code and 6 digit local number, areas with a 3 digit local code and 7 digit local number and areas with a 2 digit area code and 8 digit local number. Plugwash 02:43, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
In Germany no one would dial a local number using the area code, as long as the caller is situated in the same area. Actually while cell phones became wide-spread in the last decade there were lots of miscalls, since people forgot to dial the area code, which is obligatory when calling from cell phone networks to local fixed networks. (btw: modified Germany's numbering plan)--Cvdr 01:37, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Noone or just noone who was born before the cellphone generation? i'm in the uk and on the rare occasion i make a local landline-landline call i usually find myself dialing the full number out of habbit because thats what i have to do for the majority of calls i make (landline-cellphone,cellphone-landline, long distance landline-landline,voip to landline etc). Plugwash 21:15, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
European editors need to consider that there is more to the world than Europe. The article has a sentence, "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." 'Which REQUIRE full national dialing?' Maybe in your country, not in mine. What arrogance. Local calls from mobile phones in the U.S. require only seven digits in areas that do not have area-code overlays, which is currently most areas. Well, we know that telcos would LIKE to impose this mandatory 10-digit-dialing on us throughout the NANP area, but it hasn't happened yet. The reason it's happening first in urban zones is because people there are more consumed with day-to-day business and less likely to stop and think about what's being done to them. They apparently are planning to make it mandatory to dial 10 digits for every call made within NANP, regardless of location or type of phone. But for now, this cell-phone rule about "full national dialing" being required does not exist in the U.S. The requirement of 10-digit dialing is determined by location, not the type of phone. If you're in an overlay area, then all phones must use the NANP equivalent of "full national dialing". If you are not, then no phones need use it. 12:22, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
And in 2013, there are still areas with 7-digit dialing for calls within one's own NPA, regardless of whether it's local or toll. California is the most obvious example, in which in general even long-distance calls within one's own area code can be dialed as just 7 digits, except in those areas which now have overlays. (talk) 12:36, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

how much info on individual countries should be on this page.[edit]

currently some countries just have a main article link whilst others have huge ammounts of text on this page. I'd like to make the coverage of countries on this page roughly consistant. I plan to check the linked articles to make sure i am not removing information from wikipedia as a whole.

I think for each country this article should cover

  • The countries country code
  • How to dial out of the country
  • The basics of number structure (variable or fixed size area codes variable or fixed overall length any very high level organisation etc) but not any detail of individual area code allocations.

i do not belive this article should cover history for individual countries either that belongs in the individual articles.

any objections? Plugwash 22:40, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

brazilian mobile numbers.[edit]

are theese within the regular area codes? and does the length of 8 digits thats given include the leading 7/8/9? and what exactly are the exceptions in brazillia? Plugwash 21:02, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

They are within the regular area codes. The length includes the leading digit. I don't know what the exception is; I would like to know, but navigating the database of laws, norms, and related things at the Anatel website is not easy (for instance, I could not find an authoritative source for 7 being allocated (it was reserved before); I know it's for mobile phones from personal experience). I did a rewrite of Brazilian telephone numbering plan; take a look and see if all this is clear enough there. --cesarb 01:58, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
i've traced the contribution where that was added to this article. unfortunately its an anonymous one and two years old so i doubt the user will see my comment on the ips talk page.


anyone have any info on this country codes numbering plan? i noticed it was missing when editing the china section. Plugwash 03:22, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

well someone just created a macu telephone numbering plan article but the article seems to talk about hong kong! Plugwash 22:44, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
That article talks about Macau. — Instantnood 19:42, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

few questions on the north american numbering plan content here[edit]

Mobiles in Caribbean countries[edit]

Most carriers charge a gaping difference for calls /to/ mobiles and fixed phones in (e.g.) Jamaica:

...and I think this is because "caller pays". And I still believe these operaters judge on the number alone. While the USA and Canada have practically a mix of it's own area codes with codes of other countries, the carribean don't. They can practically think and feel having e.g. +1876 as their country code and make a usefull subdivision of the seven numbers left.

Other countries with price differences on mobile/fixed for callers: Bahamas, Dominican Republic, etc.

Who can confirm this?

Just go to any unbundled voice over IP vendor and pull up a price list; there'll be a huge price jump visible for "mobile" (for instance, 25 cents if the rest of the country is 2 cents) if they're on a "caller pays" system. K7L (talk) 18:33, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Peculiarites section[edit]

There are several noteworthy peculiarities in the NANP:

I'm sure canada had a code specifically for mobiles. I get the feeling a lot of the info under this title reffers to the USA not the NANP as a whole. Plugwash 01:41, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

IIRC, Canada may have had one at one time, but it was unpopular and generally unused. No evidence of it appears on the site of the Canadian numbering plan administrator. Canada, like the USA, allocates mobile numbers out of the same area codes as landlines at present. VT hawkeyetalk to me 04:17, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Area code 600 (i.e., +1 600) is assigned for Canadian domestic use, including caller-pays cellular. LincMad 2006-04-10 06:51 UTC

Area code 600 is obscure enough that a Canadian walking into a mobile 'phone company store front to enquire about it would walk away having received nothing other than blank looks. How can it be popular or unpopular if the average Canadian doesn't know it exists and doesn't have access to it except for some very obscure niche application (such as satellite 'phones in the high Arctic or message-switched teletypewriter services)? K7L (talk) 16:16, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
The 917 area code in New York was originally introduced as an overlay on 212 & 718 but only for wireless & pager numbers. It became a general-purpose overlay NPA for all types of service later. (talk) 15:36, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Most of these overlay codes end up disproportionately mobile phone or nomadic voice over IP because the landline incumbent local exchange carrier has usually obtained all the numbers it would ever need long ago (except in a few rapidly-growing suburbs) in the original area code. The only thing special about area code 917 is that existing 1-212 mobile numbers were moved to 1-917 at inception, making it a split by device type instead of a pure overlay. Regulators refuse to do that again, but neither splits nor overlays are carrier-neutral. An overlay favours the incumbent landline carrier over the new entrants. A split favours large city centres over suburban and rural subscribers (which disproportionately hurts landline subscribers, as suburban mobiles use downtown numbers to get the full local calling area). K7L (talk) 18:37, 6 February 2015 (UTC)


Since a calling party cannot distinguish between landline and mobile phone numbers, most wireless carriers in North America use a "subscriber pays" charging model where the wireless phone subscriber pays for all airtime on his/her phone.

whats with the most here? what do the others do? Plugwash 01:39, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Just within the USA, only one major national carrier (the Nextel portion of Sprint Nextel) offers plans with free incoming calls, and only on a subset of its calling plans in which rates are generally higher on a per-minute basis than the rest; essentially, the subscriber is paying, just in a different manner. Nowhere in NANP that I know if does a user pay more for calling a mobile number. VT hawkeyetalk to me 04:17, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
In theory, area code 500 or area code 600 could be used for "caller pays" applications in the US and Canada respectively. Meaningless if wireless carriers are doing nothing to make this option available to consumers, but if this article is a discussion of the numbering plan then it is valid to say in the article that the 500/600 non-geographic codes are nominally allocated despite the lack of use. K7L (talk) 16:20, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

dialing plan information[edit]

The NANPA web site has dialing plan information by area code.

well i couldn't spot it. anyone know where on the site it can be found? Plugwash 01:39, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

On the NANPA home page, click Numbering Resources, then NPA (Area) codes, and on that page click the link for area code search. The info for each area code includes the dialing plan. John L 03:20, 20 February 2006 (UTC)


is there any evidence this was a coincidance and not a result of the americans large political power? Plugwash 02:59, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I presume you're referring to the text from the Open Dialing Plan section, 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. The "coincidence" reference there is just within that text -- it's noting that the trunk code and country code are the same in the NANP, while outside it they generally are not the same -- not making a political/historical assertion. VT hawkeyetalk to me 04:17, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I presume that it's not a coincidence that the US got the number 1 as their country calling code, but that they got it on account of the number of phone calls (countries with higher traffic tend to get shorter numbers, I think) and on account of their political importance/influence/power. However, I presume that the fact that the trunk code for the US is 1 and the fact that the country code for the US is also 1 are unrelated. I have no evidence to support either view, though. -- pne (talk) 11:56, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure it's a coincidence. Country code 1 for the NANP is undoubtedly because there are more phones in the NANP than in any other country code, and AT&T has a long history of minimizing "dial pull", e.g., that's why New York is area code 212. Telephone legend says that dial 1 for toll is because telcos avoided assigning numbers with a leading 1 because it might be confused with a hook flash, so there wasn't much renumbering required to avoid collisions. John L 03:20, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Only two single-digit country codes were ever assigned, +1 for North America and +7 for the Soviet Union. All of the former Soviet republics have split into their own country codes, except Russia and Kazakhstan, which still share +7. As a matter of policy, all new country codes assigned are three digits. That's why Ukraine, with a population of 47 million, has a longer code (+380) than Singapore (+65) with 1/10 the population. LincMad 2006-04-10 07:00 UTC

I guess because at the time the early codes were allocated the soviet union and the USA were probablly the only ones with enough clout/population to get 1 digit codes. It seems the current policy of 3 digit codes for all new allocations was introduced due to code space exaustion issues. Plugwash 01:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Remember that 1+ dialing for long-distance in the U.S. & Canada was NOT universal at the beginning, or indeed for many years. There were various dialing methods depending upon the area. In many urban areas of the northeast and Midwest using panel & crossbar switching systems, there was no access prefix at all - You dialed just the 3-digit area code followed by the required 7-digit number (or for long-distance calls within one's own area code, just the 7-digit number). The whole purpose of the original allocation of area codes having either 0 or 1 as their middle digit was to enable the equipment to determine from that second digit whether the first three digits were an area code or not, since the second digit of an office code (the first three digits of the 7-digit number) could NOT be either 0 or 1. This method of dialing, with no prefix whatsoever, still existed in places such as New York City well into the 1970's.

In other areas, the 1 prefix was adopted a toll indicator, and was required to be dialed for any long-distance call, whether within one's area code or to a different area code.

In many smaller places using Strowger step-by-step equipment (or equivalent, such as Stromberg-Carlson XY), various 11x codes were already in use for information, repair service, etc. instead of 411, 611 etc. In these places, it was common in the early days to use 112 as the DDD prefix, i.e. you dialed 112 plus 7 digits for long-distance calls within your own area, or 112 plus area code and 7 digits for calls to other area codes.

There were other variations too in some places. For example, in some rural areas with multi-way party lines you had to dial 1 plus your "circle digit," which depended upon which party you happened to be on the line, so you might dial 14 for your long-distance calls, while others on your party line would dial 15, 16, 17, etc. (talk) 16:54, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Bell Canada] has always required 1- be prefixed to long-distance calls and omitted from local calls (including calls to another area code, like Hull to Ottawa). The significance of 0 or 1 in the second digit being reserved for area codes is that a long-distance call within the same area code could be dialled as eight digits (1-234-5678) instead of eleven (1-areacode-234-5678). An area code was an entire province in some cases (NBTel and SaskTel, for instance). Eight-digit long distance was broken in Oshawa-Hamilton in the early 1990's (by using 0/1 as the middle digit of +1-416 exchanges a few years before the 416/905 split) and NANP-wide in 1995 (by assigning area code 630 Chicago, area code 360 Vancouver WA and area code 334 Montgomery AL, all of which lacked the 0/1 middle digit). K7L (talk) 16:30, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

India fixed (landline) numbers[edit]

Moved from article to here --cesarb 15:36, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I think this is wrong. You have : National Significant Number (NSN) = National destiantion Code (NDC) [2-4 digits] + Subscriber Number [8-6 digits] national carrier access code = 010 format : 010 + Carrier Identification Code (CIC) + NSN —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 13:40, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I think that the section on India is tooooo lengthy. Perhaps we should create a new article for it. Joshua Chiew 02:25, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Joshua Chiew

Dead Hyperlink[edit]

Removed. - Randwicked Alex B 16:29, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Working - I think the site may have been down when you hit it last. Interesting link; should we place it back in? Blatkinson 01:30, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge with Dial Plan[edit]

  • Vice-Versa - I feel that we should merge Telephone numbering Plan into Dial Plan as Dial Plan is the industry term used to describe the concept. Blatkinson 01:36, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Disagree, Dial plan is what a swithc and/or PBX uses to reach the numbering plan, while numbering plan is what the PSTN uses for routing.--Shmaltz 02:54, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Agree with Disagree, Dial Plan is for private switch, numbering plan is PSTN. Leave 'em separate michael 22:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)mjhalperin


There may be some inconsistences in Spanish prefixes:

  • I don't know any 800 xxx xxx toll-free phone
  • About 80x xxx xxx, shared-cost, I only know 803, 806 and 807, which are at premium rates.
  • I think most of old 90x prefixes still apply:
 900 xxx xxx Freephone
 901 xxx xxx Shared cost
 902 xxx xxx Not sure about the name but is used by companies because of common rates from every region
 905 xxx xxx For massive calling (TV contests,...)

Correct UK Usage[edit]

I feel the current statement Re correct UK international dial code is misleading - surely its apparant that the number in brackets needs to be dropped when using +44 else the brackets wouldn't be there at all. Also saying "shouldn't be used" is opinion and not appropriate especially with it being the accepted alternative (Google for "+44(0)20" reveals 53 million as opposed to "+44 20" 19 million)

The "0" in the brackets is the trunk code (the code used when calling to another area code). The "+44 20" format is the international format adopted by the ITU-T. The format with "0" in the bracket is incorrect - even if it is used more widely (see also E.123 - it states that "parentheses should not be used in the international notation"). Joshua Chiew 10:50, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Various Microsoft products, esp. Office/Outlook insist on parentheses around area codes, and this has caused numerous problems over the last decade or more. [[6]][[7]] The trunk code should never be included in the international format, because it is never required by callers in other countries. Write the number in either national or international format, not a bizarre mixture of both.

Rename section[edit]

I think that the section on United States, Canada and West Indies should be renamed to North American Numbering Plan. The 24 countries and territories are in an integrated numbering plan and a common country code +1, so we should rename the section to the name of the numbering plan. Joshua Chiew 07:26, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Portugal telephone numbers[edit]

I'm not sure whether 0936 turning into 96 is entirely correct - AFAIK, 96 is only used for the TMN network, 93 and 91 being used for the other two major telephone service providers. Cctoide 19:25, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Splitting into 5 Continents pages[edit]

What about splitting this page into 5 continents: American, European, Asian, African, Oceania (Australia, NZ etc).

Whatever happened to African, Antarctic (for the sake of argument), Eurasian, North American, Australian, and South American? The problem with dividing the page into five continents is that no one seems to agree on what exactly defines a continent, let alone what the correct division is. I, for one, favor the six continent model with the Americas listed as two separate continents and Eurasia as one. I think any Martian landing on earth would agree that it's the most logical division (based on both relative size and percentage of perimeter surrounded by open ocean). I mean, I'm willing to yield on calling Australia "Oceania" or "Australasia" in order to protect nationalist sentiments in New Zealand, but that's about it. --Rcgy 23:55, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

US area code part of number in many cities[edit]

I am from New Jersey, and know that both in Boston and in New Jersey ten-digit dialing is used (whereby the "area code" now makes up the first three digits of a ten-digit phone number). I think the US is a bad example of a country using fixed-length area codes. If no one opposes to this, I would like to delete the US from the list of examples -- perhaps later someone can add it to the examples of countries with variable area codes. --Rcgy 23:55, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I've just reverted The NANP is a good example of a fixed length area code plan that expanded by overlays (after outcry at splits) and ended up with 10 digit dialing in urban areas because of this. This is very different from a system of variable length area codes. Removing the US and leaving canada was a also bit odd since they are the two main parts of one system. Plugwash 18:59, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


This is in the article now: "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."

Does 'respectively' mean that "1" is used in the US and "011" in Canada, or that in both countries, "1" is the national access code and "011" is the international? I suspect it's the latter, but the grammar is ambiguous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:01, 2 June 2007

It's the latter. The telephone numbering plans of the United States and Canada are united under the North American Numbering Plan; that means the codes are the same throughout the Numbering Plan. I have reworded the sentence in the article. --Joshua Say "hi" to me!What have I done? 09:15, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

user registration[edit]

I made this change:

There is a detailed description of the background to telephone numbers, how they are created and the importance of the information they contain in: Ralph Adam. Send a boy - or dial it yourself? Numbering for the Information Society. Aslib Proceedings,volume 51, no. 1, Jan. 1999, pages 11-19.

Someone objected to a web site that requires a commonly-available password and deleted my change.

Is there a rule against sites that require registration?

--Sd324 (talk) 20:24, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes. Wikipedia:El#Sites_requiring_registration is, like most WP guidelines, not an absolute prohibition, but it applies in this case. Jim.henderson (talk) 17:38, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Deprecate Area Code[edit]

In 1955, the Area Code (U.S. and Canada) was a three-digit number that applied to a geographical area in which the subscriber number was located. In 2009, the Area Code is simply an extension to the subscriber number. The subscriber number is 10-digits in length. So, when somebody asks you for "Your telephone number, starting with the Area Code." tell them you don't know what an Area Code is. Your subscriber number is XXX-YYY-ZZZZ. Full stop. No discussion. -- (talk) 22:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

No idea what in the name of heaven you are talking about, I can only guess you're talking about so called 10 or 11 digit dialling, whereby the area code is effectively part of the subscriber number, and all digits must be dialled. However in most places in the NANP, numbers are 7 digits, and the area code is only dialled when you want to call between areas. But from the style of your writing, you sound like you think you're in charge: a number 1 idiot. (talk) 14:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
So it seems. The fact that in SOME parts of North America it's now necessary to dial the full 10 digits (with or without a leading "1" prefix) doesn't mean that the first three digits aren't an area code any more. (talk) 09:28, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

UK Subcodes[edit]

"...others (e.g., the UK) an area code is occasionally treated as two parts with different rate" In all cases these are subcodes (as defined by Ofcom) and form part of the area code Commented The (0191) area straddles three Charge Groups

0191 has (currently) 5 sub-codes ...

0191-2xx xxxx Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside and parts of Northumberland 0191-3xx xxxx Durham and Chester-le-Street 0191-4xx xxxx Washington, Tyne and Wear, South Tyneside and Gateshead 0191-5xx xxxx Sunderland and East Durham 0191-6xx xxxx is used primarily by VoIP Providers covering this area. Some Newcastle City Centre numbers are now using 0191-6, as

lɘɘяɘM яɘɫƨɐƮ 12:51, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

These are the ELNS areas, as listed at revised sabc.txt CSV file and elsewhere. The length of the area code is important; the next digit specifies the location. ( (talk) 21:22, 20 December 2010 (UTC))

One STD code covering multiple charge groups was a feature of the STD system right from the start. In Britain the norm was for one STD code per charge group (sometimes more where a single charge group was divided into two number groups), but in Northern Ireland the majority of codes were assigned with one code covering a GSC and its dependent charge groups, the charge group being determined by the D digit. GRACE in N.I. was of a modified form which allowed for charging discrimination of the D digit in order to apply the correct charging rate for calls. The equipment in Britain didn't need this capability since all calls to N.I. were at the highest STD "c" rate (later "b" rate). (talk) 13:00, 23 June 2013 (UTC)


Currently the page lists +88184 under `Satellite telephone systems` without any description or citation. Could this be expanded? -- (talk) 01:31, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

+881 is Global Mobile Satellite System. K7L (talk) 16:04, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

closed numbering plan[edit]

I'm a little unsure about this revert as your stated rationale "(Undid revision 645699006 by K7L (talk) this is incorrect, how many numbers are actually dialed has nothing to do with the type of numbering plan)" contradicts the article, which in its intro claims explicitly "A closed numbering plan imposes a fixed number of digits to every telephone number, where the caller must always dial the full national significant number (NSN) when placing a call." (sec 4.3)

Either the listed definition of a closed numbering plan has to change or the text has to acknowledge that the NANP is not a closed numbering plan, as local calls vary from seven digits in Nunavut to eleven digits in New York City. The current text is contradictory. K7L (talk) 04:34, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

You are confusing dialing plan and numbering plan. There is no such thing as a closed dialing plan. It is a term that some people are using in error when they mean numbering plan.[Often numbering plan is used erroneously for dialing plan.] If it were correct, than no numbering or dialing plan in the world could be closed, because all have special short codes for special number and all have special prefixes that are added at times. A numbering plan determines numbers assigned to telephone stations, not how many digits are dialed. In the NANP, every telephone has 7 digits, plus the area code, even destinations that are dialed with only say three digits (e.g. 911). References as the one you are quoting are in fact wrong about terminology or must define how they use the terms. They do cause confusion, and when you analyze them they contradict themselves. Kbrose (talk) 15:36, 5 February 2015 (UTC) PS: Upon reading the PDF report, it is clear this report is only talking about dialling plans, namely whether 'closing a dialling plan provides more useable numbers'. The report does define the terms it uses and there is no misunderstanding about the intent. However, it is not about numbering plans, which is the subject of the WP article. The PDF does however, define the difference between a numbering and a dialing plan, and this supports the notions in my version of the WP article. Kbrose (talk) 16:04, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the lead of the article makes that contradictory statement that you are quoting, which was added by another editor who clearly doesn't understand the subject matter. I had missed that recent addition to the article. Kbrose (talk) 16:46, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
The lead is validly cited to the PDF report, but if I search "closed numbering plan", ignore anything that calls itself a "closed dialling plan" without commenting on whether these are the same, and ignore WP:CIRCULAR sources who cribbed the answers from Wikipedia, I do find IBM says "A closed numbering plan is one in which the number dialed to reach a given party is always the same, regardless of where in the network the caller is located." Also, Chapter 12 The Design and Management of Numbering Systems - Claire Milne, sec 2.3 indicates "The numbering plan refers to NSNs, while the dialling plan refers to the digits dialled by a caller. Numbering and dialling plans are different where local dialling is permitted – this means that just the SN is dialled for connection to another user in the same NDC area. A single SN, say 234567, may be assigned to a different customer in each different NDC area. This kind of plan is known as an open numbering plan. The alternative, a closed numbering plan, exists where there is only a single dialling procedure for all national calls, as for example in Denmark and Norway, where all 8 digits are dialled for all calls and no trunk prefix is needed." Oddly, [8] seems to consider country codes +1 and +7 as closed 10-digit numbering plans, contradicting the other sources. Admittedly, some sources are discussing private branch exchanges, either for special routing codes between locations of a huge company or for calls from a PBX out to the PSTN, but the definitions should be consistent and are not. Distinguish between dial plan and numbering plan if you like. Nonetheless, I think the "NANP is a closed numbering plan" claim should in good faith be removed from the article as the sources are too contradictory on this point; most don't support this stance. K7L (talk) 17:50, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I believe the first sources of these terms are in Bell System documents, (IIRC, Notes on the Network, or one of that series) and they are not confusing and describe the NANP properly as a closed numbering plan, and this is the only correct definition. It doesn't make any other sense. Many of the international documents are confusing and the only reason I can think of is from improper translations between languages. Kbrose (talk) 18:31, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how a source being "international" represents a disadvantage; the open/closed plan distinctions are only meaningful as a point of comparison across different country codes (some of which are open, some closed). If anything, I'd hesitate to devote so much attention to the NANP in the intro as that makes this article needlessly country-specific (this article is about numbering plans in general, not North America per se)... and no, vague personal recollection is no substitute for a WP:CITE of an identifiable WP:RS, especially if there are discrepancies between sources. K7L (talk) 02:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I was a bit surprised by this revert where a definition backed by an ITU document has been replaced by one without references (the reverted edit was mine, I did it before noticing this discussion). ITU states "A closed numbering plan [...] usually though not necessarily has a single uniform number length." while the article currently states "A closed numbering plan imposes a fixed number of digits assigned to every telephone". I agree with K7L the current version requires a citation. Regardless, if official documents disagree shouldn't we explain all the different views? Ale85 (talk) 16:24, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
The source of the original definitions of these terms is already given in the article. These definitions go back to the design documents of the NANP by AT&T and Bell Labs. The ITU document that was cited in the change is actually not by the ITU, but by a consultancy, using an erroneous definition. At least the document states the definition as that used for that particular document. Clearly it should not be taken as a generally valid definition. Other documents by the European telecommunication bodies also point out these errors and pronounce them common place, but wrong. Such errors have been propagated into many secondary sources. The common mistake made is that people confuse numbering plan with dialing plan. The original Bell documents clearly state the definition of a closed/open numbering plan as relating to the assignment of telephone numbers, not the procedures of dialing. PS: I have replicated the previous citation to the first occurrence of the statement. Kbrose (talk) 19:19, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you Kbrose for the explanation. So a country like Italy where numbers have varying length has open numbering plan, am I right? I see others said it's closed, is it an error? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ale85 (talkcontribs) 15:52, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
While I am no expert in the details of the Italian telecom system, it seems to me that they perhaps use a closed dialing plan primarily. Area codes as well as subscriber numbers, as originally conceived, still vary in length. That makes it an open numbering plan. Do these always add up to the same number of digits together? I actually consider the notion of a 'closed dialing plan' nonsensical, the term is poorly conceived and clearly it is very confusing, as so many people get it wrong. All nations have short codes for emergency services, etc., and why that should be excluded from the dialing plan is nebulous to me. On the other hand such short codes are never assigned to a single telephone line, they are just routing pointers. AFAIK, the NANP only defined the term open/closed numbering plan, while using dialing procedures, dial plan procedures (or similar) for dialing aspects. One may argue that the US telephone practices do not apply elsewhere, which is strictly true, but many of the ITU definitions, practices, and technologies were directly copied or further developed from US standards, so at least in the English language, the basic terms should not be confusing. Perhaps some confusion resulted from sloppy translation between languages. Kbrose (talk) 18:37, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
I see, thank you for your answer. I'll fix Italy's phone number article then. Ale85 (talk) 20:14, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Are you sure that you got it right now? Kbrose (talk) 18:05, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
I think so, thank you :) Ale85 (talk) 18:53, 24 February 2017 (UTC)


The usage and topic of areacode is under discussion, see Talk:Areekode -- (talk) 04:15, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

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