Telephone numbers in Italy

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Italy telephone numbers
Italia distretti.png
Map of Italy colored according to the landlines area codes
Location
Country Italy
Continent Europe
Regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni
Type Open
Access codes
Country calling code +39
International call prefix 00
Trunk prefix None
List of Italy dialing codes

Telephone numbers in Italy follow an open telephone numbering plan, i.e. phone numbers have a variable length. The country code for calling Italy from abroad is 39 while the international prefix is 00 (the same as most European countries). Four different emergency numbers exist, including 112.[1]

Landline numbers and mobile phone numbers are easily recognizable: the former start with 0 and the latter start with 3. Other services, like emergency or toll free numbers, are given other initial digits.

Differently from other countries, the Italian dial plan requires to always dial the full phone numbers, thus there's no trunk code. Area codes (called prefix, prefisso in Italian) exists, but it's unimportant to be able to identify them.

When communicating phone numbers it's normal to group digits, but there are no fixed rules about how to do it: the same phone number is likely to be written or pronounced differently by different people. Several symbols can be used to group digits: spaces are common, but dots and hyphens can often be seen too. The way numbers are written down or spelled does not affected the dialing.

Number formats[edit]

Landline numbers[edit]

Landline numbers start with the digit 0 and are 6 to 10 digits long, although they are rarely shorter than 9. They are composed by a variable length prefix followed by a variable length subscriber number.

Prefixes are assigned on a geographical basis, starting from the north of the country: for example Turin has prefix "011", Rome has "06" and Naples has "081".

Mobile phone numbers[edit]

Mobile phone numbers start with the digit 3 and are generally 10 digits long. It is still possible, but rare, to find 9 digits long numbers: those were the first to be assigned.

The first 3 digits of the mobile phone numbers (prefix) identify the mobile network operator that assigned the number, but since 2002 number portability is possible and thus any number can end up being managed by any operator.

Some operators allow to insert additional digits for redirecting phone calls to the voicemail. For example dialing "36 339 7308986" will connect to the voice mail of the phone number "339 7308986".[2] The extra digits to use depend on the operators managing the number.

Emergency and service numbers[edit]

Emergency and service numbers start with the digit 1.

Four different emergency numbers are currently in use, but they are in the process of being replaced by a single one: 112, previously assigned to the gendarmerie, is already accepting any emergency calls in some areas.[3] Calls to 112 are answered within seconds and in multiple languages.[1]

The complete list of emergency numbers is:

Examples of service numbers are:

Special-rate numbers[edit]

Special-rate numbers start with 8 and include toll-free numbers (called green numbers, numeri verdi in Italian, starting with "80..."), shared-rate numbers ("84...") and premium-rate services ("89...").

Other numbers[edit]

Numbers starting with 4 are used for network-specific phone services like voice mailbox and various information services.

The digit 5 has been reserved for VoIP numbers but it is implemented and accessible only by a few operators.

Finally 7 is used for internet services such as virtual fax numbers and dial up internet access ("70...").

Unassigned numbers[edit]

Numbers starting with the digits 2, 6 and 9 are currently unassigned and reserved for future purposes.

Previous number formats[edit]

Trunk code removal[edit]

In the past it was possible to omit the prefix when calling from a landline to another landline in the same area. The digit "0" was the trunk code and it had to be removed when calling from abroad.[4]

This changed in 1998, with a transition period lasting from the 19th of June to the 31st of December: the new Italian dial plan started to require to dial the full number for every call. The main advantage was the availability of millions of previously reserved phone numbers.[4]

The change was widely advertised with a campaign named "Fissa il prefisso" ("Attach the prefix").[4]

The original intent included the replacement of the leading "0" with "4" for landlines. Such change was scheduled to be implemented starting from 29 December 2000, but this never happened: "0" remained to identify landlines and "4" now identifies network services.

Example for calling the landline subscriber number "xxxxxxxx" in Rome:

  • "xxxxxxxx": from within Rome, before 1998;
  • "06 xxxxxxxx": from within Rome, after 1998;
  • "06 xxxxxxxx": from outside Rome, both before and after 1998;
  • "+39 6 xxxxxxxx": from abroad, before 1998;
  • "+39 06 xxxxxxxx": from abroad, after 1998.

Mobile numbers prefix shortening[edit]

Until 2001 a leading "0" was part of any mobile phone number, but it has been removed.[5]

Example for calling the mobile phone number "3xx xxxxxxxx":

  • "03xx xxxxxxx": from within Italy, before 2001;
  • "3xx xxxxxxx": from within Italy, after 2001;
  • "+39 3xx xxxxxxx": from abroad, both before and after 2001.

Other changes[edit]

Several other smaller changes occurred during the years: for example the prefix for toll free numbers changed from "167" to "800" in 1999.[6]

Special relations with other countries[edit]

Campione d'Italia[edit]

The Italian municipality Campione d'Italia, an exclave within the Swiss canton of Ticino, uses the Swiss telephone network and is part of the Swiss numbering plan.

San Marino[edit]

The Italian enclave San Marino has its own country code 378, but landline numbers can be reached using the Italian country code as well: the prefix "0549" is assigned to San Marino. Dialing either "+378 xxxxxx" or "+39 0549 xxxxxx" will reach the same number. Mobile phone customers are sometimes assigned Italian phone numbers.

Vatican City[edit]

The country code 379 is assigned to Vatican City, but it is not used: telephone numbers in Vatican City are integrated into the Italian numbering plan. Vatican landline telephone numbers are in the form "+39 06 698xxxxx", "+39" being the country code for Italy and "06" the prefix for Rome.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "112 in Italy". European Commission. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Il Servizio di segreteria telefonica - TIM" [Voicemail service - TIM]. TIM (in Italian). Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Modena, attivato il 112 Numero Unico per le Emergenze" [Modena, activated the single emergency number 112]. Ministero dell'Interno (in Italian). Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Da domani il prefisso anche in città" [Starting from tomorrow the prefix within the city]. La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cellulari, prefisso senza 0 da sabato è obbligatorio" [Mobile phones without 0, from tomorrow it's mandatory]. La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Telecom: numero verde, il 167 diventa 800" [Telecom: green number, 167 becomes 800]. Adnkronos (in Italian). Retrieved 18 May 2016.