International Dialing Codes: A Quick Guide
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) sets the international dialing codes adapted as the telephone numbering plan all over the world. The Telecommunication Standard Sector of the ITU through recommendations E.123 and E.164 provides a convenient global numbering plan. In this standard, countries around the world are divided into nine zones assigned with a single prefix code. Subsequent digits correspond to specific countries; thus, international dialing codes can be arranged in a treelike fashion.
The Nine Zones
The first zone or the prefix code 1 is assigned to the countries in North America. Also known as the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), zone one includes the United States and Canada which are both assigned with +1. Right after the single-digit prefix code, the next digit can have the values from 0 to 9. However, zone one is the only zone that does not have +11 and +15 assigned to any country.
The second zone assigned with the prefix code 2 covers mostly the countries in Africa. Egypt, for instance, is assigned +20, while the code +27 is assigned to South Africa. The third and fourth zones correspond mostly to the countries in Europe with +30 and +40 assigned to Greece and Romania, respectively. In cases where several countries share the same first and second digits, an additional third or fourth digit is appended so that each country is afforded with a unique dialing code. The +35 code, for instance, is shared by ten countries including Gibraltar, Portugal, Luxembourg, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Albania, Malta, Cyprus, Finland, and Bulgaria; thus, these countries are respectively assigned with a code from +350 through +359.
Zone 5 covers Latin America while Zone 6 covers countries in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Countries occupying the same land mass are usually grouped so that they share the same second digits. Island countries or archipelagos, on the other hand, have their own unique second digits. In Zone 6, for example, the Republic of the Philippines as an archipelago is uniquely assigned with the +63 code. The same is true for New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand with +64, +65, and +66, respectively.
Zones 7, 8, and 9 are assigned to Eurasia, East Asia, and the rest of Asia, respectively. The rest of Asia includes the central, southern, and western parts of the continent. Apart from zonal dialing codes assigned to countries, special services are also reserved for the Universal International Free Phone Number and the Shared Cost Service at +800 and +808, respectively.
Anatomy of International Dialing Codes
The international dialing codes generally consist of four components: international prefix used to dial a phone from abroad, international code used to dial the receiving country, the local area or city code, and the local number. For convenience, online services and telephony operators provide all the necessary information by simply specifying the origin and destination countries.
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