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Easy International Dialing

A world wide international numbering plan
  [vote for,

I just hate having to give my telephone number to someone in the US. Nearly every time I do so, I have to explain that only numbers within the US begin with 1 and that numbers outside the US and Canada begin with 011. I've often had people in total disbelief that this could be so. Let alone the number of times I've tried typing my telephone number in on a web site and had it rejected, or the number of times I've called someone and they couldn't fit my number into the fixed field in their computer!

The second thing I hate about international numbers is that the "international access code" is different for different countries. In North America, it's 011. In most of Europe and a lot of the rest of the world, it's 00. Then, there's the editing you have to do to the telephone numbers. For example, in the rest of the world, you drop the first leading 0 of the phone number and replace it with the international access code (011 in the US, or 00 in most of Europe) followed by the country code.

ex. a french number becomes if dialed from the US or if dialed from the UK.

Why, oh why can't every number just be the full country-coded international number? It only adds a digit or two to most of the numbers in the world and with globalization going on, more and more people are calling other countries. I'd be perfectly happy to dial for a call within france.

It would hardly be a difficult change for the US! In most areas, you already need to dial a 1 in front of the 10 digit number. Just dump the 011 and let people there dial an international number directly! There may be some short numbers which would need changing, they could simply have a 1 tacked on the front.

As for the rest of the world, let's dump this leading 0 cruft. It's confusing and as far as I can tell, useless!

mgrant, Apr 12 2001


       Some cell phone service providers who specialize in international coverage use a similar system, I believe.
egnor, Apr 12 2001

       Really? In Canada you can just dial the country code without the 011? I did not know that. It's a start, now the rest of the world should follow their example.   

       One of my long distance carriers (Teleglobe) works like this if you call their 800 number. Also, it's true that cell phones you can just put the + in front of the number (often by pressing and holding the 0 key).
mgrant, Apr 12 2001

       This is part of the price paid by having different phone systems built at different times. Kind of like why the US uses 110ishV power while most of the rest of the world uses 220. By the time it was discovered that it was 'better' there was too much invested in the system as it is, and nobody wants to spend the money to 'fix' it.
StarChaser, Apr 14 2001

       This isn't baked, not even in the US/Canada/Bermuda. It won't be baked until all those international "step up" codes like 011, 0011, 00...etc go away and everyone everywhere can just dial a straignt international number. The 1 you dial in the US is not the country-code. Even though it looks like it could be a country code, it isn't today. If it were, then you could just dial someone in the UK by starting a number with 44 instead of 1, but that's not the case. In the US, you need to dial 011 before the 44. The 1 is (or has been in the past) used as a marker to say that the next 3 digits that follow are an area code and in some areas it was (may still be?) used to signify that the 7 or 10 digit number you're dialing is a toll call.
mgrant, Apr 17 2001

       Telephone numbers are obsolete anyway... if the wide-scale upgrade was feasible, I would rather see something like a phone DNS (converting names or e-mail addresses to telephone numbers). Just renumbering the existing system would be hugely expensive and not-so-beneficial.
danilom, Apr 24 2001


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