Whether you’re making an international call or looking up a number, you need to know how to get a country code. Unlike telephone numbers, country codes are not always the same across countries. They may be more than three plus seven digits long. Check with your service provider to see their instructions before you make an international call. You can also visit the ITU’s website to learn more about country codes.
0 (zero) is a country code
In the United States, the country code begins with “00”. When calling from outside the United States, the zero is dropped. However, it is always included when calling inside the country. However, the rules vary based on the country you are calling. For example, when calling from Thailand, the first group of numbers is different from those in other countries.
The leading ‘0’ is also known as a trunk prefix. This is similar to the first ‘1’ in NANP. It’s common in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. It is also used in South America. However, Mongolia uses ’01’ or ’02’ as a trunk prefix.
In the Netherlands, telephone numbers are usually 10 digits long, including the ‘0’ for the trunk. This prefix is often separated from the area code (‘A’). The second and third digits in a country’s country code are used as subscriber numbers.
Countries with the largest population received the shortest country codes
Initially, countries with the largest populations were assigned the shortest country codes, which had fewer characters. For example, the US and Canada received a single-digit +1 code because their networks were well developed and had good contacts with other countries. The rest of the world received the two-digit + series, and countries with a high degree of influence were assigned a longer code.
The area codes were also shortened to reduce costs and increase efficiency. The largest cities in a country have the largest number of telephone subscribers. This makes it easier for people to find telephone numbers. A country’s area code can be as short as three letters. For instance, in the US, the country code 800-910 indicates a phone number from the United States. However, this is not the case for the UK or the Netherlands.
North America and the USSR received single-digit codes
Single-digit country codes were assigned to North America and the USSR, and the rest of the world received two-digit codes later. North America had a developed network and good relations with other countries, and was therefore given a single-digit code. The USSR had a poorly developed network, so it was assigned a single-digit code.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published a recommendation defining the format for telephone numbers. The numbers can be up to 15 digits long and have a + prefix. The CCITT, the predecessor to the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector, developed the first formal list of telephone country codes in 1964. In 1964, it included the list in the CCITT(Now ITU) Blue Book. The CCITT grouped the codes into nine zones.
Until 1992, the USSR was known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Since the breakup, the countries of the former USSR have been referred to as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In the list below, highlight the country name to view its postal authorities. Note that postal authorities’ web addresses frequently change. The USSR had a poorly developed network, so it was assigned a single-digit code.
Other countries received multi-digit codes
Developed countries often receive more than one digit to represent their currency. As a result, many of them have a long list of different codes. The first digit of each code is the currency’s currency symbol, and the second digit is its country code. In many cases, the two digits are interchangeable.