With the expansion of Voice over IP and cellular phone technologies over the past decade, it has never been more cheaper to call international phone numbers. A common barrier for consumers trying to call friends, family, or business contacts that live abroad is determining how to dial international phone numbers from your country.
International Dialing Instructions from North America (United States and Canada)
If you are located in the United States or Canada, you will call most other countries using the following dialing convention:
011 – Country Code – Phone Number. If you are calling another country that uses the North American phone numbering plan, then you will dial:
1 – area code – phone number.
To call another country when located somewhere other than North America, you will dial the following:
Country Exit Code – destination country code – phone number
An example of an exit code is the "+" or "00" used in most EuroZone countries. Each country is assigned both an exit code and country code, although the exit codes are shared across several countries.
When you are calling an international phone number that starts with a leading "0," you will normally remove the zero when calling from outside of the country. This number is referred to as a trunk access number that is not used outside of the local area.
Tips to Avoid Large International Phone Bills
Outside of North America, if you are calling from a land line to a mobile phone or vice versa, there will be a higher call rate than if you call land line to land line or mobile to mobile phone. If you are visiting a country, it will be cheaper for you to buy a calling card to make outgoing phone calls instead of using your mobile phone unless you specifically pay for an international roaming plan for the country you are visiting. If you use a smart phone, most models will not let you turn off your data services when roaming on another countries network in order to avoid paying per minute or excessive usage charges while abroad. These configuration changes can be made in the settings location of your mobile phone.
Common Problems Dialing International Phone Numbers
There are a wide variety of issues that arise with consumers who are not used to dialing international phone numbers. One of the most common errors is that the mobile or home phone has international dialing disabled which will require contacting the service provider or telephone company to enable. Another common problem is attempting to call an international number without dropping the "Trunk Access Number" of the phone number or the "leading 0" which will result in a failure to connect the phone call. Another common problem for some callers is not interpreting the "+" symbol as the exit code correctly for a given phone number which is usually 00.