This article addresses general questions regarding phone number types and international formatting. For more details about numbers handling at CALLR, please read our dedicated article: Numbers at CALLR.
There are different types of phone number depending on their length and purpose. Available number types depend of the country, for instance some countries differentiate local phone numbers from mobile phone numbers while others don't. Each number type is priced differently, once again depending of the country.
International Number Formatting
E.164 is the international number format. It follows a specific syntax made of three elements: [+] [Country Code] [number including area code]. For instance, for the US (+1) number (646) 982-0822 the international format is +16469820822.
Many countries, such as the UK or France require a 0 prefix before the number for local dialing, it must be removed for international formatting. For instance, the international format of 01753916550 (UK, +44) would be +441753916550.
Wikipedia provides an exhaustive list of country codes for each country with their timezone.
Main number types
- Local (Geographic): used by both business and individuals, these numbers are region-specific. The prefix indicates the area of the number.
- Mobile: in most countries, mobile numbers are differentiated from local and personal by the usage of a different prefix. Most often, mobiles are the only type of number able to both receive and send messages.
- Personal / National / Non-Geographic: used in some countries only, they are not tied to any region or area. They were created to offer a single price to place a call from anywhere in the country. In some countries, they can only be reached from within the country.
- Special: toll-free numbers are numbers that are free to call. They are used by businesses and organizations willing to take on the full cost of the call to maximize their availability. Premium numbers, on the other hand, generates an extra-charge for the caller who pays the price of a regular phone call and a premium. They are often used to provide phone services.
- Short: used by businesses and organizations, short numbers are easier to dial and memorize. Given their limited availability, they are more expensive than regular numbers. Their prices vary with their length and repetitiveness. They are also country-specific. They can be of any type: toll-free, premium or emergency.
- Emergency: they are usually short numbers (ex: 911) designed for calls originate during urgent situations. As such, traffic on these number is given priority over regular phone traffic to ensure maximum availability even in the event of a crisis.
Main number formats in the US
US numbers and international formatting
The numbers presented in the section below are formatted following the American standard. They need to be adapted to the international formatting to be reached from outside of the USA. To this end, the caller needs to add the international prefix for the USA (+1).
For instance, to reach (646) 982-0822 from any other country than the USA, the caller would have to dial +16469820822.
US numbers format types
- Local (Geographic): (646) XXX-XXXX. Made of three number prefix depending on the area associated with 7 numbers. Area code 646 is Manhattan.
- Mobile: mobile phone numbers in the USA follow the same formatting as geographic numbers. The prefix is attributed depending on the area where the subscription was established.
- Personal: not used in the USA.
- Special: toll-free numbers are identified by the 8XX prefix with matching last two digits, excluding 811 and 899. Premium-rate numbers use the 900 prefix.
- Short: usually 5 to 6 numbers long, while 3 numbers shortcode are used for carrier-specific services and emergency.
- Emergency: short number formats, varying per region. 911 is guaranteed to be properly routed in all area.
Main number formats in France
French numbers and international formatting
The numbers presented in the section below are formatted following the French standard. They need to be adapted to the international formatting to be reached from outside of France. To this end, the caller needs to drop the first 0 while adding the international prefix for France (+33).
For instance, to reach 01.60.70.42.37 from any other country than France, the caller would have to dial +33160704237
French numbers format types
Geographic French numbers distribution
Standard (non-short) phone numbers in France are 10 digits long.
- Local (Geographic): 01-05.XX.XX.XX.XX. The prefix is attributed depending on the location, see the map above.
- Mobile: 06.XX.XX.XX.XX, mobile are identified by the 06 prefix, the 07 prefix is also used since 2010
- Personal: 09.XX.XX.XX.XX
- Special: use the prefix with 6 additional numbers: special number price is identified by the second pair of digits. 0800 to 0805 are toll-free numbers, 0810 to 08099 premium-rate numbers. The price of a call goes up with the value of the second pair of digits. Read our specific article for more details about premium numbers in France.
- Short: 6 numbers long or shorter such as 3615. Include directories number which are 6 numbers long such as 118 218.
- Emergency: 2-3 numbers long. The main ones include: 15 (medical emergency), 17 (police), 18 (fire department), 122 (European 911).