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Wireless Communications/International Country Telephone Codes.


Country Telephone Codes
Country Telephone Code  

Country Telephone Codes
Country Telephone Code  
Dear Jerry

We have different international telephone codes for every country.
There are 196 countries in the world.

Some examples :

USA, Canada : 1
UK : 44
India : 91
Russia : 7
Netherlands : 31

How those standards were set for each telephone country code by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ?

i.e. Is the Number codes given as per country names alphabetical sorting i.e. Afghanisation, Albania, Algeria etc
i.e. Afghanisation = 1, Albania = 2, Algeria = 3, but looks like this may be not the case as USA = 1.

Statistical analysis for the International Telephone codes

1.Min and Max Numbers

USA : 1  - Min Number
Uzbekistan : 998 - Max Number.

2. Telephone Code Sorting - Ascending Order

USA : 1
Kazakhstan, Russia : 7
Egypt : 20
Greece : 30


3.Telephone Code Sorting - Descending Order

Uzbekistan : 998
Kyrgyzstan : 996
Georgia : 995    


Was a Random number selected for every international country telephone code for the standards ?

Some of the Whole Integer Numbers are not taken into account for example 2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11 etc. i.e. they are skipped.

International telephone codes were given on the basis of Grouping of countries region wise viz Africa, Asia, Europe, America, Antarctic ?

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Dear Prashant,
I don't know the history of country codes.  I do know that direct dialing of telephone numbers grew from a start within only local exchanges.  Then some regional central offices were linked by direct dial trunks, and the trend grew to include larger regional, national and international number 'destinations.'
I am almost certain there was no initial plan that included direct international dialing for all the world.   To the contrary, the first telephone number plans struggled to include 'long distance' calls at all.  Within the USA 'area codes' served the same function as today's country codes in that they were only used to route calls outside the local region.  
The limitations of equipment built in the first half of the 20th century to provide pulse dialing digit detection and number forwarding also drove code selection.   For example, within the USA 'area codes' were three digits and the second digit was always a zero or one to aid in the recognition of 'area codes' while local exchanges, which also used 3 digits, never used zero or one in that position.  
An interesting sideline is that area codes were selected so that the shorter codes (shorter in number of dial pulses sent) were used for the most populated areas and for that reason New York City was (and still is) 212, and Los Angeles is 213.  Areas which were expected to receive fewer calls, such as Oklahoma, were assigned longer codes such as 918, and this preserved the limited 'processing power' of the switching relays.   As pulse dialing is no longer used for telephone trunk number coding this assignment based on pulse count remains only as an historical artifact.
If your question is why is the USA assigned code 01, well, I suspect Bell Labs in the USA originated most of the first international codes and they picked for themselves the shortest code available.


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Jerry Hinshaw


RF and microwave engineering, hardware and systems applications. Avionics, satellite, and terrestrial communications. Space communications and navigation, geo-location services via satellite and ground-based wireless systems. Systems integration of RF and wireless services. Electric Utility RF Smart Meter (SmartMeter) and Smart Grid wireless devices and networks. Utility Distribution Automation.


30 years experience in microwave and RF systems engineering, radio hardware design and development.

about 20 articles, 2 patents

BSEE MSEE Communications Systems

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