Common dialing errors/reasons why an international call won't go through

Drop that Trunk Code!

Most countries require the use of a so called Trunk Code for national calls. A Trunk Code is a single digit (or, in some cases such as Hungary or Mexico, 2-3 digits), often 0 (zero) added before the actual phone number in its national dialing format. This trunk code MUST BE LEFT OUT when dialing in from abroad.

Example #1:

  • London landline dialed from the UK: 020 ???? ????
  • the same London fixed number dialed from the US: 011 44 20 ???? ???? (notice how we've left out the starting zero)

Example #2:

  • German mobile phone dialed from Germany: 01X ???? ????
  • the same German mobile number dialed from the US: 011 49 1X ???? ????

Example #3:

  • Mexico City landline dialed from within Mexico: 01 55 ???? ????
  • the same Mexican landline dialed from the US: 011 52 55 ???? ????

Here's a list of trunk codes for all countries. An exception to the Trunk Code rule explained above is Italy where geographic area codes start with zero.

Lines blocked for international calls

Most telephone service providers (fixed and wireless) provide the option to block international calling. Some even have this as a default feature. So, before trying to place a direct international call make sure you are permitted to do it.

Cell phone numbers do not use area codes

In most countries outside the US cell phone numbers have a national dialing format, usually being allocated a starting digit not used for landlines. No area codes are added to a cell number. For most countries we provide the dialing format for mobile numbers. Again, do not add area codes to cell numbers unless told so (there are a few countries such as Mexico that do use area codes for cell numbers - this is clearly pointed out on the pages in question).

Using a VoIP (Internet phone) connection?

A feature offered by some VoIP service providers is to call internationally WITHOUT DIALING 011 FIRST. Having this feature turned on usually means that you must leave out the 011 Exit Code or your will not be able to call.

» Back to Q&A