The plus (+) sign and international calls

Let's say you want to dial a United Kingdom cellular phone and you have a number that looks like this: +44 7??? ??? ???. You know that 44 is the country code for the UK, but what does the plus sign in front of the country code mean?

The plus sign and international exit codes

The answer to the question above is simple. Let's look at the instructions we provide for calling a UK cell from the US and from Germany (just 2 random examples). This is what you will find:

  • From the US: 011 44 7??? ??? ???
  • From Germany: 00 44 7??? ??? ???

As you can see, the call is not dialed the same way from different countries. Namely, the 011 International exit code used to dial abroad from the US is 00 in Germany (and all European countries), 0011 when dialing from Australia and so on. We provide a list with all these international exit codes (also known as International Direct Dial codes).

Returning to our plus sign - as you may have guessed, the plus sign is used to suggest that, depending on what country you'll be dialing from, you should add the international exit code in front of the telephone number. In other words, if you were given this number: +44 7??? ??? ??? and you were in the US you would replace +44 with 01144, while if you were in Germany you would dial 0044.

Can I actually dial the plus sign?

With the advancement in technology and growing popularity of cellular phones there is now an even simpler method for dialing international telephone numbers - literally entering the plus sign before the number. Cell phone devices allow this and wireless networks automatically know that this is an international call. In this case you no longer have to enter the international exit code (00 or 011 and so on).

What about the plus signs used with dialing instructions on this website?

Example: we provide the following instructions for dialing from the US to Australia: 011 + 61 + phone number. We use the plus signs here just to connect the elements of an international call. You do not actually enter these plus signs.

A recap

If you see an international number that has a plus sign before the country code you either dial + (when using a cellular or VoIP phone), or replace the plus sign with your country's exit code. Both methods work.

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