Closed Telephone Numbering Plans

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Closed Telephone Numbering Plans

A 'closed' numbering plan is one in which the subscriber's number is a standard length, and is used for all calls, even in the same area. This has traditionally been the case in small countries and territories where area codes have not been required. However, there has been a trend in many countries towards making all numbers a standard length, and incorporating the area code into the subscriber's number.This usually makes the use of a trunk prefix (usually '0') obsolete. For example, to call Oslo in Norway before 1992, one would dial:

xxx xxx              (within Oslo)
(02) xxx xxx         (within Norway)   
+47 2 xxx xxx        (outside Norway)
+47 22xx xxxx        (after 1992)

This changed to 22 xxx xxx, so that an eight-digit number was used for all calls. In other countries, such as France, Belgium, Switzerland, and South Africa, the '0' is retained for domestic calls, whether local or national, eg:

Paris 01 xxxx xxxx (outside France +33 1 xxxx xxxx)
Brussels 02 xxx xxxx (outside Belgium +32 2 xxx xxxx)
Geneva 022 xxx xxxx  (outside Switzerland +41 22 xxx xxxx) 
Cape Town 021 xxx xxxx (outside South Africa +27 21 xxx xxxx)

In Italy the '0' has been incorporated into the subscriber's number, and must be dialled internationally, eg:

Rome +39 06 xxx xxxx. 

While the use of full national dialing is less user-friendly than only using a local number without the area code, the increased use of mobile phones, which require full national dialing and can store numbers, means that this is of decreasing importance. It also makes easier to display numbers in the international format, as no trunk code is required- hence a number in Prague Czech Republic can now be displayed as:

+420 2 xxxx xxxx formerly:
02 xxxx xxxx  (inside Czech Republic) 
+420 2 xxxx xxxx (outside Czech Republic)
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