History and Evolution of International Calling Codes

If you were to ever make a call to a country outside of yours then you will definitely need to add in the international code at the front of the number being dialed. For instance, if you were making a call to a person living in the United States then you will need to add the number +1 at the front.

So where do these international codes originate from? Who actually determines the type of code for a country?

In the mids of the 20th century, in response to the rapid development of the American telephone network, the executives at Bell System introduced new ways to dial the telephone.

Before this, a big part of this call will be managed by manpower and in most cases, it will be women who will connect the caller to the destination of the person being called. At the time, a telephone number is not a number instead it was an alphanumeric address.

It was named as such in conjunction with the change in the telephone that comprises specific geographical locations. If you were to make a call to a person's apartment, then the house can be contacted by request for "Murray Hill 5-9975".

This system was expanding at a slower pace. In 1955, AT&T after it evaluates the way to minimize the misconception about the direction of the telephone being said- spreading an exchange name list recommended that represents the short standards. (Butterfield 8 will be under this system, BU-8; Murray Hill 5-9975 will be shortened to MU 5-9975).

But the engineers at Bell have conducted their own research on the scalability of the name and numbering system. They have their own ambition to expand the national telephone line in which their own research has come to another conclusion that countries are not able to provide sufficient women workers to fulfill the increasing demands of managing the calls.

Bell later concluded that the automated system would be the future of the telephone. On top of that, the calls will no longer require names and will be replaced with digits. This will be one of the best ways to make a call to any destination across the globe.

Introduction of International Codes

The telephone codes were introduced to manage the telephone data that has been increasing around the world. The call codes will be an easy number to start a call.

The United States got the number 1, followed by Africa 2, Europe 3, and 4. This number was determined and classified based on the capacity of the load. So France and the UK will get two interesting digits, (33) and (44) respectively.

Countries that are much smaller such as Ireland and Iceland, each of them will have 3 digits, 353 and 354. The objective as stated in the Red Book (1960)of The Internation Telecommunication Union(ITU) is a code and phone number that have been combined and not exceed 11 digits.

Revolution and Changes

The blue book (1964) separates the world into 9 zones. Zone 1 represents North America, Zone 2 for Africa and both Zone 3 and 4 are for Europe. The first code which can be up to 3 digits has been specially assigned to different countries.

After that, the white book (1968) gives the code (37) to East Germany. The Trucial States(which became the United Arab Emirates in 1971) got (971). Zanzibar(region of Tanzania) got (252).

Turkey had its European code (36) removes and changed to Zon 9 (West Asia and the Middle East) and was given a new code (90).

The Green Book (1972) changes most of Central America from Zone 1 (North America) to Zone 5 (South America). The tribe countries in the southeast of Arab were renamed the United Arab Emirates and got (971) as the caller code.

Ceylon and Rhodesia kept their codes as (92) and (263) despite changing the country's names to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe respectively. The arrival of personal computers has ended the typical updates of the codebook.

The Republic of Upper Volta got its new name, Burkina Faso but kept its old code (226). The Falkland Islands which was previously a joint country with Guatemala got a separate code of (500).

North Korea got a new code, 850. When Germany reunited again in 1990, United Germany accepted the Western Germany code (49) and replaced it with Eastern Germany (37). Eritrea separated from Ethiopia (251) in 1993 and got its new code (291).

The Final Change in Calling Code

In 1993, Yugoslavia(38) was replaced with Serbia and Montenegro (381), Croatia (384), Slovenia (386), Bosnia (387), and Macedonia (389). In 1955, Vatican City got a separate code (379) in which previously it was united with Italy (39).

Czechoslovakia (57) was separated into the Czech Republic (420) and Slovakia (421) in 1997. East Timor was separated from Indonesia in 1999 and got the code (670). In the same year, Palestine got (970) was separated from Israel (972).

To this day, only 6 countries remained their country code as provided by the Red Book (1960). This method as well as the change in politics have led to the establishment of the respective codes today.


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