Peter Metcalfe, Chairman of The Foundation for the Development of Africa, outlines the basics to follow when writing or listing telephone numbers.
For some time now (2006) the international code when dialling from one country to another has now been standardised as 00 – this to meet international standards. You may recall the international code was prefixed as + and to reach South Africa, you would have to dial 09 – Some countries are still using the + prefix and thus still accepted internationally.
I recently chaired the Africa City Leaders Conference and collected a number of business cards from delegates around the continent – when researching the way telephone numbers are written on business cards, I was faced with a zillion combinations – making it very difficult to select the right option. Surprisingly, some business-cards, circulated into the international market, fail to provide the full international codes required to connect.
Most of us who regularly deal throughout the African continent will identify with this issue. All too often, when we endeavour to call a number in a foreign country, and receive no response or receive an engaged signal, we blame the situation on the lack of infrastructure. I am not insinuating that there is no problem with telecommunication infrastructure – just highlighting the possibility of how the inclusion or exclusion of one digit could cause great frustration.
When listing a number we should follow certain basics. A telephone number in Mogale City, Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, South Africa should be listed as follows:
00 27 (0)11 954 6855
00 = Indicates the International Dialling Code – or +.
27 = Designates the country – South Africa.
(0) = This digit is only required when dialling the number locally e.g. in South Africa – therefore listed in brackets.
11 = This is the code for a particular region or area in the Country – e.g. Johannesburg.
954 = This is the code that further defines the region or area – Mogale City.
6855 = The dedicated number.
A number in London, Great Britain would list their number as follows:
00 44 (0)207 427 2377
00 = Indicates the International Code – or +
44 = Designates the country – Britain
(0) = This digit is only required when dialing the number locally e.g. in Britain – therefore listed in brackets
207 = This is the code for particular region or area – London
427 = This is the code that further defines the region or area
2377 = The dedicated number.
A mobile number (South Africa) would thus be written or listed as follows:
00 27 (0) 84 333 7777