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Basic Dialing Questions

We'll be in England for a couple of weeks and are bringing a cell phone with a UK SIM card we purchased. Please forgive me for being a technological rookie but does the SIM card make it just like using a local cell phone? For example, our English friends said their number was (0) 752 872 xxxx. When we are in London using our phone, is that the exact number we dial? Do we drop the zero or not? How about if we call another part of England like Canterbury? Do we need to use a city code?

I have detailed instructions for calling our friends from our home in US but just wasn't sure about what to do when we're there.


Posted by
33107 posts

It depends on how you entered the number in the phone.

Every country has a country code. Canada and the US share number 1. The UK is 44, Germany is 49.

If you are within a country, using a sim from that country, and dialing a number within that country you can just dial the number with the whole dialing code including what is in the parenthesis. In that case it would be 0752872xxxx, with no spaces or punctuation.

If you were dialing that number from a different country, say France, with a French sim, to the number in the UK you need to start with an indication to the phone system that you want to dial internationally. On landline phones you would use zero zero (00) and then the country code and then the number (dropping what is in the parenthesis).

Using the mobile phone you don't need to remember what each country uses to indicate an international call. Just use the plus sign (on an iPhone it shares the zero button) or a normal plus sign. So to dial that British number from a French mobile phone it would be +44752872xxxx.

Now for the good stuff - You can program numbers into the memory of a mobile phone, and into apps like Skype.

Just save the number in the international format of "+" country code, dialing code skipping the parenthesis, local number just like in the example just above, and you can dial it from the memory anywhere, from around the world to across the street.

If you are dialing the number in Britain from a landline all you need is the dialing code including the zero in the parenthesis and number, or if you are dialing the number ad hoc from a British mobile you can just dial the number that way - 0752872xxxx.

I hope that helps.

There are a few exceptions (to prove the rule) in France and Italy where the zero in parenthesis is required even if dialing + country code. If it doesn't work one way in Italy, try the other.

It Britain it is pretty iron clad.

Posted by
33107 posts

How about if we call another part of England like Canterbury? Do we need to use a city code?

Generally always dial the dialing code for the location as above. In some older exchanges like where I live you dial just the local number on a local call if you are using a landline - not a mobile.

But you never go wrong by using the whole dialing code and number.

For example. You are asking about Canterbury. The phone number for Canterbury Cathedral is 01227 762862.

From an ad hoc call from your mobile you can dial 01227762862 or save it to your phone as +441227762862. Note that the zero disappeared even though when the Cathedral published their number they didn't put any parenthesis.

Most numbers printed for local use won't have the parenthesis, most numbers for international reading will. The rules are the same.