Telephone Numbering Plan is required to allot the different countries with different area codes. It follows a certain pattern or format for the length of the telephone numbers. Although it varies from one country to another. The conventions are important for setting the telephone numbers for various countries. ‘The NANP was originally devised in the 1940s by AT&T for the bell system and independent telephone operators in North America to unify the diverse local numbering plans that had been established in the preceding decades. AT&T continued the numbering plan until the break up of the Bell System, when administration was delegated to the ( NANPA ) North American Numbering Plan Administration, a service that has been procured from the private sector by the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) in the United States. Each participating country forms a regulatory authority that has plenary control over local numbering resources.’
Focusing on USA, North America follows North American Numbering Plans (NANP), and the format is like, three digit area code followed by the seven digit subscriber number. Due to the extreme need of the additional telephone numbers, only dialing the seven digits is becoming very rare. Rather people dial all the ten digits. Since, there is a rapid expansion of telephone numbers, additional area codes are also required, which may often lead to overlay of area codes, where there are more than two area codes, within the same vicinity. ‘The vision and goal of the architects of the NANP was a system by which telephone subscribers in the United States and Canada could themselves dial and establish a telephone call to any other subscriber without the assistance of switchboards operators.’ Another important thing is that, ‘ American television programes and films often use the central office code 555, or Klamath 5 and Klondike 5 in older movies and shows, for ficticious telephone nunbers, to prevent disturbing actual telephone subscribers if anyone is tempted to dial a telephone number seen on screen.’
Coming to the Central America, they do have a country code, and they may write it before the number or may not write it. Like, for example, one can use, +506 2323 2323 or only 2323 2323. But generally on the business cards, stationaries and on other formal or official documents, the entire number including the plus sign and the code is written. Some commonly used Central American codes include – 501- Belize, 506- Costa Rica, 503- El Salvador, 502- Guatemala, 504- Honduras,505- Nicaragua, 507- Panama.
In South America, different countries have different country codes, like, in Argentina, along with the area code, the number consists of eleven digits. In Brazil, the eight digit number is followed by two digit area code. And there are near about sixty seven codes in Brazil. In Peru, two digit area code is followed by six digit subscriber number. So, this is how various patterns and formats for the numbering convention differs from place to place, from one country to another. Some area codes of South America includes, 54- Argentina, 591- Bolivia, Brazil- 55, Chile- 56, Columbia- 57,Easter Island – 56, Ecuador-593, Faulkland Islands – 500, French Guiana – 594, Guyana- 592, Paraguay – 595, Peru – 51, Suriname – 597, Uruguay – 598, Venezuela – 58.
Moreover, it is a good idea and well organised plan, because proper conventional system is followed for allotting different area codes and telephone numbers to different places, to avoid confusion and clashing.