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How to dial overseas is an accurate tool to help you make international calls to any city in the world. You may have seen our partner site, The Time Now, that tells you the current time in any city. These sites work together to help you see both the time difference and the dialing codes to call between two places.

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How to Make an International Call: A Step-by-Step Guide

When communications were first invented, the process was relatively simple by today’s standards. Phone numbers were a couple of digits at the most, but now things have become far more complex. Many people may wonder how to make an international call, and for good reason.

With exit codes, country codes, area codes, and phone numbers on top of it all, it can be quite a process. Luckily we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide here at The Call Now that can help you understand how this process works. When you’re ready to make the call, be sure to check out our international country code calculator for an easy way to fill in the gaps.

The Ultimate Guide to Making an International Phone Call

Contacting someone internationally can be done by using your landline, cell phone, computer, or tablet. The most common way to do it is by using a modern home phone or smartphone, however, today’s carriers will charge high rates to make calls internationally.

Let’s explore the step-by-step process of making a phone call internationally and then explore some alternate methods which save you time and money.

Step One: Understanding the Format

We could just tell you how to dial in another country’s number, but then you wouldn’t understand how to do it in the future. Since this is the ultimate guide for this subject, we’re going to first explain how the numbering system is structured.

The entire layout is as follows:

Exit Code → Country Code → Area Code → Local Number

As an example, let’s say you wanted to make a phone call from the UK, to Los Angeles, CA. It would look like this:

00 → 1 → 323 → 555-2213

Step Two: Dial the Exit Code for Your Country

The numbers vary depending on where you’re calling from and who the call is being placed to. For example, if you we’re calling from the United States, the first exit code or International Direct Dialing Number (IDD) would be 011 instead of 00.

Step Three: Dial the Country Code for The One You’re Calling

When you enter this first set of digits, you are telling the phone carrier that this call will be outside of the country you’re currently in. The country code that follows redirects your call to the proper circuit for the country you are calling. This used to be done manually by switchboard operators, but now it is all computerized.

Step Four: Dial the Area Code

The location is further narrowed by the area code which designates the approximate city or region you are calling, and finally the number pinpoints the individual you are seeking to speak with.

Step Five: Dial the Local Phone Number

This final step can vary between countries as the number of digits may be different. Some countries contain what is called a “trunk prefix” that is only used when dialing domestically. This prefix must be removed when dialing locally.

The prefix is usually a 1 or 0 and if you aren’t sure, you can leave out the first number of the local number you’re dialing to connect. An example is the U.S. trunk prefix which is the number 1. This is used before dialing area codes that are outside the one a person is residing in. When dialing in from an international location, this number is removed.

How to Make International Calls Cheaper

There are several ways to make international call on your phone, computer, or other handheld devices which cost a fraction of the normal rates. To help you better stay in touch with those living abroad, consider these helpful methods of saving money when calling outside your country.

  1. Internet-Based Services

There are many different companies in our modern society that offer the ability to chat with people online via text, video, and voice calls. All you need is an internet connection as most of these services are free.

Keep in mind that the free portions are usually contacting other people with the same program. There can potentially be a small fee to use the program to call a mobile phone or a landline. This fee can be paid for with a credit card or by using pre-paid credit through the program.

The most popular programs for this kind of communication are the following:

There are others as well. These services can be great way to stay in touch via an internet connection.

  1. VoIP Services

This category represents a number of services that provide both domestic and international phone calls for less cost than mainstream providers like AT&T and T-Mobile. These providers offer their services as an addition to your broadband internet.

Using your internet connection, they can establish phone calls to any lines regardless of their format or location. Most of these companies will offer a standardized rate for their services. In most cases little to no hardware is required either.

Since 2008, over 80% of all Private branch exchange lines were installed using VoIP technology, which illustrates the popularity of this option for small and large businesses. Some major VoIP providers for both residential and commercial use include:

Of course, there are plenty more as well. These services can offer a long-term solution for all of your calling needs at a fraction of the cost you would expect to pay from a cell-phone provider.

Helpful Tips for International Calling

Before we leave you with the knowledge of how to make an international call, we would first like to offer some final tips and review to help you have the best experience possible:

Read more on International Calling Codes: What They Are and How to Use Them.

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