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The Computer Corner

By Charles Miller

Mexican Phone Dialing Procedures Soon to Be Simplified

Mark this date on your calendar: Saturday, August 3, 2019. That is the day on which the procedure for dialing telephone numbers in México is set to change again.

Again, you ask? That is something I will explain below.

Dialing Mexican phone numbers can be confusing. The new changes soon to go into effect are not guaranteed to make this any easier, but at least now the dialing procedures in México will be consistent with the standard used in more than 100 other countries. The US, unfortunately, is not one of those countries, which explains why gringos and Canadians may continue to have some trouble, while visitors from Europe and elsewhere will readily understand the new system.

Today it is important to know whether the Mexican phone number you are trying to dial is a landline or a cell phone. On August 3, that importance goes away. No longer will it be necessary to dial “044” when dialing a cell phone from a landline, and no longer will it be necessary to add an extra “1” when calling a cell phone from a US phone. So just remember to stop adding the extra “044” or extra “1” when dialing.

All Mexican phone numbers have 10 digits (area code + local number). Dial the last 7 digits to make a call locally. In México City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, dial the last 8. This eventually will change to 10-digit dialing throughout the republic.

This is not the first time that dialing procedures have changed here. México was once expected to be a part of the North American Number Plan (NANP), along with the United States and Canada. México City was assigned area code 905, while area codes 706 and 903 served northern Mexican states. One of the confusions this created was that México shared the same country code with the US, Canada, and other Latin American countries.

Around the time that Telmex was privatized in 1990, it was then decided that the Mexican telephone system should not be a part of the US-run NANP. México then adopted the dialing plan of the Union International de Télécommunications (UIT), which is used by more than 100 other countries.

The NANP area code numbers previously used by México were eventually reassigned elsewhere. 905, formerly México City, was reassigned to Toronto. Area code 706, formerly northwest México, moved to the Atlanta, Georgia region.

There is a reason I personally am so familiar with this history. On November 4, 1990, area code 903 was reassigned to my hometown in East Texas. After that, what occasionally happened was some Mexicans who dialed the old number for an office in Tijuana ended up talking instead to me in Marshall, Texas. Trying to be helpful, I learned to explain to them that México now had its own telephone country code apart from Canada and the US and that they only needed to use the new area code for Baja California Norte rather than the old area code, 903, which was now in Texas. Gracias. ¡Para servirte!

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

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