North American Numbering Plan

The North American Numbering Plan (NANP) is a telephone numbering plan for twenty-five regions in twenty countries, primarily in North America and the Caribbean. This group is historically known as World Zone 1 and has the international calling code 1. Some North American countries, most notably Mexico, do not participate in the NANP.

Countries participating in the NANP
Location
ContinentNorth America
TypeClosed
Typical format+1 NXX NXX-XXXX
Access codes
Country calling code1
International call prefix011
List of dialing codes

The NANP was originally devised in the 1940s by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) for the Bell System and the independent telephone operators in North America to unify the diverse local numbering plans that had been established in the preceding decades and prepare the continent for direct-dialing of calls by customers without the involvement of telephone operators. AT&T continued to administer the numbering plan until the breakup of the Bell System, when administration was delegated to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), 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.[1] The FCC also serves as the U.S. regulator. Canadian numbering decisions are made by the Canadian Numbering Administration Consortium.[2]

The NANP divides the territories of its members into numbering plan areas (NPAs) which are encoded numerically with a three-digit telephone number prefix, commonly called the area code.[3] Each telephone is assigned a seven-digit telephone number unique only within its respective numbering plan area. The telephone number consists of a three-digit central office code and a four-digit station number. The combination of an area code and the telephone number serves as a destination routing address in the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The North American Numbering Plan conforms with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Recommendation E.164, which establishes an international numbering framework.[4]


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