previous icon Back to blog
Nov 27, 2020
3 minutes read

How to format international telephone numbers

Sending SMS messages is easy, although some of the finer details can be a little confusing. Formatting international phone numbers, for example, can be tricky, so here's how it's done.

Country codes

The most important part to remember is to add the international country code. A mobile phone number in the United Kingdom always starts with the digits '07', for instance ‘07911 123456’. If you don't add an international country code, a computer might interpret that phone number as something else altogether. The country code for Russia is ‘+7’, and Russian mobile phone numbers start with ‘+79’, so ‘+7911 123456’ might actually be a Russian mobile phone number.

Adding ‘+44’, the UK’s country code makes the number unambiguous; ‘+44 7911 123456’ will always connect to a mobile phone in the UK.

I want to sign up for a demo account and Start sending SMS messages

E.164 formatting

It might be clever to format numbers using the E.164 recommendation. An international E.164 number is designed to include all of the necessary information to successfully route a call or SMS message to an individual subscriber on a national public telephone network.

Here's how the E.164 numbering plan works:

  • A telephone number can have a maximum of 15 digits
  • The first part of the telephone number is the country code (one to three digits)
  • The second part is the national destination code (NDC)
  • The last part is the subscriber number (SN)
  • The NDC and SN together are collectively called the national (significant) number

To use the previous example:

  • Country code: +44
  • National destination code: 7911
  • Subscriber number: 123456
  • The result: +447911123456

Two important things to note: First of all, in the international E.164 notation a leading ‘0’ is removed. The UK mobile phone number ‘07911 123456’ in international format is ‘+44 7911 123456’, so without the first zero. Secondly in the E.164 notation all spaces, dashes [‘-‘] and parentheses [ ‘(‘ and ‘)’] are removed, besides the leading ‘+’ all characters should be numeric.   

International phone number validator

A great way to check whether a phone number is correct, or how it should look in E.164 formatting, is by using the Phone Number Parser demo. This is part of a piece of software that Google uses to check phone number formatting in Android phones.

The website ‘howstuffworks’ has more valuable background information on the origin of the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU) and the numbering plan E.164

SMS: instant international reach

SMS is an effective way of instantly reaching people all over the world. See how our partners are using SMS to reach their customers, improve customer service and increase conversion.

Try SMS for free

Was this article interesting?
Share it!
CM.com
connects tens of thousands of companies with millions of consumers via their mobile phone each day. Behind the scenes, from our innovative platform, CM.com makes sure companies can use these millions of messages, phone calls and payments to become part of people’s lives.

Related articles

egg-blog
Feb 19, 2024 • Live

Driving ticket sales via SMS Campaigns: how one London club embraced the change

Egg LDN have been a popular name on the London nightclub scene for over a decade. But with a client base that engaged predominantly via their mobile device, they needed more than just an email platform to drive ticket sales. Read how we helped the team get started with SMS and drive ticket sales.

WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger
Feb 12, 2024 • Instant Messaging

WhatsApp vs Facebook Messenger: which messaging channel is right for your business?

WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are both established messaging channels for customer engagement. But what are the differences? Which advantages does each channel have for what business use case?

drive-engagement-and-convert-your-conversations-with-whatsapp-carousel
Feb 05, 2024 • WhatsApp

Drive engagement and increase conversion with WhatsApp Carousel

With two billion daily active users globally and ten million downloads annually in the UK, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging channels. The WhatsApp Business Platform enables businesses to utilise this channel to connect with customers. It offers a variety of powerful engagement tools to enhance customer communication and boost sales. And now, WhatsApp has added another innovative feature: WhatsApp Carousel.

Ads That Click to WhatsApp
Jan 29, 2024 • WhatsApp

Click-to-chat WhatsApp ads: what are they and what are the benefits?

Effective marketing means creating personal and conversational experiences for your customers. And what better place to meaningfully connect to your customers than on their favourite social media platforms and channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram? With click-to-chat WhatsApp ads, which direct users on Facebook and Instagram to a WhatsApp chat when clicked, you can offer customers direct and personal engagement and make a seamless entry point to your business's WhatsApp channel.

WhatsApp Pay
Jan 22, 2024 • WhatsApp

Build flexible, functional and rich interactions with WhatsApp Flows

WhatsApp Business Platform is adding another new and innovative feature to its repertoire: WhatsApp Flows. But what are WhatsApp Flows? And what can they do for businesses?

whatsapp-authentication
Jan 15, 2024 • Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on different messaging channels

Data security is an integral part of any organisation. Yet, how can businesses protect sensitive information in a world where employees and customers access online accounts from multiple devices and channels? Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is the answer.

blog-image-2fa-best-practices
Jan 08, 2024 • Authentication

Best practices for Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enhancing platform security and implementing Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) processes are crucial for organisations to protect business and customer data. However, these security measures only work when employees and customers are willing to adopt and adhere to them. So, how can your business ensure employee and customer adoption? In this blog, we'll dive into Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), its benefits and best practices to ensure adoption.

digitalizacion-administracion-publica-y-educacion
Dec 14, 2023 • Customer Experience

Elevating experiences: customer engagement technology trends in 2024

As we approach 2024, the ever-evolving landscape of technology continues to shape how customers connect, consume and communicate with businesses. Forrester even predicts customer experience (CX) will improve for the first time in three years, meaning 2024 will be a pivotal year for engagement with every touchpoint becoming a make-or-break opportunity in the customer journey.

live-blog-blog-featured-uk-2
Dec 07, 2023 • Live

5 ways to increase your sponsorship revenue with an event app

As an event organiser, you might view an event app as an unnecessary luxury but don’t rule it out too quickly; an event app doesn't have to be a cost but rather an additional revenue stream. It adds tremendous value as a digital assistant for your attendees and, you have an extra tool to provide sponsors and partners with much more exposure and 'stage time.' For many organisers, an event app enables them to generate more revenue and in many cases, the increased revenue means it pays for itself.

Is this region a better fit for you?
Go
close icon