Argentina locally uses a flat numbering plan, similar to that of the USA.
- Area code + Subscriber Number
This means that Mobile numbers and Fixed line numbers are mixed into the national area code ranges, unlike other countries where a mobile number can be identified by the first prefix as a mobile area code, such as 7 in the UK and 8/9 in Singapore.
However, this does not pose a problem for those dialling within Argentina as the national dial plan caters for a simpler dial plan. The difficulties arise for those calling from overseas or using the E164 dialling method.
For dialling any Argentine telephone number that is a mobile number from overseas or using e.164 format you are required to add the prefix of 9.
- Country Code (54) + “9” + Area code + Subscriber Number
Here the question arises, well how do we know which is a mobile number and which is a fixed line if the numbering plan is flat?
Toku can advise of 3 methods to this.
1) Trial and Error
You would dial the number and if this does not connect you would dial with the prefix of 9.
2) Prefix “15”
The second is in some cases the number may have the digits “15” after the area code and before the subscriber number. This typically indicates it is a mobile number.
This is a difficult method and does not occur all the time as it requires understanding the area code of the subscriber but can be fruitful if quickly looking at a number.
If the number has a “15” after the area code, then you will need to remove this from the number whilst adding the prefix 9 to dial the number from overseas.
Why is there a “15” in between the area code and the subscriber number?
Where countries deploy flat numbering plans, such as the USA, for those that own a mobile number they would typically pay for their incoming calls. This is due to the cost of the call to a mobile being higher than that of calling a fixed line call. Within Argentina the prefix of “15” is used in front of the subscriber number to permit the calling party to pay for the call. This is now a legacy network configuration within Argentina when typically, the subscriber of the mobile number was on an old rental plan that limited the amount of incoming call credit.
3) National Numbering Allocation Tables
The most recommended and complete method is to use source data from the local regulatory body.
Here you can search/filter the excel file for the relevant area code (“INDICATIVO”) and subscriber range (“BLOQUE”). The row will then indicate which operator it is allocated to and most importantly for what type of services the number allocation is designed for.
To identify Mobile numbers the “SERVICIO” column should have one of the following:
- PCS: Personal Communication Services
- SRMC: Cellular Mobile Radiocommunication Services
- SCMA: Advanced Mobile Communications Services
For those that have access to data manipulation techniques the information can be quickly referenced and tagged within their systems without any human intervention.