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|ni| Nicaragua +505

Number Format

Area Code:            none (formerly 1-3 digits)
Subscriber Number:    8 digits (formerly 7 digits, previously 3-6 digits)
Trunk Prefix:         0
International Prefix: 00

Area code information

22 April 2009 - national expansion to 8 digits

Existing 7-digit nicaragua national subscriber numbers were expanded to 8 digits on 22 April 2009.

Digit '2' was prepended to wireline/fixed numbers, and '8' to mobile/wireless numbers. There was no permissive period for the change.

Previous reports suggested the change would have occurred on 1 April 2009. A permissive use of old and new dialling until 30 June 2009 was previously suggested, though by now was replaced with a splash cut change.

Sources:

TELCOR announcement (5 March 2009, as amended since 1 February 2009, via ITU)

Telcor announcement 006-2008

Nicaragua phone numbers to grow to 8 digits (Tico Times, 10 October 2008)

(with report courtesy Sergiu Rosenzweig)

General notes

There had been an area code / subscriber number system in previous years. This involved use of trunk prefix '0' followed by area code and subscriber number for domestic long distance calls. However, the current system is based on a consistent national 7-digit format. Trunk prefix remains '0', which is used in cases of long distance or mobile calls. The conversion was reported to be completed in the mid-1990s.

The available numbering information from regulator TELCOR is in Spanish. Therefore, information for Nicaragua is dependent upon approximate translations.

Leading digit of national number represents:

1 short codes, carrier selection (1xx, 1xxx)
2 Managua (east)
3 Leon, Chinandega (west, central, Atlantic south)
4 reserved for future geographic number ranges, perhaps for Managua
5 Granada, Masaya, Rivas, Carazo, etc. (north, Atlantic north)
6 reserved for future wireless number ranges
7 Esteli, Matagalpa, Jinotega, Puerto Cabeza
8 toll free (800)/special/mobile/wireless services
9 premium rate, other future services
0 for international access (00) or other escape code use
Short codes are of the format 1xx or 1xxx. Carrier access codes are of the form 1xx e.g. 110 for Enitel national access, or 116 Enitel international operator-assisted access.

Reference: TELCOR national numbering plan document.

Also, list of number blocks.

2002 - proposed number changes

A document at regulator TELCOR, announced around April 2002, indicates proposals to change telephone numbering. But it was unclear if any of the following proposals would proceed or when:

1. Eliminate '0' for an initial escape code (such as for mobile or long distance access).

2. Eliminate '4' (Granada) as initial digit of subscriber numbers, moving existing '4' numbers to the '5' range.

3. Eliminate '6' (Esteli) as initial digit of subscriber numbers, moving existing '6' numbers to the '7' range.

4. Eliminate existing geographic numbers beginning with '8', moving these to the '5' (Granada) range, to allow '8' to be dedicated for mobile use.

5. Eliminate Bellsouth mobile numbers currently in the '7' range, moving these to the '8' range to conform to mobile numbering range.

Reference: Proposed numbering plan changes document (5 April 2002)

December 2003 - update and background information

Report on Nicaragua, from December 2003, courtesy Eddy Stevens:

"The former system in effect until the mid 90s, consisted of 1 to 4 digit city codes and subscriber numbers ranging from 3 to 6 digits. The conversion to the current numbering plan was gradual and the process utilized depended on the original number of digits that made up the phone number.

For the most part, this was a simple process because most telephone numbers consisted of a sequence of 6 or 7 numbers once the city code was included.

In the Managua Metro area, which was the only city with a 1 digit city code, the conversion to 6 digit phone numbers began in 1988 by repeating the leading digit of the old 5 digit phone numbers. Thus, '70221' became '770221'. In cities that had a 2 digit city code, all three and four digit phone numbers such as Nandaime's '251' or Granada's '4472' were standardized at 5 digits by adding one or a couple of '2s', becoming '22251' or '24472'. In cities that had a 3 digit city code, the 4 digit phone numbers where left unchanged, but the three digit numbers were added a '2' as the leading digit.

After this process was completed in the mid 90s, the 7 digit numbering plan went into effect by requiring all local callers to dial their own city codes before the actual number. Thus, to reach '24472' from within Granada, you were required to dial the city code "52" and then the number for a final 7 digit combination of '5224472'. This affected local dialing, but did not affect callers from other parts of the country or overseas callers, as you would still dial '0' and then '5224472' from any other part of Nicaragua or '+505 5224472' from overseas.

The '0'+7 digits format is still used to dial domestic long distance and for ALL cell phone calls.

Cellular numbers are national and are not assigned to a specific geographic area.

Cellular prefixes start with the digit '8' and are carrier specific (for example, Bellsouth Mobility uses the range 863-XXXX to 877-XXXX regardless of what city you are in). This is the reason you have to dial a '0' when dialing cellular numbers. This also results in calls from a landline to a cell phone being treated and billed as domestic long distance, which results in huge profits for the landline monopoly, ENITEL.

Cell-cell and cell-landline calls only use airtime, not long distance. In addition, incoming calls on a cell phone do not use up airtime minutes, only outgoing calls do... so many people are choosing to disconnect their landlines, just as in the US.

Emergency services take a form reversed to that used in the US... Where 119 serves as 911, etc."

Other information

Regulator: TELCOR (El Instituto NicaragŁense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos)

Wireless carrier: Nicacom.


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