If you’ve never lived abroad, dealing with phone numbers from multiple countries at once can be confusing. Here’s a primer to make things easy!
First off, in order to call internationally, you need to start with a fixed prefix. In all European countries, that prefix is 00, usually abbreviated as +.
Next, all countries have a calling code. For the US, you’ll dial +1 (001), for the UK you’ll dial +44 (0044), and for Germany you’ll dial +49 (0049). You can find a searchable list of all country calling codes here and a map of European calling codes here.
Of course, when you’re calling a number within the country you’re located in, you don’t need to use the prefix or calling code. Instead, you replace it with a single 0. That’s why you’ll see all German numbers written as beginning with a 0, or sometimes showing both possibilities like this: +49 (0) 711 4101 0150.
In Stuttgart, landlines begin with 0711. That’s called a “Vorwahl,” much like an American “area code.” You can recognize German mobile numbers because they usually begin with 01.
Since Europe is so interconnected and international travel is so easy, you’ll quickly collect contacts from multiple countries in your phone. It’s a good idea to enter all your contact numbers with the prefix and calling code so you can just select the contact and click “call” regardless of which country you’re located in at the time of the call. For example, you’d save Executive Suites Stuttgart as +49 711 4101 0150.
To enter a “+” just hold down the 0 on your smart phone. (Of course, when you’re calling from a landline, just press 0 twice followed by the country code).
Tips for Americans
If you’re from the United States, there are three key differences you should be aware of when it comes to calling people:
1. There has long been a difference in cost for calling mobile and landline numbers. Many new unlimited phone plans don’t make the distinction, but it’s still common to see plans with “free landline to landline calling and x cents per minute for landline to mobile” or “unlimited mobile to mobile calling and 250 minutes mobile to landline calling.”
2. As a general rule within the European Union, only the person who makes the call pays for it. If you use your mobile to call a landline, you’re the one paying for it or having minutes deducted. The recipient of the call is not charged for the call. This has advantages. Let’s say you give your child a prepaid German SIM with only a certain allowance of minutes – there’s no limit on their side to how many minutes you spend calling to check up on them. However, if you receive a call on your German mobile while you are outside the EU, both you and the caller will be charged for it. Additionally, if you are using a US phone here in Germany, both you and the caller have those minutes counted against your plan.
3. Many customer service numbers charge an additional fee per minute of connected talk time (usually this doesn’t include hold time, but it can!) There can also be a flat charge for connecting you. Be sure to check what the cost is and consider going to a physical store or using an online platform to handle your questions or complaints. As unfair as it seems, you might be paying per minute to ask a company to fix a problem that’s their fault!
For example, check out the cost for various types of Telekom customer service.
You should now be well equipped for making all kinds of calls during your time in Stuttgart! What’s more, if you stay with Executive Suites Stuttgart, you can enjoy free unlimited landline calling to 25+ countries, in addition to free unlimited mobile calls to the US and Canada. Learn more here.