35

This may not exactly fit the context of this site, but I think it's worth a shot, and the answer may be useful within the context of the site.

I am attempting to call the Australian phone number listed as 131542 on the Kia of Australia Contact Us page from my US-based mobile phone. Though, even after reading the Wikipedia page on Telephone Numbers in Australia I can not seem to get it correct. My best guess is to use the "International Access" code of 1100 along with the country code 61 prepended (totaling 61-1100-1315421). Though I've had no luck with that or any other seemingly esoteric collection of codes and the listed number.

How can I dial a 6-digit Australian phone number from a US based mobile phone? I have Verizon Wireless for my mobile carrier.


This may be useful to other travelers trying to contact Australian companies, hotels, etc. And for those interested, Kia of Australia sells a cargo roof rack for my car that Kia of America does not recognize or sell. I am trying to get more information on it.

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it relates to shopping, not travel. (And not shopping for something travel-related.) – WGroleau Aug 13 at 2:34
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    @WGroleau, on the other hand, knowing how to call out of a country can be very handy for travellers. I remember being sent to England on a business trip. After I arrived I wanted to phone my wife and had a lot of trouble doing so. It was a small hotel, with no staff in the evening or at night. The room phone had good instructions: "9" to get an outside line, "00" to make an international call, country code, and finally the phone number. But it took me a long time to figure out that for Canada, the "country code" was the "1" that I normally use for long distance calls. – Ray Butterworth Aug 13 at 5:43
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    @RayButterworth I'm not sure why you're putting scare quotes around "country code", as if to suggest that that's not really what it is. And, as your comment demonstrates, you could easily find out how to call out of the country because clear instructions were provided. The only reason you had difficulty is that you neglected to find out what your country code was before leaving. – David Richerby Aug 13 at 14:37
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    @WGroleau Shopping? Where on earth did you get that? Calling internationally is most certainly something an international traveler is likely to need to do at some point. – Kevin Aug 13 at 17:13
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    @DavidRicherby, I wasn't insulting either Americans or British, I was acknowledging that I myself was guilty of having the attitudes represented by the Ugly American (pejorative) - Wikipedia and "Snooty British" stereotypes. My comment should be no more insulting than "Downton Abbey" is insulting. – Ray Butterworth Aug 13 at 17:37
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Where are you getting the "1100" code from? That might be your problem.

USA, Canada, and other countries in country code "1" use "011" as the international dialing prefix.

You would normally dial:

  • "011" - "I want to call a different country."
  • "61" - Australia country code.
  • "131 542" - The number in Australia.

To call you, people in Australia would dial:

  • "0011" - "I want to call a different country."
  • "1" - North America country code
  • "213" - Area code for Los Angeles
  • "555" - Exchange
  • "2368" - Number

See International Calling Codes - Nations Online Project

EDIT:

  • "J..." points out that this isn't a normal local Australian number: it is only 6 digits.

  • Telephone numbers in Australia - Wikipedia says that numbers like this (beginning with "13") are special numbers that automatically reverse the long-distance charges, equivalent to North America's "+1-800" numbers.

  • These toll free numbers can be restricted for use within certain areas (e.g. within Australia only).

  • So, even when the international dialing prefix is correct, it might still be impossible for the call to go through.

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    If you hold 0 on most mobile phones when entering a phone number, it will enter the ‘+’ symbol, which avoids the need to enter locale specific prefixes to country codes. – Eric Aug 13 at 7:17
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    There are countries using 011 and 0011? Here we simply use 00 (or +) to call our international neighbours. So, 0032 (or +32) for Belgium. Do you leave the 0 away from area codes as well, or do your area codes not have a 0 in front at all? – Mast Aug 14 at 8:43
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    @Mast Yes (to your first question). That is why the standard prefix is '+' - to stand in for all the different national prefixes. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Aug 14 at 11:36
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    @Mast: Re "do your area codes not have a 0 in front at all?" - The North American Numbering Plan uses a clever hack. If you are dialing long-distance within the NANP, you (usually) prefix the area code with a 1 to indicate long-distance. If you are dialing an NANP number internationally, you dial +1 (NANP's country code), and then the area code. So the number starts with a 1 either way. Regardless, the three-digit area code itself must not begin with zero, because dialing zero gets you operator assistance under NANP. – Kevin Aug 15 at 21:35
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    2/2 The net effect of all that is that you can just whack a "+" in front of a long-distance NANP number to convert it into an international number, which is very neat. – Kevin Aug 15 at 21:38
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To dial a number in another country, you first dial the international access code for your country, then the code for the country you're calling, then the actual phone number, usually omitting the first zero if any.
You can replace the international access code with a + on mobile phones.

The international access code for the US is 011.
The country code for Australia is 61.

So that would make it 011 61 131542 or +61 131542 for your example.

However, that may not work. The Australian equivalents of the US 1-800 numbers are 13 numbers (as well as 1300 and 1800), as is the number you want to call. They are charged at a local rate to the caller. The downside is that they're often not available from abroad, likely because the owner is charged the actual cost of calling the number.


However, Kia has a dealer locator that shows phone numbers for those dealers. Those seem to be regular phone numbers that are callable from outside Australia. Pick one of those and call them, either doing your business with them directly, or asking them for a number to call from abroad.

Alternatively, you can call Kia USA and ask them for a number to call Kia AU on.

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    Is 011 actually used anymore? I can dial any international number from my mobile phone in the US and it will work. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Aug 13 at 20:32
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    @JonathanReez phones and mobile providers make dialing more convenient by hiding these details from you but they're not gone, just hidden. Also, odds are that you can only dial SOME international numbers and have them work. – barbecue Aug 13 at 20:45
  • @JonathanReez Only on landlines and VoIP lines. – Michael Hampton Aug 14 at 4:12
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    +1 for addressing the fact that this is a 13 number and that there are special caveats for calling these virtual numbers which do not apply to regular landline or mobile numbers. – J... Aug 14 at 15:50
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    You can use a + on any phone that supports it. – Stop Harming Monica Aug 15 at 14:59
20

13xxxx is a "magic" number.

For instance, calling 131 888 will ring the nearest Domino's Pizza (to your location in Australia). Your number will presumably reach the nearest Kia dealer.

From Wikipedia:

13 xx xx, 1300 xxx xxx and 1800 xxx xxx numbers can provide source-based routing, used by organisations such as pizza chains that advertise one number nationwide that connects customers to their nearest store.

These magic numbers do not work internationally, for obvious reasons.

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    It's like 112 (emergency services) but for normal companies! Pretty cool idea. – kiradotee Aug 14 at 9:05
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    And of particular use for travellers, 131008 will connect you to the local taxi booking line anywhere in Australia. – caf Aug 15 at 0:37
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    @caf could you please put that into a self answered question? That's incredibly useful info. – chx Aug 15 at 1:34
  • It doesn't make much sense to route an international call from the US to the closest Australian Domino's Pizza. However, if the caller with an American phone is in Australia, I would expect they worked (when providing all the required country code prefixes). – Ángel Aug 15 at 12:41
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    @MarkMayo You should have ordered unbaked pizza from Domino's instead of calling Kia; at least in North America it's delivered in 30 minutes or it's free. – Rob Aug 17 at 11:48
11

They aren't accessible from every country, but from the US it should be.

[International dial-out code] + (61) + your inbound number should do the trick.

So in this case, 1100, if that's your dial out code, 61, then 131542.

Note: + usually means international too, replacing 00, so in my experience I just dial +61 131542.

I'm not sure about the dial out code, you'll need to see if you need that (I don't from NZ), but as I'm in NZ at present I just tried, and dialling +61131542 worked for me.

  • This is actually one of the first numbers I tried. Ill try looking around for what my dial out code may be. Though Ive only ever heard of one in terms of a business phone line, like from within a large corporate building phone network. – KDecker Aug 13 at 1:57
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    @KDecker: Dial out codes. But I think it's extremely common on mobile phones that the + key automatically dials your dial out code, whatever it happens to be for your phone, so you should not need to actually look it up. – Nate Eldredge Aug 13 at 4:30
7

Telephoning Kia from International may not be possible because of their short number - it may be a special number like a US 1-800 that doesn't work internationally.

Australian landline telephone numbers are 8 digit.

Australia uses eight digit local phone numbers preceded by a two digit STD area code.
Source

So the quoted 6 digit phone number is something odd.

The Australian country code is 61. When calling from outside Australia, leave out the leading '0' from the STD area code or from the mobile telephone number.

Example: Fixed line example calling Canberra from outside Australia: +61 2 (local eight digit number)

The Area Code for NSW is probably 02 but some areas may use the 08 and 03 area codes instead.
Source


Alternatives, why not use a simple local telephone? Payphones still exist, or your accommodation should have some kind of telephone. You could also purchase a "prepay" or "pay as you go" sim and see if it works in your phone. Or purchase a cheap cellphone for the time you're in Australia, and gift it to someone else before you leave.

  • It is very easy to dial a six digit 13 number from OS. These are often critical services. – mckenzm Aug 15 at 0:56
3

One approach that is generally useful for calling toll-free numbers (from outside the country they're intended to be used in) but, unfortunately, fails in the case of Australian toll-free numbers is to use Skype to phone (you need to have a credit to use the service, about $10 USD is the minimum):

Yes, use the dial pad to enter toll free numbers on Skype. The following countries and number ranges are supported and are free of charge to all users:

France: +33 800, +33 805, +33 809

Poland: +48 800

UK: +44 500, +44 800, +44 808

USA: +1 800, +1 866, +1 877, +1 888

Taiwan: +886 80

That also allows you to call regular phones from a cell phone using local cellular data or WiFi access points, which I find very useful. Again, it's not free, but quite cheap (2-3 cents/minute), in my experience.

2

SQB covered it very well.. Six digit 13 numbers are generally for use only within Australia because the owner of the number might be charged for its use. That is also why there are significantly higher call rates for those numbers on Skype if you can get them to work.

To call Australia landline numbers use either 001161 or +61 prior to the Australian number. Landlines will have a two digit area code beginning with zero (0) and mobile numbers all begin with 04. In both cases drop the zero. For example landline 02-12345678 becomes +61212345678 and mobile 0412345678 becomes +61412345678.

1

It is not enough to use 61 as the country code.

You must also use an area code.

So +61 2 132221 for CBA IVR/VRU

Be aware that 13 numbers are not always the same across all area codes or even regions that share the area codes. Annoying if it is used in a jingle and then does not work.

If you are calling Centrelink (!) be very sure to tell them where they might think you normally live, their systems may make assumptions and not find your records, the same as calling them from interstate.

This is a big problem between SA and WA as they are both '08' or +618. You will likely get the SA number. You cannot dial 1194 in this way, and inside Australia 081194 is the time in Adelaide, not Perth.

Be also aware that most companies using 13 numbers have an alias landline number specifically for calling from overseas.

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