Everyday life

Phone Numbers





Is there anyone who can explain this…?


12 thoughts on “Phone Numbers

  1. Till cell phones appeared in Greece some 20 years ago, phone numbers (landlines) had a total of 9 digits. Of these, the actual phone number had only 7 digits for Athens, 6 digits for a handful of major cities, and only 5 digits for the rest. The other digits comprised the area code (01 for Athens, 0x1 for cajor cities, and 0xx1 for the rest), which you didn’t even have to dial when you made local call. Digits were usually grouped in groups of three (for major cities), or groups if two and three (Athens or the rest of towns), if somebody spelled out his phone number, and sometimes in writing too. It wold be something like 922-997 or 40 52 966 (the last three digits usually formed one group whatever the case). 10-digit numbers, multiple “area codes” for the same area, and esp. the mixed format of cell phone numbers, gradually changed the aforementioned practice.


  2. Some decades ago greek telephone numbers were 7 digits for Athens and 5 or 6 digits for the rest of Greece. The 5 or 6 digits telephone numbers depended on the population of each town that the number belonged to. For the 5 or 6 there was also the area code but this was always omitted in adverts, in writing or in communications in general, since if you just gave your number you were mostly speaking with people from the same town thus same area code.

    So for 5-6-7 digit telephone numbers there was no need to “break” the number in writing. When the new system, of appending the area code in front of the number, was introduced I think that we didn’t change the way we wrote.
    …just my 2 cents


  3. Sure thing.
    On land lines the first 3 to 5 numbers are the city code (210 for athens,2310 for Thessaloniki,2610 for Patra, 26220 for Amaliada etc.) and you can pinpoint the exact area from the next few numbers(though thats a lot more complex)
    As for cell phones all numbers start with 69 and the third digit shows the cell provider that originally issued it(690, 693 and 699 for Wind, 697 and 698 for Cosmote and finally 694 and 695 for Vodafone). Note that it doesn’t necessarily show the current cell provider of the owner since you can change your provider and take your old number with you.
    Most commonly the only space you may find is between the area/cell provider code and the rest of the number.


  4. We suck at communication, even if it seems the other way.

    I’m assuming every (Greek) person uses mentally a way to break the 10 digit number to 2-3-4-digit chunks. But it seems that none communicates it to the others.

    I can think of a few reason for this:

    a) Say my number is a nasty 6987345122. I’d organize it in my mind as 69-87-345-122
    But someone else would “store” it in his memory as 69-87-34-51-22 or 6-987-345-122 or …etc.
    So, by not using one way or the other, you leave it to the reader of your card to organize it as he/she feels best.

    In oral communication I’d spell 69-87-345-122 so if most people organize information like me, the listener would convert my “encoding” to his, say 69-87-34-51-22.

    b) The other possible reason is that most Greeks are not big funs of making our life easier, or the life of those we communicate with. Most people seem to prefer unstructured objects than structured, because structure enforces restrictions, and Greeks love to be flexible.

    Great blog, keep it up !



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