Calling Australia from the United States

I have an online friend in Brisbane that I have known for about two years now and she and I have talked to each other on the phone a few times in that period but the last time was months ago, when she was at a previous number. She’s since moved and, in so doing, she’s gotten a new number and, apparently, either her phone dislikes me and refuses to take my calls or I’ve somehow forgotten how to dial Australia.

Her hypothetical number is 0 123 456 789 and I know I am supposed to drop the zero and add 011, 61, and 07, making it 011 61 07 123 456 789 and I have tried every conceivable combination of those numbers, both with and without the zero and the closest I have gotten to talking to her is some recording in a thick Australian accent telling me that I should drop the zero from Brisbane’s city code before I dial again, which I did only to get another message from my provider that it can’t complete the call as dialed.

Am I doing something obviously wrong? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Assume her Australian number is (07) 3123 4567. You would need to dial +61 7 3123 4567 ("+" obviously equating to whatever your international access code is).

Failing that, she gave you a dud number! Try calling her on Skype instead!

According to this guide you definitely drop the “7” for the Brisbane part of the code. No “07”. The guide also suggests that you try contacting your friend through the international operator.

Just as a check, the Aussie White Pages are here.

Assuming that’s her number, I’ve called that both with both 011 and 11 – the international access code – and I would gladly call her on skype and save the money on international calling but her internet access is really limited right now and the phone’s really the only way to reach her at present.

A wrong number’s possible but I doubt it.

Thanks for the international operator idea, Ice Wolf. I’ll try that tomorrow as it’s 0230 here right now

It should definitely be 011. My relatives in North America have to dial 011 61 3 XXXX XXXX to call me in Melbourne. And it should only be 8 digits after the city code (“7” in your case).

If you’re trying to dial her mobile (cellphone) number, I think the rules are different than to home landline numbers.

But as I don’t have a mobile, I don’t know what the differences are.

You might need to be slightly more specific about her phone number.

0 123 456 789 is not a valid australian phone number. It should be an area code (07 for Brisbane) followed by eight digits.

So lets say the number is:

(07) 1234 5678

You then dial your own international calling code, 011, followed by Australia’s country code, 61, followed by the area code without the 0, and then the eight digit number.

It should look like this,

011 61 7 1234 5678

If it is a mobile number then it will be something like,

0412 345 678

In that case you should be able to dial it by dropping the 0 and adding your own international code and Australia’s country code to the front,

011 61 412 345 678

This is much the same process as making an internatioinal call between any two countries, in my limited experience.

I think the rules are the same, as illustrated in Death Ray’s post. Australian mobile phone numbers start with a four-digit carrier code such as 0431, 0402 etc followed by a six digit handset/SIM number. The network treats the carrier code in the same way as it treats area codes for landlines. Both start with zero, and in both cases, international callers should omit that zero.

If the situation in the US is the same as it is here, then you are probably able to get a much better deal by not using the standard 011 overseas service. Here, we have all manner of (relatively) new (five or ten years or so) el cheapo phone card deals. You can pick up the prepaid cards at the local shop (specialist ethnic groceries here seem to love them), and the cost is a tiny, tiny fraction of the regular overseas rate. Calls between industrialised countries are in the order of a cent or two per minute sometimes.

Right. I was trying to be as generic as possible while keeping the same number of digits given to me, and being unfamiliar with the Australian numbering conventions since she just gave me one long string of numbers with no spaces, I didn’t know how to group them. The group email she sent out to all her friends about her new landline was, verbatim (save the digits): “Forgot to send my new home number as well : it’s 07XXXXXXXX. If you’re calling from overseas you drop the 0 and add other numbers - that should be in your phone book.”

The mobile number that she sent me in a follow-up email looks similar to what you and **TheLoadedDog **say it should, i.e, 04XX followed by six more digits. Neither seems to get me very far though, as I said in the OP, I did get an Australian recording to drop the zero in Brisbane’s city code the next time I try calling it. That’s as close as I’ve gotten to calling her this time around. Evertyhing else has been answered by the operator by the second or third ring telling me that the number cannot be completed as dialed.

Also, I’ve apparently been adding 7 to her mobile number this entire time when I didn’t need to. That may help me get her on her on it but I’m still flummoxed about her landline.

Thanks for the heads up. I already have an international calling plan on my phone for an extra $5 a month at twenty cents a minute (down from, I think, $1.39 USD but I honestly can’t remember the exact original price) but if calling cards are really only a cent or two a minute, they’re definitely worth looking into

No worries. Forgive me if I’m telling you very obvious stuff you already know, but how I’ve usually done this is to go down to my local tobacconist / Vietnamese grocery / Hong Kong-style toy and gift shop, and they usually have the window covered in posters with the varying rates for the phone cards. Most of them are aimed at certain nationalities’ ex-pats or backpackers, and you’ll get ones with cheesy names like UNCLE SAM, PINOY CHAT, or LONDON CALLING. If you can’t find the best one for the country you’re looking for, the shop proprietor will generally have a printed out spreadsheet and will help you find the best deal. Work out how long you’re likely to be on the phone for, though. Some cards have a flagfall and lower per minute rates, which are good for those two-hour lovey-dovey marathon phone calls. Others charge no connection fee, but will be higher per minute.

BTW, I’m curious that you’re getting a recorded message rapping you across the knuckles for including the zero. From memory, I’ve forgotten to omit the zero a few times when calling home from overseas, and the system has forgiven me. After all, the zero is only there to tell the system that a domestically-originated call is not trying to call a local number - omitting that zero is just a convenience for the overseas caller, but including it shouldn’t matter, as the foreign call is going to need an area code regardless. Not terribly earth-shattering, just odd.

I think John Howard is blocking all international calls until after the election.

Not from the USA, surely! :smiley:

But what really shits me is that you get cards that charge you a fraction of the Telstra charge for calls within Australia! 'Splain me that cobber.

Because people are stupid.

Even back in 1999, I had a bloke come to my door flogging cheap landline access. I think it was AAP from memory. I signed up, because the deal was good. As we were doing the paperwork, he said the most frustrating part of his job as a door to door salesman flogging cheap phone access wasn’t the people telling him to sod off, but the folks who didn’t want to know about it because they “have been with Telstra for forty years, and there’s no reason to change.” He told me that he’d even prefer they joined one of his competitors rather than see them throw money at Telstra for no reason.

Managed to get ahold of her mobile after getting the answering machine on her landline last night and we talked for about two hours. Thanks for the help, everyone.

:eek: Jesus Christ!

My home long distance/international provider is BigRedWire and my rates to Australia landlines are 6.5 cents a minute and they give me about $8 a month of free calling without any monthly fees. I don’t remember the last time my long distance + international bill was over $10 and I do quite a bit of calling. US long distance rates are 3.4c/m intrastate and 3.9c/m interstate. I don’t think there are any calling cards that beat that, but I didn’t realize people would actually pay a monthly fee just to get international calling.

The $5 is for the value plan, which is seperate from the free international calling capability.

One of the nice features of Skype is that you can call from your computer to any regular telephone, at a cost of roughly US$ 0.02 per minute. So, she doesn’t need to have internet access, you can call her on her phone for WAY the hell cheaper than any other method.

You need to set up Skype on you computer, and you pay in advance by credit card, but if you pay US$10 in advance, what the heck, you’d spend that on a regular phone call anyhow.

Ooh. Thanks, Dex. I had no idea Skype could be used to call a normal telephone number. Are you also able to call mobiles or is it just landlines?