Why do mobile numbers in Italy start with 3?

Have you ever noticed the fact that in Italy mobile numbers always start with 3? The answer is to be found in the so-called “National numbering plan”established byAGCOM (Communications Guarantee Authority) and organized by using the first digit of a telephone number to provide an initial classification of the services that are accessible with the latter. In the specific case of the figure 3the Authority determined that it corresponded to the numbering for mobile and personal communications services. It is for this reason that all mobile numbers in Italy must necessarily start with 3.

To be honest, though, things weren't always this way. Until the June 30, 2001in fact, mobile numbers began with 03. Following a reorganization of Italian numbers, approved with the provision appearing in the Official Gazette of 21 July 2000, the number 0 was assigned to national geographical numbers (therefore for calls to landline telephone numbers), which led to remove the 0 and leave the 3. Landline numbers, however, begin with 0 throughout Italy.

Official Journal |  Geopop
The issue of the Official Gazette of 5 July 2000 which announces the news on the Italian telephone numbering system.

The mega reorganization of the Italian telephone numbering system carried out through the National Numbering Plan, has in fact determined the structure of the telephone numbers active in the Italian territory by assigning to the first digits of the latter the identity of the service offered, which we report below.

  • 0 – As just said, indicates a national geographic numbering (if it is present just one 0) or international (if there is a double 00the latter can also be replaced with +).
  • 1 – Indicates a numbering for specific services with short numbers, for premium services and for harmonized European services of social value (such as the single emergency number 112).
  • 2 – Reserved for future needs (currently unused).
  • 3 – Indicates a numbering for mobile and personal communications services.
  • 4 – Indicates a numbering for internal network services and services via SMS/MMS and data transmission (such as checking remaining credit).
  • 5 – Indicates numbers for nomadic telephone communication services.
  • 6 – Reserved for future needs (currently unused).
  • 7 – Indicates numbering for Internet access services and codes for mobile and personal communications services.
  • 8 – Indicates a numbering for services charged to the person called, for services with split charges and for surcharge services.
  • 9 – Reserved for future needs (currently unused).
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Numbering plan in the telecommunications sector and implementation regulations Official Journal 21 July 2000