Dialing a landline number, Calling a cell phone number
Since the beginning of 2016, Chile has changed the way to dial numbers. Before, to reach the same phone, the digits to dial were different if you used a landline phone or a mobile phone… a nightmare each time you had to call someone.
Now, the system is homogeneous. Let’s have a look.
Phones numbers in Chile
A Chilean number contains 9 digits:
- If it is a mobile, it starts with 9 followed by 8 digits
- If it is a landline phone in Santiago, it starts with 2 followed by 8 digits
- If it is a landline phone outside Santiago, it starts with the 2-digit area code, followed by 7 digits
See area codes here: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anexo:Prefijos_telef%C3%B3nicos_de_Chile
Dial a number
From any mobile phone/landline phone, you dial the 9 digits. It looks like simple, but before. You could sometimes use only 8 digits, sometimes you had to add a 0, a 2, and 0 then a 2….
If you call from a phone outside Chile, you need to add +56 in front of the 9 digits.
With the new system, it gets complicated if you ask/give a cell phone number in Santiago.
People are still used to give 8-digit numbers (the previous system). However, if the person gives you 8 digits, you have no way to know it it’s a cell phone or a landline phone. You need to ask when you take the number. Otherwise, you can try to add a 9 (cell phone) or a 2 (landline phone) in front of the 8 digits, to figure out which one works.
If you are passionate about phone numbers, the Chilean government has created a dedicated website just for you 😉
You can call these numbers for free from any phone.
The 3 numbers to have in mind. They all start with 13:
- Emergency services: 131
- Firemen: 132
- Police: 133 (emergency number)/911 works too
It looks like complicated, but there is actually a very simple way to remember them if you speak a little of Spanish:
- “Emergency services” translate to “Ambulancia” in Spanish. It starts with letter A, the first letter of alphabet, so it’s 13 followed by 1: 131.
- “Firemen” translate to “Bomberos” in Spanish. It starts with letter B, so it’s 13 followed by 2: 132.
- “Police” translates to “Carabineros” in Spanish. It starts with letter C, so it’s 133.
For the next numbers (134, 135, 136…), no mnemonic method unfortunately.
Let’s mention a few others, in case you need them:
- 130: CONAF (National forestry office) – forest fires
- 134: PDI
- 135: Police – drugs
- 136: Mountain rescue services
- 137: Marine rescue services
- 139: Police – information number
- 147: Police – information number for children
- 149: Police – information number for domestic violence
Customer service numbers
Most larges companies have dedicated customer service numbers. For example you can join Correos de Chile dialing 600 95 20 20
These free numbers do not respect the above-mentioned norm.
And you need to know that they only work on landline phone. You cannot use them from a mobile phone.
Usually, a quick look at the company website should allow you to find another number, to be used from mobile phones.