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Australia - Telephone

Australia is well known for having an extremely efficient telephone service. Whether it is public pay phones, home land lines or mobile phones the telephone service in Australia is one of the best world-wide. If you are moving into the country you will need to advise family and friends to use the country code prefix before dialling. The country code for Australia is 61. They would then need to drop the zero from the area code and continue dialling the main number. For example if you lived in Sydney then your area code would be 02. Your family would need to dial +61 2 **** **** (where * indicates your personal telephone number).

If you are trying to dial out from an Australian number to an international number then you would need to precede your call with the prefix 0011 for international dialling. You would then add the country code for wherever you are dialling and then the telephone number. For example, if you are dialling a UK number you would call 0011 44 **** ******. UK numbers have an area code that begins with a zero. When being called from an international number this first zero should be dropped, so for a London 020 telephone number you would dial 0011 44 20 *** **** (where * indicates the personal telephone number). If you have never tried to dial internationally before this may appear confusing, but it is very straightforward.

Pay phones are a common sight on the streets in Australia. There are some that accept cash, some take phone cards and there are some that accept both forms of payment. Phone cards can be bought at several outlets including newsagents, post offices and street kiosks. They come in set denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20 and $50 and they are very easy to use.

Call costs from a pay phone are very reasonable. If you are making a local call then the cost is a standard $0.40 no matter how long you are talking. Long distance and international call charges vary depending on the area being dialled and the time of day. Making calls between the hours of 8pm and 8am on a weekday and 8pm on a Friday to 8am on a Monday is classed as the economy period, so calls are cheaper.

There are several numbers you may have the need to use regularly and so it is worth keeping a list of useful numbers near to your phone or in your telephone book. For the operator you would dial 1234, directory inquiries 013 and international directory inquiries 1225.

There are several landline providers but not all offer the same services. You can utilise the comparison websites to find a deal that is suitable for your needs or you can call each company and talk to them directly. As a time saver the comparison websites are a good idea, but if you have specific requirements then often it is better to speak directly to someone to ensure that the plan you are signing up for covers your requirements.

You can arrange to have several services incorporated into your telecommunications package which often means big savings per month. Many companies offer a landline service, broadband internet and satellite television channels. Some also have the added benefit of offering mobile phone deals too. If you do not mind putting all your eggs in one basket this could be an excellent way to combine all your needs really cost effectively.

The main service providers are Telstra, Optus, iiNet, WestNet and Southern Cross Telco. The biggest of these is Telstra who would be the equivalent of BT in the UK. The offers from these companies change regularly, and you will need to ensure that you have full coverage in your area prior to connection. Each company has their own website that is easy to follow and contains a section of frequently asked questions which may already cover any queries you have. If you are still in doubt then their contact pages will prove helpful.

Once you have chosen your service provider and the package that suits you best then arranging the connection is easy. If your home already has a previously installed connection with that company then it may just be a case of ‘switching on’ the line again and will cause little or no disruption to you. However, if you are going to be using a company that does not have links to your home it may mean installing cables and aerial sockets and someone will need to be home for this to happen. You will be given plenty of notice before installation takes place.

You can pay for your services monthly either using a direct debit or a debit or credit card. Most companies prefer to use the direct debit method of payment and may offer a small discount on the bill for paying this way as it cuts down on administration costs.

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