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Panama - Telephone

The international dialing code for ringing in to Panama is 507. If you are in Panama and you need to make an international call you need to dial 0 + the code for the country you are ringing + area code + destination number. As Panama is such a small country, there are no area codes for different regions. There is simply a 7 digit telephone number. There is no such thing as a long distance call in Panama, all calls are defined as local. It is the first digit of the number which shows the district that is being dialed. Bocas del Toro numbers begin with a 7, as do Chiriqui numbers. Cocle, Veraguas, Herrera and Los Santos numbers all begin with a 9. Colon numbers begin with a 4 and Panama City numbers begin with a 2. If you are calling a mobile telephone then the number will begin with a 6.

When you are in Panama and use a telephone service between 10 pm and 7 am there is a discounted rate as these are the off-peak hours. If you need the operator to connect a call, the charge for the call is doubled. There are no freephone numbers in Panama and there are also no premium rate numbers.

One of the main providers of landline services in Panama is Cable and Wireless. Call plans are available in a variety of price ranges and these change on a regular basis so it is a good idea to check the company’s website for the latest information. Customers will have to pay an installation fee, which also varies, depending upon the current offers. Expat customers will need to provide a valid passport as proof of identification, both the original and a photocopy for the company’s records. Customers will also need to provide proof of residency in Panama. Other documentation will include a copy of the rental agreement for the property you are living in or proof that you own the house.

If you are missing any of this documentation you may be asked to provide other documents instead. The landline provider will detail which documents will be accepted. It may also be possible to have someone else arrange this service on your behalf if you provide a notarized letter.

Another provider of landline services is ClaroCOM, a private company. This is the second largest provider in Panama and as well as landline calls, customers can take advantage of internet services.

It may be possible that an expat bringing a mobile telephone from their home country will still be able to use it, as there are several international providers that have a network in Panama. This can be an expensive way to make calls, so buying a Panamanian mobile when you arrive can save a great deal of money, particularly if it is going to be used mainly for calls within the country.

One of the largest mobile phone providers in Panama is Claro, although Cable and Wireless offer mobile phone services in Panama too. Signing up to a mobile phone service is easy, particularly if you want a pay as you go service as there is no credit check needed and these can simply be purchased over the counter.

Paying bills in Panama is an easy process as most providers will allow online payments or set up a direct debit system to make it simple, although if you prefer, you can pay bills at any bank or with the company themselves using cash or a credit card.

Panama does have public telephones and it is considered to be a good quality system. There are both card phones and coin phones available. There are three different types of cards that can be used in the public telephones. There are cards which are supplied by the phone company, cards which are supplied from a third party and cards which can be linked to your home telephone service. Cards can be used for both local and international calls. It should be noted that most cards will have an expiry date, so they should be used prior to that or you will lose the money on them.

Useful Resources

Cable and Wireless Panama


Read more about this country

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