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Portugal - Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)
Telephone service in Portugal is provided by Portugal Telecom (PT), which was government-owned but has now been privatized. Telephone communications are generally of a very high standard, although fixed-line coverage is not as widespread as mobile coverage.
Direct-dialing abroad is possible from most areas. In a few remote regions it may be necessary to obtain operator assistance for international calls.
Public telephones are available in most towns and in all Post Offices. Calls from public telephones can be made with cash and "CrediPhone" cards. Cards may be purchased at many retail outlets and Post Offices nationwide.
Some restaurants and bars have public telephones from which international calls can be made.
Mobile phone use is prevalent throughout Portugal, and is significantly greater than residential fixed line use. There are several mobile phone service providers from whom to choose, among them Vodaphone, Optimus and TSM.
Portugal employs the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) mobile phone standard.
According to an EU Indicator estimate the overall communications environment in 2004 was as follows:
Number of telephone main lines (per 100 people): 32.3
Number of mobile subscribers (per 100 people): 105.2
Number of Internet users (per 100 people): 68.7
Number of personal computers (stock per 1,000 pop): 240
Most Post Offices (Correios) are open from 08:30 am until 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
In Lisbon the main Post Office (Praca dos Restauradores 58) is open Monday to Friday from 08:30 am to 10:00 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
In Porto the main post office (on Praca General Humberto Delgado street) is open Monday to Friday from 08:30 am to 9:00 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00pm.
Postage stamps may be purchased in certain retail outlets in addition to Post Offices.
Internet access in Portugal is possible via dial-up service, dedicated lines, DSL and cable-modem. Dial-up service is the largest part of the market (88% of Internet connections in 2004). Broadband Internet is available, but not as prevalent as in some other European countries.
PT is the largest provider of DSL, but other companies are entering the market. In 2004 there were approximately 35 Internet providers in the country.
For those without a computer, there are many Internet cafes that offer hourly rates for Internet access.
Portugal uses the PAL 625 system.
Local television broadcasting is limited to approximately five Portuguese stations. These stations are also available on cable networks. Many news and movie programs on cable are broadcast in English with Portuguese subtitles. Cable TV is available in most metropolitan areas.
Satellite reception, with privately owned dishes, is also available.
Local AM and FM stations offer a full range of American and Portuguese music, as well as extensive newscasts in Portuguese.
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