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Venezuela - Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)
Venezuela has international country telephone code 58 and three-digit area codes (plus an initial '0'), and phone numbers are seven digits long.
Area codes beginning with '04' - e.g. 0412, 0414, 0416 - are mobile phones, while area codes beginning '02' - e.g. 0212 (Caracas), 0261 (Maracaibo) are land lines.
A single emergency number 171 is used in most of the country for police, ambulance and firefighters.
The international phone number format for Venezuela is +58-(area code without '0')-(phone number)
- To dial to another area code: (area code starting with '0')-(phone number)
- To dial to another country: 00-(country code)-(area code)-(phone number)
- Directory enquiries/information (in spanish): 113
- Emergency service for mobile phones: (in spanish): 911 (Movistar), 112 (Digitel)
Public payphones use prepaid cards which cannot be recharged but are easily available in shopping centers, gas stations, kiosks, etc. Phone boxes are common in the cities and do not accept coins. The vast majority are operated by the former state monopoly, CANTV, although some boxes operated by Digitel or Movistar do exist, particularly in remote areas. CANTV prepaid cards can be used only in their booths.
More popular today are the ubiquitous 'communication centers' or clusters of phone booths located inside metro stations, malls, or like a normal store in the street. Most of these comunication centers are operated either by CANTV or Movistar, and offer generally cheap phone calls from a normal phone in comfortable booths equipped with a seat. A log is made of all your calls and you pay when exiting the store.
Many street vendors or buhoneros also offer phone calls from portable (antenna-based) land lines set up at improvised stalls. Callers are charged by the minute.
Mobiles operated by Movilnet, a division of CANTV, start with the 0416 code and use the CDMA system. Rival Telefonica Movistar, formerly Telcel, start with 0414/0424 and use both CDMA & GSM (GSM 850 Mhz). Digitel is another operator with a GSM (GSM 900 Mhz) network and its numbers start with 0412. It is possible to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for Digitel's GSM phones, but make sure your phone is unlocked. Please remember that the pay-as-you-go SIM card from Digitel is not active immediately but after few days. The cost of the card is around 80,000 Bs. Top up vouchers from 10,000 Bs. The cost of a text message abroad is 300 Bs.
You may use your phone with a foreign SIM card in roaming. Check: www.gsmworld.com or call to your operator for roaming information to Venezuela.
Internet cafes, often incorporated in the above-mentioned 'communication centers' are increasingly common, and even small towns usually have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
Venezuela's state-owned Ipostel is slow, unpredictable and not widely used. Ipostel offices are few and far between, although they are still probably your best bet for sending postcards back home. For mailing within Venezuela, courier services such as MRW, Domesa and Zoom are the most popular. These usually guarantee next day delivery.
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