Canada's telephone and calling card services

The Canadian telephone system is similar to the USA and is of very high quality. Local calls cost 25 cents from payphones and most people have a local call plan for their home enabling free local calls. Long distance calls are quite costly but more calling packages are coming available, bringing the price down. Making a long distance call from a payphone without a calling card can be very expensive.

Long distance calling cards are recommended. These can be purchased from most retail locations. Each province has its own telecom company that runs the telephone network for the province. Calling cards can be purchased from the telecom company stores but often better value cards can be obtained from places such as Radio Shack. The Radio Shack VOX prepaid card is recommended. Find out about the different card options available.

Hotels and motels usually make a charge for local calls. This is worth checking before making any calls. Normally a charge of 25 cents to 1 dollar is made per call.

Payphones can be found in most busy locations similar to the rest of the western world.

Mobile (cell) phones in Canada are far behind that in Europe. Phones from the USA will work depending on the roaming package provided by the operator. Phones from Europe need to have international roaming enabled and also be tri-band. Check with your mobile operator to find out if your phone will work in Canada.

Digital signalling has only recently been installed and is only operated using GSM technology by two companies, Microcell and Rogers AT&T. Rogers provides the best coverage across Canada and is expanding fast. Microcell covers only major cities. Calls made within Canada are charged by your mobile phone operator and usually are twice the rate for calling Canada from your home country. The cost of receiving a call in Canada is usually the same as calling Canada from your home country. Be careful. Call costs can be very high. Check before you leave.

Text messaging (SMS) is new in Canada. Not many phones support it and even less use it. The only way to find out if it will work from phone to phone is to send a text message to see if it is received. Text messages are usually charged at the usual rate from your mobile phone operator but there may be a charge when sending them from Canada on top of this.

When calling long distance you need to dial a 1 before the area code: 1-(area code)-123-1234 When calling locally, you only need to dial the last 7 digits of the telephone number.

In an emergency, dial 911
For information on a telephone number dial 411, this is chargeable unless made from a payphone.
For enquiries on long distance calls dial 1-(area code)-555-1212

Reverse charge calls can be made to most countries and are known as Collect Calls.

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