Better hotels in Austria have worked hard to upgrade their Internet offerings and most of them will offer some form of Internet access for jacking in your laptop, either via a LAN line or Wi-Fi. Occasionally these services are offered free of charge; usually you have to pay a surcharge. Before you leave home, contact your Internet service provider to get the local access number in Austria. Hotels that don't offer Internet access in the rooms will usually have a computer somewhere in their business center or lobby available for guests to check e-mail. Outside of hotels there some, but not many, Internet cafés (ask at your hotel). The standard rate is about EUR 2 an hour. A good number of cafés offer Wi-Fi to customers. The charge for this is usually around EUR 2 an hour.
Cybercafés. Cybercafés lists more than 4,000 Internet cafés worldwide. www.cybercafes.com.
The good news is that you can now make a direct-dial telephone call from virtually any point on earth. The bad news? You can't always do so cheaply. Calling from a hotel is almost always the most expensive option; hotels usually add huge surcharges to all calls, particularly international ones. In some countries you can phone from call centers or even the post office. Calling cards usually keep costs to a minimum, but only if you purchase them locally. And then there are mobile phones, which are sometimes more prevalent—particularly in the developing world—than land lines; as expensive as mobile phone calls can be, they are still usually a much cheaper option than calling from your hotel.
When calling Austria, the country code is 43. When dialing an Austrian number from abroad, drop the initial 0 from the local Austrian area code. For instance, the full number to dial for the Hotel Sacher in Vienna from America is 011 (international dial code)—43 (Austria's country code)—1 (Vienna's full city code is 01, but drop the 0)—and 514-560 (the hotel number). All numbers given in this guide include the city or town area code.
Calling Within Austria
As the number of cell phones has risen in Austria, the number of coin-operated pay telephones has dwindled. If you're lucky enough to find one, it may be out of order or available only for emergency calls. But if you find one that works, a local call costs EUR 0.20 for the first minute and EUR 0.14 per minute. Most pay phones have instructions in English.
When placing a long-distance call to a destination within Austria, dial the local area codes with the initial zero (for instance, 0662 for Salzburg). Note that calls within Austria are one-third cheaper between 6 pm and 8 am on weekdays and from 1 pm on Saturday to 8 am on Monday.
For information concerning numbers within the EU and neighboring countries, dial 118-877; for information outside Europe, dial 0900/118-877. Most operators speak some English; if yours doesn't, you'll most likely be passed along to one who does.
Calling Outside Austria
It costs more to telephone from Austria than it does to telephone to Austria. Calls from post offices are usually the least expensive way to go, and you can get helpful assistance in placing a long-distance call; in large cities these centers at main post offices are open around the clock. To use a post office phone you first go to the counter to be directed to a certain telephone cabin; after your call you return to the counter and pay your bill. Faxes can be sent from post offices and received as well, but neither service is very cheap.
To make a collect call—you can't do this from pay phones—dial the operator and ask for an R-Gespräch (pronounced air-ga-shprayk). Most operators speak English; if yours doesn't, you'll be passed to one who does.
The country code for the United States is 1.
U.S. Phone Access Codes from Austria
AT&T Direct (800/200-288; 800/435-0812 for other areas.)
AT&T Direct (0-800-200-288.)
MCI Verizon Worldwide Access (800/999-762.)
If you plan to make calls from pay phones, a Telecom Austria calling card is a convenience. You can buy calling cards with a credit of EUR 10 or EUR 15 at any post office or Telecom Austria shop, and they can be used at any public phone booth. Insert the card, punch in your access code, and dial the number; the cost of the call is automatically deducted from the card—note that the "credits" displayed is not usually the amount of money left on the card, but a different sort of counter. A few public phones in the cities also take American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards.
In Austria a cell phone is called a Handy.
If you have a multiband phone (some countries use different frequencies from what's used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do T-Mobile, Cingular, and Verizon), you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees can be steep, however: 99 a minute is considered reasonable. And overseas you normally pay the toll charges for incoming calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, since text messages have a very low set fee (often less than 5).
If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time.
If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.
If you want to use your own mobile phone in Austria, first find out if it's compatible with the European 1800 GSM standard (usually this is the case with a "tri-band" telephone, but be sure to ask specifically). Once in Austria, stop by a mobile phone store, usually identifiable by the word "Handy" in the name, and purchase a prepaid SIM card (make sure your existing SIM card is unlocked). Prepaid cards start at around EUR 20-EUR 30. Local mobile calls are then billed at about EUR 0.15 to EUR 0.20 a minute. If you don't have a phone, but want to use one here, look into buying a used phone. Rates are reasonable. Buy the prepaid card in the same way you would as if you were bringing in your own phone.
When dialing an Austrian "Handy" from abroad (generally 0676, 0699, or 0664), dial 00-43, then the number without the 0.
Cellular Abroad. Cellular Abroad rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287-5072. www.cellularabroad.com.
Mobal. Mobal rents mobiles and sells GSM phones (starting at $29) that will operate in 190 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888-9162. www.mobal.com.
Planet Fone. Planet Fone rents cell phones, but the per-minute rates are expensive. 888/988-4777. www.planetfone.com.
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