- Austria’s country code is 0043.
- Each town and region has its own area code beginning with ‘0’ (eg ‘01’ for Vienna). Drop this when calling from outside Austria; use it for all landline calls inside Austria except for local calls or special toll and toll-free numbers.
- Austrian mobile (Handy) telephone numbers begin with 0650 or higher up to 0699 (eg 0664/plus the rest of the number). All 0800 numbers are free; 0810 and 0820 numbers cost €0.10 and €0.20 per minute (respectively); 0900 numbers are exorbitantly charged and best avoided. Some large organisations have ‘050’ numbers, which do not need an area code (a local call from a landline, but more expensive from a mobile phone).
- Public telephones take phonecards or coins. Thirty cents is the minimum for a local call, which are charged by length of call (and by distance rates if not local). Call centres for domestic and international calls are also widespread, and many internet cafes are geared for Skype calls.
- There’s a wide range of local and international Telefonwertkarte (phonecards), which can save you money and help you avoid messing around with change. They are available from post offices, Telekom Austria shops, call shops and Tabak kiosks.
To direct-dial abroad, first telephone the overseas access code (00), then the appropriate country code, then the relevant area code (minus the initial ‘0’ if there is one), and finally the subscriber number. International directory assistance is available on 0900 11 88 77.
Tariffs for making international calls depend on the zone. To reverse the charges (call collect), you have to call a free phone number to place the call. Some of the numbers are listed below (ask directory assistance for others):
Australia (0800-200 202)
Ireland (800-200 213)
New Zealand (0800-200 222)
South Africa (0800-200 230)
UK (0800-200 209)
USA (AT&T; 0800-200 288)
Travellers from outside Europe will need a tri- or quad-band (world) mobile phone for roaming. Local SIM cards (about €15) are easily purchased for ‘unlocked’ phones.
The Handy (mobile phone) network works on GSM 1800 and is compatible with GSM 900 phones; it is not compatible with systems from the US unless the mobile phone is at least a tri-band model that can receive one of these frequencies. Japanese mobile phones need to be quad-band (world phone) to work in Austria. Roaming can get very expensive if your provider is outside the EU.
Prepaid SIM Cards
Phone shops sell prepaid SIM cards for making phone calls or SIM cards capable of being used on smart phones for data (ie using internet apps) as well as making calls. Typically, you pay about €15 for a SIM card and receive about €10 free credit. To use one, your mobile phone must be not locked to a specific carrier.
Make sure your data transfer capability is deactivated while roaming. Austria has lots of wi-fi hot spots that can be used for surfing or making internet calls (such as on Skype) using smart phones with wi-fi capability.