Domestic landline-to-landline calls are cheap, but depending on the company and the plan involved, calling a mobile phone from a landline or another mobile can cost 0.80NIS a minute or more. Be careful when you use the phone in your hotel room – hotels often charge exorbitant rates.
All but the remotest areas have excellent mobile and data coverage. Local prepaid SIM cards available.
Although overseas mobile phones and smartphones work (on gadgets that can handle 900/1800 MHz), roaming charges can be ruinous. Fortunately, Israel’s various mobile phone operators, including Orange (www.orange.co.il), Pelefone (www.pelephone.co.il), Cellcom (www.cellcom.co.il), Hot Mobile (www.hotmobile.co.il) and Golan Telecom (www.golantelecom.co.il), offer pay-as-you-go SIM cards as well as cheap monthly plans with a variety of data options. A number of online companies sell Israeli SIMs internationally.
Mobile phone numbers start with 05 plus a third digit. When calling a local landline from a mobile phone, always dial the area code.
If you are near Israel’s borders (especially with Jordan), you may discover that your mobile phone has switched to a Jordanian network. Manually switch your gadget back to your Israeli network or you may clock up pricey roaming charges.
Israel’s country code is 972. To call from abroad, dial your international access code followed by the country code, the local or mobile phone area code (minus the zero) and the subscriber number.
Several competing companies, each with their own three-digit international access code, offer international dialling. International direct-dial rates can be as high as 3.80NIS a minute, but if you sign up in advance, fees can be remarkably cheap (as little as 0.05NIS a minute). Companies include 012 Smile (www.012.net), Netvision (http://netvision.cellcom.co.il), Golan Telecom (www.golantelecom.co.il) and Hot Mobile (www.hotmobile.co.il).
Prepaid local and international calls can be made using a variety of phonecards, sold at post offices, lottery kiosks and newsstands.