You'll mainly see two types of phone booth in Scotland: one takes money (and doesn't give change), while the other uses prepaid phonecards and credit cards. Some phones accept both coins and cards. Payphone cards are widely available.
The cheapest way of calling internationally is via the internet, or by buying a discount-call card; you'll see these in newsagents, along with tables of countries and the number of minutes you'll get for your money.
The UK uses the GSM 900/1800 network. Local SIM cards can be used in unlocked phones.
The UK uses the GSM 900/1800 network, which covers the rest of Europe, Australia and New Zealand but isn't compatible with the North American GSM 1900 network. Most modern mobiles can function on both networks, but check before you leave home just in case.
Roaming charges within the EU have been eliminated (though charges may reappear when the UK leaves the EU in 2019). Other international roaming charges can be prohibitively high, and you'll probably find it cheaper to get a UK number. This is easily done by buying a SIM card (around £1) and sticking it into your phone. Your phone may be locked to your home network, however, so you'll have to either get it unlocked or buy a cheap phone to use.
Operators offer a variety of packages that include UK calls, messages and data; a month's worth will typically cost around £20.
Though things are improving, coverage in Highland and island areas can be sketchy; don't rely on mobile data.
Pay-as-you-go phones can be recharged online or by buying vouchers from shops.
Phone Codes & Useful Numbers
- Dialling the UK Dial your country's international access code, then 44 (the UK country code), then the area code (dropping the first 0) followed by the telephone number.
- Dialling out of the UK The international access code is 00; dial this, then add the code of the country you wish to dial.
- Making a reverse-charges (collect) international call Dial 155 for the operator. It's an expensive option, but not for the caller.
- Area codes in Scotland Begin with 01; eg Edinburgh 0131, Wick 01955.
- Directory assistance There are several numbers; 118500 is one.
- Mobile phones Codes usually begin with 07.
- Free calls Numbers starting with 0800 are free; calls to 0845 numbers are charged at local rates.