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Published January 14th 2012
You have arrived in Australia but would love a way to call home, or perhaps you live here and would like to pay less on your phone bill, sure, it's easy, let's look at how.
To make an international call you will need to find the country code you wish to dial. Then key in the international access code (0011) then, the country code, followed by the area code, and finally the phone number.
Click here to look up all the international calling codes.
To make a local call you will need to locate the area code and enter it, followed by the phone number.
Each state has a prefix for phone numbers as follows:, (02) ACT & NSW, (03) VIC & TAS, (07) QLD, and (08) for SA, WA, and NT.
If you do not know the number you are looking for you can dial 1223 - which is a free (other than the cost of the call) service to look up phone numbers.
If you wish to receive a call from overseas to Australia, such as your friends and family wanting to call you, you must locate the international access code (this can change depending on the origin of the call), after this, key in the country code for Australia (61) followed by the area code, leave out the first zero, and then dial the desired number. As an example, if you were calling Melbourne, you would dial your access code then 61 3 (phone number).
Be aware that international calls can be very expensive both to make and receive. A cheaper option is to purchase a calling card.
Prepaid telephone cards can be purchased from newsagents, post offices or many general stores (especially in and around Chinatown). They come in balances of $5, $10, $20 and $50.
Discount phone cards are also available. I once used one called Green Card to make all long distance and overseas phone calls in my home and business. (If you Google "phone cards" you should find many options - alternatively many of the Asian stores and news agencies will hook you up with a plan).
You buy a plan, they can be from as little as $10 and charge up your account with as much or as little as you like. Generally $20 lasts me around 6 months - even when shared with my friends and used for my business.
When you wish to make a phone call, you dial a local number given to you from your landline (this will charge you the cost of a local call which is usually around 20c - our local calls are currently untimed so it's a once off fee), then you will be asked to enter the number you wish to dial and it will connect you through their switchboard. Generally to call interstate or overseas is around 1c per minute.
You can see why a $20 plan lasts ages. Often they also provide a further incentive, for example pay for $30 and they will give you $40 value or something similar.
Even if you are only in Australia for a short while. If you have access to a landline, it will save you the cost of the plan in the first phone call.
Most phones from around the world will work in Australia, once you add in a new sim card. Be aware however, that mobile phone calls depending on the plan you sign up for can be very expensive. It may be a good idea to check the compatibility of your phone before arrival and many of our local companies will offer great deals on phones if you need to buy a new one.
Using Public Phones:
There are public phones easily accessible in most places around Australia. They stand out generally with an orange and blue Telstra logo, although older booths are red in country locations. Local calls usually cost around $0.50 (AUD). Long distance calls are often cheaper on the weekends or you may choose to look at a plan as listed above.