Telephone and Fax|
China's phone system has improved very much in the last decade. Making a telephone call - local, long-distance or international - today is very simple. The phone booths and other public telephones can be found with no trouble on the roadside, hotels, restaurants, railway stations, airports and marketplaces.
Domestic calls are fairly cheap, but international calls are more expensive, around 3 dollars per minute. The majority of the public telephones are operated by introducing a phone card, whose par value ranges from 3 to 40 dollars. There are also other stationary telephones offered by the hawkers of the roadside stores and here you must pay cash. Phone costs vary depending on the carrier, the place and the length of the call.
IP phone cards are very useful for long-distance calls. If you call overseas, you will need to dial the international prefix '00' primary, and then the country code, area code and the telephone number of your destination. International telecommunication offices are frequently located close to or in the main post office and open 24 hours and you can make the call on a personal booth.
You may also fax your message in China. There are public fax machines in several places, generally next to the phones or Internet businesses. The cost of faxing is similar that for phoning, ranging from 1 to 3 dollars. Most big hotels offer also fax service. The price for sending or receiving faxes is around 3 dollars per page.
Internet access nowadays is widely available in most major Chinese cities, with public terminals at several telecommunications offices, leisure area, busy street, schools, universities and even private Internet locals in the centre of the towns.
Internet communication is very cheap (1-2 dollars per hour) and the customers are provided of modern computers with high-speed access. In most of the biggest hotels, Internet service is offered in a special zone to guests, but it is logically more expensive.
Most of the cell phones bought in European or Asian countries, can not be normally used in China because it has its own network service systems, and it works in different frequencies (900/1800Hmz) that the rest of the world. In China, only GSM and CDMA systems are available. So the best thing is to buy or rent a cell phone in China itself when you are here for your trip, then you must purchase a new Chinese SIM card.
You can rent a cell phone in places like cell phone stores, malls, airports, train stations or secondhand markets. Besides, various companies also offer you the mobile rental service through Internet for around 100 dollars plus a daily rent of 1 to 3 dollars.
China Mobile and China Unicom are the two biggest mobile carriers in China: Both of them provide you with good service. These companies offer free 24-hour hot lines 10086 (China Mobile) and 10010 (China Unicom) for consultation at any time. In general, it is cheaper and more comfortable to use cell phones in China. You will need to pay the phone bill in advance at the carriers or through the bill-paying card. The mobile phone number in China has 11 Arabic numerals generally starting with among 130 and 139.
- Telephones - main lines in use: 263 million.
- Telephones - mobile cellular: 269 million.
- A domestic satellite system with 55 earth stations.
- Country code: 86.
- Internet users: 94 million.
- Internet country code: .cn