Thursday, February 25, 2021

Internet & Communications in Austria

Europe Austria Internet & Communications in Austria

Call Austria

The international dialling code is +43.

If you are calling Austria from abroad and the number begins with the area code 01 (formerly 0222), you are in Vienna. Omit these four digits and replace them with a 1, then dial the other digits of the telephone number.

If the number does not start with 01, simply delete the leading zero from the area code and dial the remaining digits.

Telephones

Public telephones are available in post offices. Telephone booths are becoming increasingly rare (and are being exchanged for booths with internet access), as the use of mobile phones has become very popular in recent years. Phone boxes usually work with prepaid cards, which are available in post offices and kiosks (in German: Trafik).

Telephone numbers have an area code followed by the actual telephone number. Mobile phone numbers use the prefix 0650, 0660, 0664, 0676, 0699, 0680, 0681 or 0688. Freephone numbers are designated 0800, service lines billed like a local call start with 0810, while numbers starting with 0900, 0901, 0930 or 0931 are expensive service lines costing up to €3.63 per minute. 05 is a “shared cost” (usually slightly more expensive than a landline or mobile phone), but watch out for the exception 05133, which is the area code of the Austrian Federal Police. 0720 is a virtual telephone number (VOIP) – usually billed at the rate of a landline, regardless of location.

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To make cheap international calls from Austria, you can use low-cost services such as pennyphone [www], austriaphone [www] or fuchstarife [www]. The numbering services are directly available from any fixed network connection in Austria. No contract or registration is required. Most numbering services offer the USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries for the price of a local call, so you can easily save on your telephone costs. They also work from public phones.

Mobile phones

Austria has a GSM and 3G (UMTS) network with a perfect coverage of almost 100%. If you bring your own mobile phone, make sure it works on 900 MHz / 1800 MHz (GSM) or 2100Mhz (3G WCDMA). There are mobile phones that work on 1900 MHz (e.g. networks in the USA) that are not supported in Austria. If you are planning a longer stay in Austria, it may make sense to buy a new mobile phone with a prepaid card from a local mobile phone provider. Note that some remote areas (especially mountainous regions) do not yet have network coverage, although this is the exception rather than the rule. Even Vienna’s underground lines have perfect coverage.

Although Austria is a rather small country, there are a large number of mobile providers, including A1, T-Mobile, Orange (formerly One), Drei (3G), Telering, Tele2, Bob, Yesss and Vectone Mobile.

Probably the cheapest prepaid mobile phone providers at present are Bob [www], Vectone Mobile [www] and Yesss [www]. A prepaid card costs 15 euros, including 100 minutes of talk time. You then pay 6.8 centimes per minute to all Austrian networks (as of June 2008) and 70 centimes to all other major countries. The Yesss SIM card is only available at the Hofer counter [www]. Yesss also sells cheap UMTS data cards (which are different from normal SIM cards). The starter kit contains 1 GB of traffic and is available at a price of 20 euros. To prevent the SIM card from expiring, you have to recharge it once a year. The Vectone Mobile Sim card is free and does not need to be preloaded. It can be ordered online on the website.

If you have an Austrian bank account, you can buy a registered (non-prepaid) Bob SIM card. Calls to all other Austrian networks then cost only 4 cents per minute. There is no base price and no minimum charge.

The new provider eety [www] has a prepaid SIM card with very cheap international rates (13 cents to Germany, 9 cents for short messages (SMS) worldwide). It is available online at www.eety.eu and is also sold in some shops in big cities.

You can often buy a prepaid SIM card for Austria from an online seller [www] before you leave, which can be handy as you will receive instructions in English and your mobile phone number before you leave.

Internet

Internet cafés are common in larger cities. Hotels in cities are usually equipped with internet terminals, more expensive hotels offer internet access directly in the rooms. There are many free WiFi hotspots (“Gratis WLAN”), every McDonald’s has free WiFi (unlimited time and traffic) and for example in Mariahilferstraße in Vienna.

Mobile broadband providers in Austria are among the cheapest and fastest in Europe, and 3G coverage is excellent in the most populated areas. Several providers offer pay-as-you-go tariffs that are also open to non-residents. These do not require registration and can be supplemented by vouchers available in shops, at ATMs or online.

Bob offers a SIM card or micro-SIM with 1 GB of traffic on a pay-per-use tariff. Additional traffic can be booked via a data tariff (“data package” [www]) at a price of 4 euros per GB. Please note the higher tariffs for traffic (6.8ct/MB) if no data tariff is booked. Available at all post offices and some supermarkets. (Ask for “Bob Breitband Startpaket”, €14.90). The SIM cards are supplied with a working mobile phone number and are also available with a contract-free USB modem. [Update 9/2011]

Yesss (a subsidiary of Orange) offers SIM or micro SIM cards with 1 GB of traffic for €9.90 and a pay-per-use tariff. It is possible to buy additional traffic for €20 for 2 GB. Available in Hofer supermarkets (ask for the “Yesss Start Package” at the checkout). SIM cards are delivered with a working mobile phone number and are also available with a contract-free USB modem [as of 9/2011].

A1 [www] offers the possibility to buy prepaid data SIMs for mobile internet – internet with prepaid card – via their online shop for delivery to any address in Austria. (Hotel pick-up) Payment can be made by credit card and the package is also tracked. Prices start at 10 euros for 3GB/30 days at 4/2 Mbit/s. [www]