It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Austria

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
International code is +43. When calling Austria from abroad, if the number starts with the city code 01 (former 0222), it’s in Vienna . Drop all four of those digits and replace it with a 1, then dial the remaining digits of the phone number. If the number doesn’t start with 01, simply drop the initial zero from the city code and dial the remaining digits. Phones Public phones are available in postal offices. Phone boxes are getting rare (and exchanged by boxes with internet access) since the use of cell phones got very popular over the last years.

Austria Telephone photo

Photo by ~ 23 ~

Phone boxes usually operate with prepaid cards which can be obtained from postal offices and kiosks (German:Trafik). Phone numbers have an area code followed by the phone number itself. Mobile phone numbers use the prefix 0650, 0660, 0664, 0676, 0699, 0680, 0681 or 0688. Toll-free numbers are denoted by 0800, service lines priced like local calls are setting off with 0810 whereas numbers starting with 0900, 0901, 0930 or 0931 are expensive service lines charging up to 3,63€ per minute. To enjoy cheap international calls from Austria you can use low-cost dial-around services such as pennyphone , austriaphone or fuchstarife .

Dial-around services are directly available from any landline in Austria. No contract, no registration is required. Most dial-around services offer USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries at the price of a local call so you can save on your phone expenses easily. They also work from public payphones. Cell phones Austria has a perfect GSM and 3G (UMTS) network coverage of nearly 100%. If you bring your own cell phone with you assure yourself that it operates on 900MHz / 1800MHz (GSM) or 2100Mhz (3G WCDMA).

Austria Telephone photo

Photo by Zabowski

There are cell phones that operate at 1900MHz (e.g. networks in the United States) which are not supported in Austria. If you plan a longer visit in Austria it might be useful to buy a new mobile with a prepaid card from a local cell phone network provider. Be aware that some remote areas (especially mountainous areas) do not have network coverage yet, though this rather the exception than the rule.Even the Vienna underground lines do have perfect coverage. Despite being a rather small country, Austria has a large number of cell network providers including A1, T-Mobile, Orange (former called One) , Drei (3G), Telering, Tele2, Bob and Yesss.

The probably cheapest prepaid mobile providers right now are Bob and Yesss . A prepaid card costs €15 including 100 minutes talking time. Then you pay 6.8 cent per minute to all Austrian networks (as of June 2008) and 70 cents to the most important other countries. The Yesss SIM card is only available at the discounter Hofer . Yesss also sells cheap UMTS data cards (that are different from the normal SIM cards). The starter kit includes 1GB traffic and is available for 20 Euro. In order to prevent the SIM card from expiring, you need to recharge it once per year. Drei offers 1000 minutes, 1000 SMS and 1GB for 9.90 Euro and is more than enough for a 1 week stay.

If you have an Austrian bank account, you can purchase a registered (non-prepaid) Bob SIM card. Calls then only cost 4 cent per minute to all other Austrian networks. There is no basic fee and no minimum charge. The new provider eety has a prepaid SIM card with very cheap international rates (13 cents to Germany, 9 Cent for Short Messages (SMS) worldwide). Online available at www.eety.eu and also sold in a few stores in major towns. You may often purchase a prepaid SIM card for Austria before you depart from an online vendor which can be convenient as you get instructions in English and your cell phone number before you depart.

Other tips on staying connected while in Austria? Please add your comments and tips.