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Telephone options

All the available options for your contact needs in Greece

Throughout Greece, you will find that most telephone call boxes now operate with a phone card, rather than coins.  These are ideal solutions for local calls in particular, and can be used for International calls as well, though calling rates from Greece are quite expensive.

The smallest card denomination that you can buy here is 3 Euro, which is fine for local use, but which won’t get you very far on an International call. These are available at most kiosks throughout the country, though you might find that cards of larger denomination are not so widely available and would have to be purchased at the local telephone company (OTE) branch nearest you.  But, clearly within Greece, as is true for most of the Western world, the mobile phone rules!  Just about every family member has at least one mobile.

If you find that you need to have access to a mobile phone while on holiday in Greece, we hope that the following information will be helpful.  If your personal mobile phone operates with a SIM card, then just bring your phone with you, purchase a new card when you arrive, and you’re ready to go.  If you have an incompatible system or no mobile at all, you can pick up a relatively inexpensive “throw-away” for as little as 50 Euro without signing up for a one year contract.  Just about every electronics shop in Greece has some special offer available.  With these “throw-away” phones, you just get a prepaid calling card from any kiosk, which is made specifically for use in your mobile phone; insert it into the phone, and you are ready to go!  The prepaid calling cards come in 5, 10 and 20 Euro denominations.  The electronics shop will have more information on how these types of phones work.

Within Greece, there are three major networks and operators, all offering SIM service at competitive rates.  SIM cards are widely available at kiosks, private network-operator shops, and most electronics shops.  You’ll usually find the network logo advertised outside the shop entrance.  As with public phone cards, the SIM cards are also purchased by denomination, which translates to air minutes in the case of mobiles.  Once you enter your new SIM account number, you’ll be logged onto the system and will receive a message from the network provider.  Save the text message that you receive for later use, as you may need to refer to the information.

Cosmote is the mobile telephone subsidiary of OTE, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, and the main fixed-line telephone provider in the country.  It is the largest mobile network in Greece and offers two SIM programs, Cosmokarta and What’s Up.  Average charges run about 35 cents per minute within Greece; 65 cents to European destinations; and 75 cents for North America, Australia, and New Zealand.  You can check specific details and updated prices on their website (www.cosmote.gr).

Vodafone is the local subsidiary of the main UK company of the same name, which is the largest mobile phone operator in the world.  In addition to their own GSM network in Greece, the company offers a “roaming” service, which easily allows you to use your mobile throughout all of Europe.  They have two SIM programs in Greece, the Vodafone a la Carte and the Vodafone CU.  Their rates are very competitive, with average costs of 30 cents per minute within Greece, 73 cents for Europe, and 78 cents for calls to North America, Australia, and New Zealand.  They also offer wireless Internet and email service.  Specific details can be found on their general site (www.vodafone.com), and on their local Greek website (www.vodafone.gr).

The third mobile operator and the smallest of the three is WIND a division of the Italian Telecom system.  They offer three SIM programs, Bfree, Free2Go, and ForAll.  They are the most expensive of the three companies for local calls, but are competitive on International rates.  Charges run 50 cents per minute for domestic calls within Greece, 75 cents for calls to European destinations, and 85 cents for North America, Australia, and New Zealand.  You can find details on their local website (www.wind.gr).