Friday, March 23, 2007

Telephones in Beijing

Public telephone booth in Beijing.
Beijing is liberally dotted with public telephones - quite snazzy-looking little pods here and there - but seeing them in use is about as likely as being struck by lightning.


With over 426 million cell phone users in China, to all intents and purposes the landline, especially of the public variety, seems like a thing of the past.


Even visitors to Beijing will probably never need to use a public phone: if at home you use a GSM phone with a SIM card, chances are that, once unlocked, you can use it in Beijing - or anywhere in China for that matter. Cell phone repair shops are the places to go to get your cell phone unlocked and up and running once you get to Beijing.


IP cards are available to make international or domestic calls - but never pay the face value for them. A RMB100 card shouldn't cost you more than RMB40. Most will work only from mobiles or landlines, but a few will work from public phones - so check before you buy.


Finally, some useful numbers:

Tourist hotline: 6513 0828

Ambulance: 120

Police: 110

Fire: 119

Traffic accident: 122

Local directory service in English: 2689 0114

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