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COMMUNICATIONS
 

Mail | Telephones | Fax servises | E-mail and Internet services | Staying in touch when you travel | Cellular phones

 
Telephones
 
Emergency numbers | Calling from a hotel | Calling from private telephones | Calling from a payphone | Using your telephone card. Making collect (reverse charge) calls
The country code for Russia is 7
The area code for St. Petersburg is 812
- this information is important for your family or friends who might want to call you in St. Petersburg.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

If you can speak good Russian, you might find the following emergency numbers useful:

To call fire fighters, dial - 01
To call police (called militsia), dial - 02
To call an ambulance, dial - 03
To call the Gas Emergency Service, dial - 04 (you might need this, if you are staying in an apartment and smell gas)

If you are staying in a hotel, you should call the reception first and they will call the necessary emergency services.

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CALLING FROM A HOTEL

Most hotels have satellite up-links to provide high-grade telephone communications. International calls can be made either through the hotel telephone operator, or by direct dial. Check at reception for the rates since hotel rates are higher than average and some hotels might charge at a three minute minimum. Pay for your long distance calls at the reception desk. If you check out early in the morning it is wise to pay your phone bill the night before.

Most decent hotels have switchboards, but you might have a direct number to your room as well. Local calls can be made from your room (sometimes directly, sometimes with a prefix number).

N.B.!. Although local calls are usually free of charge, many hotels do charge for outgoing local calls. Check at reception whether your local calls are free.

All major hotels have international payphones in case you need to make an urgent call, paying by credit card or a prepaid phonecard that can be purchased at reception or elsewhere in town.

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CALLING FROM PRIVATE TELEPHONES

Making an international call from a private telephone is very simple, though rates are rather high (it is much cheaper to call between 10 pm and 8 am local time).

To dial internationally, dial 8, wait for the second dial tone, dial 10, then the country code (without preceding noughts) and the number. Don't be discouraged if you hear a busy signal after dialing 8 - just try again.

If it constantly does not work, try the international operator on 315-00-12 (Ask for an English-speaking operator). Dialing this number allows you to "book a call" - the operator will call you back at a pre-arranged time. This option is really a last resort, as you should have no problem with dialing direct, unless you are calling Central Africa or some distant village in Siberia.

To make a long-distance call within Russia, dial 8, wait for the second dial tone, dial the area code and then immediately the number.

N.B.! If you want to make a long-distance call from your Russian friend's home, be aware that a long-distance phone bill can ruin your friend's budget. Make sure that you reimburse your host for the cost of your call, unless you are told otherwise.

Local calls from private telephones are free of charge at the moment, but in the near future that might change. At the moment every family pays a monthly charge for their phone line and pays long-distance bills separately.

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CALLING FROM A PAYPHONE

There are several types of payphones available:

1. Local payphones marked "Таксофон" ("Taksa-FON") can be found throughout the city and are generally (but not always) in working order. These payphones accept metro tokens (zhetony, singular - zheton) which can be bought at metro stations and currently cost 3 rubles. Place the token into the slot on top of the phone and dial the number. When your call is answered the token should drop. Each token is good for a 3-minute call. A series of beeps means that you should place another token in the slot or risk disconnection.

2. New card-operated payphones became very popular as soon as they were introduced in the summer of 1994. These telephones, in green-and-white open booths, allow you to make local, long-distance and international calls. Cards (25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 1000 units) are available throughout the city at newsagent's kiosks, metro stations, the Central Telephone Station, the Central Post Office and all hotels. Insert your card into the slot with the electronic chip facing the left and dial the number. You can change the screen language of the display to English by pressing the "i" button. For an international call it is recommended that you have at least a 200-unit card (you can't replace a card in the middle of a call).

3. BCL company has card-operated payphones at many tourist locations in the city. You can buy cards wherever you see a BCL sign, which includes major hotels, the airport, the Central Telephone Station and the Central Post Office. These payphones also allow you to make credit card calls (though such calls are very expensive)

4. Peterstar operates a similar network of payphones.

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USING YOUR TELEPHONE CARD. MAKING COLLECT (REVERSE CHARGE) CALLS

N.B.! New AT&T USA Direct local access number has to be available from any telephone in the city. The number is: 325-50-42. Dial this number and just follow simple voice prompts.

We were told by the city's Central Telephone Station staff that the access numbers below should be available from any telephone. We are currently double checking whether these numbers are available from hotels. Meanwhile, ask your hotel's reception or telephone operator if it is possible to make a call using your telephone card (provided you know one of the numbers below).

If you are told that you cannot make such a call, try the Central Telephone Station ( at Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa 3-5, just off Nevsky Propekt). Upon entering the main hall turn left. Tell an operator sitting in one of the two glass booths that you wish to make a call with your telephone card. The operator will then tell you the number of a phone booth, from which you can call.

To make a collect (reverse charge) call, dial the number, tell the operator that you want to make a collect (reverse charge) call and give him/her the number you want to call.

USA:

AT&T - 8...10-800-497-7211
AT&T Russian-speaking operator - 8...10-800-497-7201
Sprint - 8...10-800-497-7255
Sprint, prepaid calling cards - 8...10-800-497-7145
Sprint Russian-speaking operator
MCI - 8...10-800-497-7222
MCI, with credit cards - 8...10-800-497-7120

Canada:

Teleglobe - 8...10-800-497-7233

United Kingdom:

BT - 8...10-800-497-7266
Mercury - 8...10-800-497-7277

Hong Kong:

Televo - 8...10-800-497-7952

Ireland:

Telecom - 8...10-800-497-7353

Norway:

Telekom - 8...10-800-497-7147

Finland:

Telecom - 8...10-800-497-7358

If you want us to display access numbers for other companies please drop us a note through the e-mail or Contact Us form.

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St.Petersburg Guide
 
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