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Communications
in Australia

 Telstra, the Australian telephonic company, continues to be property of the government, despite trying to privatise, and there are many opponents in the Parliament. The market have had some other companies offering telephonic services, although they are resellers of Telstra lines and competing directly with it, either in mobile telephony or fixed lines. To have a home landline telephone in Australia, it is very easy and you just need to buy a device in any store and contact the chosen company through a public telephone or else, and soon you will have a number. If there are no other problems and the need of a technician to connect it, you will be able to make it by yourself just plugging the device. In less than one hour the little thing will be speaking more clearly and higher than a parrot. The monthly home line cost around A$ 35, and you pay 25 cents for each call in the same city. You can talk unlimited time for local calls, so from a telephone to another you can speak for hours, and you will spend only 25 cents, (but not to a mobile phone).  Calls between cities or International are charged by minutes. 

Tip 1: If you are using Telstra as a landline phone provider in your house you get free service of answering machine. To activate voice mail you just need to dial 101.

Tip 2: It does not matter how much time you speak in a local call, either in a house line or a public telephone to will cost only for the call (public phones are 40 cents).

Tip 3: Vodafone has one system called CAP, that if you buy A$ 50 for a pre paid mobile you will get A$ 200 credit (note that this is a promotion and can change, but they are always offering something to attract customers).

Tip 4: Depending on the plan, calls between the same provider form a mobile to another one it may be free or reduced price.

Very frequent question: Is it a good idea to bring my mobile form my country to Australia? Reply: in most cases NOT. Only if it is unblocked and has agreements with Australian companies.

There are many phone cards for cheap international and they call be found in specialized shops or even Newsagents. You will get a pin number with a credit and than you may call anywhere in the world.. Example: With a card of A$ 10 I can speak from Australia to São Paulo or Rio for about 2 hours. Each card may have a better price for or A or B city or country. Amongst these cards are: Go Talk, OZ Call, and Day Break, to only cite a few. You can also speak from any telephone, either in your house, in any houses, or even at public telephone, in this case you will need to put coins as local call to get the line and than place the pin.  When your credit ends, you can recharge using your credit card or buy another card.

Public telephones are very well maintained and available in many points of the cities and public places and Shopping Centres. In rural areas and/or small cities there is always one close to the Post offices and in the front (or inside) to the Caravan Parks. Public phones use coins or cards, and be aware that if you uses a public phone placing 50 cents coin for a local call that is charged 40 cents you will not receive any change. The tip is when talking with mobile calls or interstate calls have many coins of different value in hand and to go feeding it.

Mobile phones have mainly two different situations:  in a contract with one provider for one determined period, being charged monthly or with pre-paid cards. It is very important to investigate well which will be better for you, and there are many companies selling the device very cheap but you will be stuck in a long contract with heavy fines if you change your mind. Mobile pre paid accounts are a very popular option, and you can get one from A$ 70 plus the purchase of credits. A phone with digital camera cost around A$ 150.

Australia Telephonic codes: (xx) 61 - Telephonic code of Australian States: Queensland: 7; New South Wales: 2. Canberra:2, South Australia: 8; Victoria: 3; Tasmania:3; Northern Territory: 8. Western Australia: 8.

Example: To make a call to Australia for Brisbane for example, the person will have to dial: (xx) Code of its operator + (61) Code of Australia + (7) Code of Brisbane + the desired telephone. Please notice that to call inside Australia to a interstate call, a "zero" in the front of the area code must be placed. Example: Calling from Sydney for Brisbane, add  (07) + the number of the telephone. To call from Australia to any international code, you must add 0011 followed of the code of the country, city and telephone.

Internet in Australia: The majority of the English schools, all the universities and courses for international students, offer free use of Internet, including access to the email.  If you want to have Internet at home, many companies offer daily pre-paid Internet, Dial up and Broadband. The monthly account for 10 GB of download in Broadband is around A$ 45 or less. There are some Hotels, Camping/Caravans Parks, and businesses such as Mc.Donalds® that offer "hot Spots" in their premises.

Cinemas in Australia: Most cinemas are inside Shopping Centres and are of the kind of multiple rooms with different movies. The price of the ticket for adult is of A$ 13,00. Students (showing card) pay A$ 10,00. Tuesdays are the cheapest day with only one price  A$ 8,50

Australian Television:  the TV channel SBS has many cultural programs and a diversify sets of documentaries made for the BBC and are very interesting, and by the way, to watch Soccer this is the channel. Saturday afternoon, many games and summaries from all over the world are shown. The other channels, offer programs about gardening and pets, how to slim and how to pay faster on your mortgage, American and English serials, sitcoms and American teen dramas. stuff Note: SBS has a more global approach in their news showing facts about South America and Europe. The other ones are heavily compromised with local and national news. Some times it shows a current film. On Saturdays it shows many car racing and Sundays most of channels show Cricket and Rugby games almost the whole day, and it is very boring from my point of view (but this is my fault for being home on a weekend instead of going out and do something). The local news shows the whether, fish and surf conditions and also the meteorology for all of cities and regions.

Australian radios (Gold Coast) : "Triple J" is the one that plays more Rock and local bands, new songs and alternative rock, targeting teenagers. "Sea FM” plays Rock as well as other music styles. Like all the radios in the world, some channels play and repeat songs which can get very annoying. There are other radios targeting other musical preferences. A 17 years old told me that the 105.9 is really cool but to be honest, I do not agree. In Sydney and many other cities, there are many more radio channels, targeting also each cultural and language group.

photo: Public phone in Australia in the middle of nowhere
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