Czech in Czech Republic
Using a Telephone
Telephone options in the Czech Republic include public pay phones, private phones and cellular phones. Pay phones are all under the auspices of one company; there is only one kind of phone card to buy. Phone cards come with either 200 or 500 units, and are sold at the post office, tobacco stores (which also sell stamps, gum, and bus tickets) and newspaper kiosks. To operate a pay phone, place the phone card in the slot, check number of units left on the card (this number is displayed on a screen on the phone), then make the call. At the end of the call, hang up and retrieve the phone card from the slot. Most pay phones have instructions available in several languages that can be accessed by pressing the button located next to the flag of the desired language.
In private homes, it is always polite to ask the host's permission before using the phone. Keep in mind that even local calls are billed by the minute, and because a host probably would not accept money for a call, one should keep calls brief. Lengthy calls can be made from the post office where booths are available. When the call is complete the bill will be tallied then paid in cash to a cashier.
Emergency numbers (150 / Fire, 155 / Medical Emergency, 158 / Police) are free from any phone, but the respondent will probably not speak English.
Acquiring a cellular phone is the most economical solution for a lengthy stay in the country, but one must take care to buy the appropriate phone card for the particular cell phone. There are many companies and plans available.
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