Using telephone in USA

posted Aug 16, 2012, 8:53 AM by Jalandhari Kom   [ updated Aug 16, 2012, 8:53 AM ]
The first thing you might do when you come to U.S.A. is calling someone. So this is a good time to tell you about telephone usage.
Telephone calls within U.S. are considered "local" (within the area of the caller) or "long distance" (outside the area of the caller). Local calls within a short region are free unless made from a public pay phone, which is a coin operated machine. Long distance calls are charged at varying rates, depending on how you make the call (which long distance carrier/company you use), for how long you speak and the time of the day. Note that the telephone companies in the U.S. are private.
Each local region is assigned an "area code". So the phone numbers are denoted as (area code)-123-4567, where 123-4567 is your actual phone number. If you are calling a number within your "area" then you should dial only the phone number. If the call is outside your area, you need to dial 1-(area code)-123-4567, which is a long distance call. Again, sometimes when the area code is the same as yours, you may still have to dial a "1" before the number without the area-code e.g. 1-<7-digit phone number>
To make an international call i.e. to India you need to dial 011-91-- e.g. 011-91-22-1234567. Here 011, indicates an international call. 91 is the country code for India. 22 is the "area code" for Bombay and 1234567 may be the actual phone number you want to dial.
Other important facilities provided are 
1. Yellow pages (Tel. directory) advertisements and telephone numbers of businesses. 
2. Emergency Telephone Number: There is one emergency number, which you can dial for any type of emergency, which is 911 (Fire / Ambulance / Police).
3. Directory assistance
Local telephone numbers - 411
Long distance - 1-(Area Code)-555-1212
Toll Free number enquiry - 1-800-555-1212
4. Toll free: Most of the 1-800 numbers are toll free. You will not be charged for the calls you make to such numbers.
Some telephone numbers have alphabets in them such as 1-800-COLLECT. To dial this number, just press the digit on the telephone pad, which has the corresponding alphabet you want to dial on it, simple!
Most people use answering machines, which are connected to their telephones or some kind of voice mail system. It has a standard pre-recorded greeting, which is played when you call up and then after some beeps, it records your message. Initially you will feel like you were talking to a dead person, but soon you realize the importance of owning an answering machine. We bet you'll buy one too!
Using the PUBLIC "pay" phones:
The important difference is, you need to insert the money first then dial the number. To operate a pay phone you need 25 cents. This pays for one local call. If your call is not connected your money is returned in the "coin return" slot.
Collect call
If you want the called party (person whom you are calling) to pay for the call then you make a collect call. To make a collect call, pick up the receiver and press 0. Let the operator know that you want to make a COLLECT call, the operator will connect you to the phone number you need. But before that the operator will check with the other party, if they want to collect (pay for) the call. An easier way is to dial 1-800-COLLECT from any phone and just follow the recorded instructions.
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