People have several communications options to choose from. For
those person who only want to be able to place calls themselves
to the U.S. or other countries, they should buy one of the "International
Calling Cards" available. There are several types of
these cards available on the market. Probably the best and
easiest to use is the OTE "ΤΗΛΕΚΑΡΤΑ".
With this card, the user can place a call to any phone in the
world at 3% lower rates than by placing the call from a regular
land line. Calls to the U.S., Canada, and most of Europe cost
only Euros 0.29 per minute. You can use the same card to place
local calls including calls to cellular phones in Greece. It
is the easiest to use since all you need to do is to slip the card
into an "OTE" phone and then dial the number you need
to call. You don't need to know code numbers or pin numbers.
The drawback is the fact that you can only use "OTE"
public telephones that are equipped to accept these cards. OTE
has installed these phones in various locations throughout Greece,
but as you can guess, they are not everywhere and very often they
are not functioning properly due to misuse or vandalism. The
ones that are operational usually have long lines of people waiting
to make a call.
There are several different other types of calling cards, many
of which offer even lower rates. Also, some of these cards
are "country specific", which means that you buy a card
for calling only 1 specific country. These cards require a
bit more effort to use. There is a hidden code number that
you need view by scratching off the protective graphite. The
cards then have instructions on what to do in order to place a call.
Usually, you need to call a specific "800" number,
then enter the number you want to call, and then enter the hidden
card code number. Although less costly, these types of cards
are relatively difficult to use. Another drawback is the fact
that you can't use the OTE phones mentioned above to place your
call. You need to find a regular land based phone that will
allow you to make the 800 number call. This is more easily
said than done.
Another option is to rent a phone from Greece Travel Phones
Some people can bring their phones from the U.S., but I am not
familiar with their service or costs other than that they get charged
for placing calls and for receiving calls. I believe (but
am not sure) that phone calls cost US $1.50 per minute both ways.
I know that Satellite phones are available, but I still
haven't seen one of them yet. The cost is prohibitive at about $2.50 per minute. There is some new info on pre-paid calling cards at www.greecetravel.com/phones/phone-cards/ and it may be helpful for you to read my section on Internet Cafes and Staying in Contact at www.athensguide.com/internetcafes.html