Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Most people in PEI use telephones, and most Island households have a telephone landline (fixed line) installed. Mobile phones (most commonly called 'cell phones') are also very popular.
In PEI there are two main local telephone companies, Bell Aliant and Eastlink. Telephone companies often offer bundles or packages that may include a fixed telephone line, Internet service, and cable or satellite television. They may also offer cell phone service as part of a bundle.
Making Phone Calls
- Even though PEI is small, long distance charges may apply if you are calling outside your town or community.
- Your fixed telephone line service provider does not have to be the company that handles your long distance calls. You should choose your long distance service provider based on your needs and phoning habits.
- If you have access to the Internet, there are alternatives to traditional long distance calling. They may be cheaper, or even free, if the person you are calling has Internet access as well.
A fixed telephone line basic monthly service charge includes all local calls to locations in your immediate geographical area. In PEI to make a local call you have to dial a 10-digit number (3-digit area code + 7-digit individual number).
Long Distance Phone Calls
Calls outside of your local area cost extra, and are charged based on duration in minutes. These charges will appear on your monthly telephone bill, or separately if you have a different company for the long distance calling service. Telephone companies offer various long distance savings plans and services within Canada, the USA, and overseas.
To make a long distance call within North America from your home phone you have to dial '1', the 3-digit area code, and the 7-digit number.
If you want the person you are calling to pay for the call, dial '0' and tell the operator that you would like to make a 'collect call'. The operator will call the person and ask them if they will accept the charges.
To call overseas, you need to dial 011, then the country code, then the city code, and finally the phone number.
When you hook up your home long distance service, you can ask the phone company for a calling card. This calling card will allow you to make long distance calls when you are not at home, and the calls will be charged to your home phone bill.
Another way to make long distance calls is to buy a prepaid long distance calling card. Most cards offer cheap long distance rates. These cards are sold in many retail outlets -- grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores etc.
Prepaid long distance calling cards are purchased for a specified amount. Once the funds are used up on the card, it will no longer work. Check the conditions of the service with the card before you buy it. For example, you should verify if there is an additional connection fee.
If you are considering getting a cell phone, it is a good idea to think about why you need it and how much you will be using it. Once you know what you need, research and compare service packages from different providers.
The cell phone industry is changing rapidly, and new options are available almost every day.
Cellular, 'cell', or 'mobile phones' can be used almost anywhere in PEI. There are many options when choosing a cell phone, but generally companies offer two types of cell phone services: prepaid and contract.
With a prepaid cell phone, when you use your phone you are charged for each call until the prepaid amount is used up. You do not receive a monthly bill. This may be the best choice for you if you do not plan to use your cell phone a lot.
With contract cell phones, companies offer discounts, but you are usually bound by the contract for a certain period of time. You will have monthly bills for the duration of the contract. Usually, the longer the contract period, the bigger the savings you will have on the purchase price of the phone. You are charged by the amount of time you use, whether you are making or receiving a call. Such phone contracts will sometimes allow free calling during certain times of the day. There is usually a penalty fee if you break up a cell phone service contract.
Many cell phone packages offer text messaging service. With this service you can send and receive short written messages on your cell phone.
Public telephones or 'pay phones' are available in some public places. They operate on coins or credit cards. You can also use calling cards on public phones.
If you have a fixed telephone line service in your home, a phone book is delivered to you once a year, usually in May. Phone books are also provided at public phones.
Phone books in PEI are usually divided into four sections:
- Black Edged Pages - emergency services numbers and customer service information
- White Pages - home and businesses phone numbers sorted alphabetically by community and by surname or business name
- Blue Pages - federal and provincial government services
- Yellow Pages - businesses and services sorted by category and in alphabetical order
Phone directories are also available on the Internet. [See Related Resources]
Some Numbers to Remember
1-900 numbers are NOT toll free. If you dial such a number, you will be charged a high fee for each minute of the call.
The area codes for Prince Edward Island are 902 and 782.
Dial zero (0) for the local telephone operator if you are having trouble making a call. 411 is the number to call for directory information, to find out phone numbers of people or businesses. There may be a charge to your telephone bill for use of either of these services.
711 is the number for the hearing-impaired. It makes use of Telecommunications Relay Service to translate from telecommunications devices for the deaf to speech, and vice versa.
811 is the number to call if you need health care information related to non-emergency health problems. This service is provided by Registered Nurses who will give you advice and help you navigate the PEI health system. 811 can provide service in 120 languages through interpretation, and it operates 24 hours a day seven days a week.
911 is the emergency number for police, ambulance or fire fighters. Do not call 911 to ask questions or make inquiries. Call 911 only if:
- there is a serious accident
- someone is hurt or being hurt
- a serious crime is being or has been committed
Toll free numbers are long distance phone numbers that do not cost anything to call. In Canada they start with 1-800, 1-866, 1-877, or 1-888.