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Telephones in Israel are rather simple to use.
Most people have cellphones and they are ready to give those numbers out.
Landlines are all 7 digit numbers. a 2 digit prefix is used for Bezeq lines (the former nationa phone company) and a 3 digit prefix for other companies, although due to number portability a 2 digit prefix can be associated with other companies.
All prefixes begin with "0" .
The 2 digit prefixes are divided to geographical areas
02 - Jerusalem and environs
03 - Tel Aviv and Central Israel
09 - Northen central Israel (Called ' Sharon')
04 - Haifa and Northen Israel
08 - Southern Central and south Israel ( including Eilat)
You do not need to use the prefix code when calling from within that area but the call will go through if you do.
The 3 digit prefixes are national and are, usualy, associated with a specific company.
072 - Smile 012 - VOB.
073 - Cellcom Land lines (073 - 2xx xxxx or 073 - 3xx xxxx) .
073 - Netvision 013 - VOB (073 - 7xx xxx).
074 - Orange land lines.
076 - Bezeq International - VOB (076 - 5xx xxxx).
076 - Bezeq special lines (076 - 88X XXX).
077 - Hot - Cable company phone lines.
078 - Service test (Xfone 078 - 818 xxx, Free Telecome 078 - 333 xxx, Sipme 078 - 666 xxxx).
Due to number portability one prefix can be associated with a different company.
Other important prefixes are:
1-800/1-801 - Toll free numbers
1-700 - Parcial payment numbers (caller pays only for the first 3.5 minutes)
1900/1901/1919 - Premium services numbers.
*xxxx/1212/1200/1222 - Different services (regular charges apply).
Writing phone numbers doesn't seem to be consistent but most Israelis write 02-1234567
Most land lines and cell phones in Israel have call waiting free of charge. The waiting caller will get a special caller waiting tone (three short bips) instead of the regular ringing tone and unless it's an emergency the etiquette is that the waiting caller hangs up and tries again later although usually the call recepient will, most likely, hit automatic recall (*42, also free of charge) once he finshes with the current call.
Cellphones have a 7 digit number preceded by a 3 digit prefix. It is always necessary to use the full 10 digit number.
The prefix is not necessarily associated with a specific company due to number mobility
050 - Pelephone.
052 - Cellcome.
054 - Orange.
057 - Mirs.
055 - MVNO (Mobile Virtual NetworkOperator), 13 companies received their licence and 3 of them already signed an agreement with Pelephone and will be operational soon.
If a number with a prefix of one carrier is transferred to a different company a caller from that carrier will receive a warning (special alert tone) to indicate that he is calling to a different carrier (the client can ask to cancel this warning).
In Israel, unlike in the United States - but like most of Europe , there is not charge for incoming calls. ( that is why Israelis love for you to call them on their cellphones) which means that the caller is paying extra to call a cellphone. This also means that once you call a cellphone from a land line or from a different carrier you'll pay the regulat fee and the 'last mile' fee (a payment made to the carrier your calling).
The last mile fee is fixed and it is determined by the government.
On january 1st 2011 the last mile fees were lowered to 7.22 Agorot/minute +VAT (from 28 Agorot/minute +VAT) and to 0.18 Agorot/SMS + VAT (from 2.84 Agorot/SMS + VAT) they will be lowered every year until 2014.
In addition, every cellphone sold in Israel today must be SIM lock free.
The least expensive way to have cellular service in Israel is to use a local provider. Cellcom (1800Mhz), Orange (900Mhz) and Pelephone (850Mhz/2100Mhz )are the main carriers and they are comparable. You can pick up a SIM card in israel
Pay phones are getting harder to find as cellphones are taking over. Most pay phones require a prepaid cards (called Telecard). The card can be purchased on vending machines, the post office, some lottery and regular kiosks and on the front desk of many hotels.
For calling overseas it is better to buy a calling card, which will have a toll free access number (1-800 or 1-801) .
It is not recommended to place a call (inside Israel or overseas) from your hotel room (due to the expensive price).