The most competitive providers are state-owned BSNL, Tata Indicom, Airtel and Reliance. Before taking a subscription with a telephone company, it is worth shopping around and comparing international calling tariffs. It generally takes between two and five days after contacting a company for a connection to be set up. New customers can visit the chosen company’s nearest office or arrange for a representative to visit their home with the required application forms and to collect the documents needed. To call a landline number in the same city, dial the seven- or eight-digit number (without the area code). To call a mobile number in the same state, dial the ten-digit number. To call a landline number in another city, dial the standard trunk dialling (STD) code for the relevant city before the number. For example, to call a number in Nagpur, it would be necessary to dial “0712” before the landline number.


Public telephones and phone booths can be found almost everywhere in India. They are usually run by local grocers or shopkeepers. Public telephones are usually yellow or red and are operated by inserting an Rs1 coin. A phone booth run by a shopkeeper is called a public call office (PCO). They allow users to make national and international calls. The handsets are linked to a meter that records the length and cost of a call.

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