People use telephones as one of the most common means of communication. Individually, most people in PEI use mobile phones (cell phones), and many Island households and businesses have landlines (fixed lines).
In PEI, two main local telephone companies, Bell Aliant and Eastlink, provide the landline service. They 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. There are several other companies that offer mobile phone services.
A landline basic monthly service charge includes all local calls to locations in your immediate geographical area.
Making Phone Calls
To make a local call in PEI you have to dial a 10-digit number (3-digit area code and the 7-digit individual number).
Long-Distance Phone Calls
Calls outside of your local area cost extra 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 elsewhere in the world.
To make a long-distance call within North America 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, in Canada it is generally possible to make a collect call from a landline by dialling '0' and following automated prompts or using operator assistance. The person you are calling must agree to the charges (usually after being informed of the name of the caller) before the call can continue normally.
To call outside of North America, you need to dial 011, then the country code, the local area 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 and can be bought at some stores or online. The cards may come in a virtual format, i.e. be delivered to you via email.
Prepaid long-distance calling cards are purchased for a specified amount. Once the funds on the card are used up, 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 and if there is an expiration date.
Cellular, 'cell', or 'mobile phones' can be used almost anywhere in PEI. There are many options when choosing a cell phone.
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.
Companies offer discounts with contracts, but you are usually bound by the contract for a certain period. You will receive monthly bills for the duration of the contract. Make sure that you understand the conditions of the contract before you commit to it.
Most cell phones in use nowadays are so-called 'smartphones' capable of much more than voice communication. Cell phone packages offer different combinations of services for calling, texting, and data usage. It is a good idea to think about your needs before you choose your phone and your plan. [See related resources]
Some Numbers to Remember
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.
211 is a free and confidential telephone service that helps you find information about programs and services offered in the province by community groups, non-profit organizations and the government. Telephone interpretation services are also available.
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 firefighters. 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.